Drake has released his new album, More Life – but, in keeping with these online times and the Canadian rapper's status as the most streamed artist of 2016, the new offering is officially being billed as a "playlist", rather than an album. It's also a fairly hefty 22 tracks long: again, a nod to modern music consumption habits. This is an album to binge-listen to; one where you'll feel you've definitely got your money's worth in terms of playtime, if nothing else.
After making its debut on Ovo Sound Radio, the Apple Beats 1 radio show linked to Drake's Ovo Sound record label, More Life was made available to stream online last night at 8.30pm US Eastern Time (so in the early hours of this morning for UK-based listeners).
So far, unsurprisingly, the online reaction to the playlist from Drake's ardent fans has been generally enthusiastic – although many have noted that the artist, who has spent some time on this side of the Atlantic of late, has apparently taken a fair bit of inspiration from British rap artists.
Not only does the album feature UK-based musicians Skepta, Sampha and Giggs alongside Drake's more familiar US collaborators such as Kanye West, but the rapper also adopts London and British slang during some tracks...and, according to some fans, even tries to put on a British accent.
The response to this innovation has been mixed, to say the least: some see it as a welcome celebration of British talent, while others are worrying that poor Drake is having a bit of an identity crisis.
First-look reviews for More Life so far have been generally positive, although some listeners have argued that, due to the playlist's length, it lacks coherence and could have done with a bit of tightening.
"With so many songs, More Life begins organized and then falls apart by the second act in terms of proper sequencing. It picks up again after “Lose You,” but I feel like if there was a chance to buy individual songs there’d be quite a few that wouldn’t get my dollars," wrote Okayplayer's Kevito.
The Ringer's Justin Charity, meanwhile, enjoyed the album's lighter, dancehall-influenced tone, awarding it a "B+" grade and writing: "Frankly, it’s refreshing: Drake’s total emigration to dance music means we can leave behind the joyless, beleaguered Drake who took himself as seriously as Caligula".