Drake released More Life last week. A mixtape of 22 tracks. Loaded with guest features and absorbing and adopting musical styles from across the global African diaspora. Much has been said about the genre-hopping album and the way its optimized. To capitalize on current streaming trends. But what has been glossed over is how More Life fits into a broader trend of artists. Putting out ‘stop-gap’ releases between major album projects.

Drake described More Life as “a body of work [he’s] creating. To bridge the gap between [any] major releases”. This echoes releases such as Kendrick’s untitled unmastered and Frank Ocean’s Endless. Projects which captivate public attention but which the artist seeks to distinguish. From their big albums. So why are major label artists releasing more music. Outside of the traditional album form?

Giving Back to Fans

One aesthetic as well as one goal. He says. “Whatever my next thing is, it’ll be a bit bigger.” We see that for the artist. The album remains the gold-standard, and the mixtape a way of trying out ideas. Building profile  and meaning  essentially more unofficial. These stop-gap releases echo the bootleg recording of yesteryear. But are more publicized in the online music world. For fans, these projects are a great way to hear more music by their favourite artists. Also can provide a small insight into the creative process and by which an album is created.

Alex Catling
Alex Catling
George Millington