More Life? More like more Drake.

This is not an album, so don't call it one. Drake's gone to great lengths to explain the concept behind More Life, which is not the follow-up to Views, last year's bleak, bloated behemoth that dominated charts and radio for what seemed like an eternity.

It's not even a mixtape. Instead, More Life is "a playlist", one designed to "bridge the gap between major releases". That difference is important. Drake's not doing this for the charts, or his fans. But he's definitely doing it for someone and that someone is himself.

With 22 tracks stuffed with as many famous faces as he can fit in, More Life is a showcase of Drake's pulling power, an indication of his status in the game, a slow-mo flex in the mirror. No, it's not an album. It's a show of strength.

Who else could receive Glow, Kanye West's excellent first song since his hospitalisation, hear him quote a line from Started From the Bottom, and then place it at the end of the album as if to say, 'Oh yep, I almost forgot I had this'. Drake can.


What else can he do? He grabs Young Thug for two songs, the summery jolts of Sacrifices and Ice Melts. He also pulls in a who's who of Britain's flourishing grime scene, including Giggs on the excellently sludgy No Long Talk, and an on-fire Skepta, who slays on Interlude. Yes, he called Skepta's song an interlude.

Along the way, he gifts an entire song - the sleazy wooze of 4422 - to Sampha, a rising R&B star responsible for one of the year's best albums. Then he lets Quavo from Migos and Travis Scott run riot on the flute-loop hilarity of Portland and scores the best effort from 2 Chainz in at least a year on Sacrifices.

As for Drake, well, there's a lot of him too, but many of the criticisms of Views are applicable here. At 22 tracks, More Life is ridiculously long. Too many songs, from Madiba Riddim to Blem try but fail to repeat his Hotline Bling trick, even if Passionfruit and Get It Together seem like hits in waiting. As for his lyrics? "I don't take naps," he boasts on Gyalchester.

Two telling moments play out across More Life. "I drunk text J.Lo," Drake boasts during opener Free Smoke, referencing their rumoured romance. Later, on the slurred warbling of Teenage Fever, he appropriates the hook for her 1999 hit If You Had My Love.

It shows that this isn't more life. It's more Drake. So much Drake. Is it too much Drake? These days, that's not a question. It's a given.

Drake - More Life
Label: Young Money
Stars: Three
Verdict: Showpony flexes his muscles