Headphones: Drake offers more of his life

As we head into spring, several talented artists are releasing music that is fun and upbeat – an appeal to the warm weather seasons. We will start by taking a look at More Life in more detail; Drake's new playlist will totally impress you. Milky Chance's new single, 'Blossom,' is a stand out right on time for the season. And rising artists James Blake and Kodak Black offer us two intense yet different music videos. 

Album of the Week: Drake - More Life: On March 19, Drake made streaming history with the release of his new album, More Life. Just when you thought he might have plateaued, Drake drops another fantastic array of music.

The playlist includes 22 great tracks, giving the hip hop star the opportunity to challenge himself in exploring a variety of genres. He certainly takes the opportunity without hesitation by creating a playlist that is originally and utterly him. While he emulates a consistent style of previous work, he sets this playlist apart from any other collection of songs he has released. Drake samples a great variety of music from the past, even sampling himself in 'Jorja Interlude.' 

There are a series of hard, intense rap songs in this playlist. In these tracks, such as ‘Can’t Have Everything,’ Drake gives us a strong delivery of the words he recites – as if he believes in every one of them. The track ends with a voicemail from his mother. She encourages him keep a positive attitude and not be pessimistic about the unfortunate inner struggles that can arise from fame.

Drake has improved in a number of areas with this album. His rapping sounds stronger and potentially more confident. His voice is very powerful throughout the playlist, and takes prominence over all of the incredibly produced beats in these songs.

Several talented artists were fortunate to be featured in the playlist. These contributing artists help the album in encompassing a fun and upbeat tone. ‘Ice Melts,’ featuring Young Thug, is such an enjoyable, happy track. The two are greatly different, but both bring important sound to this song that make it so pleasurable and interesting.

Drake has been recently employing a genre of Afrobeat. An afrobeat song incorporates elements of jazz, soul, funk, and African music. The worldwide superstar uses this genre in this playlist with his fun and groovy song, ‘Madiba Riddim’ as well as ‘Passionfruit.’ The latter shows Drake’s skill of controlling his variation in syncopation. This tune reminds me of his successful ‘One Dance,’ and can be considered a classic and emotional song.

‘Fake Love’ is one of the stronger songs on the playlist. Drake’s vocals are robust, with a strong hip hop beat and production elements similarly used in EDM. ‘Free Smoke,’ another strong song in the playlist, is unpredictable and even comical in terms of his lyrics. The song begins with a graceful soprano female voice and shortly transforms into a hard rap song.

Single of the Week: Blossom - Milky ChanceMilky Chance just released their new single, ‘Blossom.’ The band continues to push limits and themselves. The instrumentation in this tune is soft and encouraging. The song has beautiful lyrics and a meaningful message of wanting another person to open up and blossom out, “All I feel, is that I need ya to blossom out.” In addition to talented song-writing, the band's lead vocalist, Clemens Rehbein, has a certain rasp and twang in his voice that is really helping this band remain unlike any other in the music industry right now.

The song begins with what sounds like a house-EDM beat, then develops into a symphonic melody with undeniable rhythm. Rehbein's soothing, sweet voice is magical against the optimistic sound created by the guitars and producing involved. The whole album is cool, laid-back, and graceful – definitely give all 20 songs a listen.

Downtempo Electronic Music: James Blake - My Willing Heart: This emotional, black and white music video was directed by Anna Rose Holmer and stars a very pregnant Natalie Portman. The song is beautiful and raw with a touching, interpretable music video. Portman, is seen swimming and floating in a body of water – what appears to be a foggy pool. There is bright light that shines through the water, almost guiding Portman at times. The video gives a feel of emotional numbness. The track is co-written with Frank Ocean, and is essentially about how easy it is to love as people, and the struggle of not knowing if it is real or not. “When I see my willing heart, how will I know, how will I walk slow.”

Hip Hop: Kodak Black – Tunnel Vision: This music video is incredibly powerful and controversial. And yet, it is a completely unexpected video and song from Kodak Black. The video seems to take place in a southern state of the United States. It begins with Kodak and two others dancing around in front of burning crosses, in an area that looks like a KKK meeting ground. The video goes back and forth between Kodak in this area, and a white man wearing a red hat that says, “Make America Hate Again.”

The white guy rides around in his pickup truck, straw-in-mouth, and tries to murder a black man. The man is able to fight him off and the fighting comes to an end when, as he was about to strangle the white guy with an American flag, the two are interrupted by a young girl who tells the black guy to “stop.” The video abruptly ends there and viewers are left with an intense self reflection of how important perspective is. The little girl sees the very end of the altercation, probably leading her to think the black man was first imposing harm on the instigator by trying to strangle him.  

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Update: Former Kiss member Gene Simmons preformed solo for the first time ever — with good reason of course. Simmons played a great tribute to Chuck Berry by performing 'Johnny B. Goode' on the same night of Berry's death in Cleveland, Ohio.

Low-key, Los Angeles based rapper KYLE, caught his first spot in the top 10 of the Hot 100. ‘iSpy,’ featuring Lil Yachty is a catchy, up-beat, and extremely popular song right now. These two artists are so unique in their tones and sound great together.

Ryley Fabber