Drake - 'More Life' Album Cover

On Oct. 23, Drake celebrated the eve of his 28th birthday with three new songs and an announcement that he would drop his Views follow-up More Life in December. Promising "all original music from me," with OVO associates sprinkled in, Drizzy explained, “I’m off, like, mixtapes. I want to do a playlist. I want to give you a collection of songs that become the soundtrack to your life, so this is More Life: The Playlist."

Now it's "coming at the top of 2017," manager Oliver El-Khatib said on Dec. 10's episode of OVO Sound Radio. He added “stay tuned for some more updates" and that was it. Drake confirmed the delay on Instagram.

So why is More Life delayed?

1. Drake needs to rethink things because of "Two Birds, One Stone."
People were upset about the way Drake handled his Kid Cudi diss, delivered weeks after Drizzy's onetime influence checked himself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. More than 11,600 people signed a petition entreating Drake to donate proceeds from the song to mental health charities. Entertainment Weekly just dug up the controversy again to place "Two Birds, One Stone" on their Worst Songs of 2016 list. So when that's one of only three songs we've heard, it's fair to guess it's contributed to a rethink.

2. He has to figure out what a "playlist project" is.
Drake has specific criteria for what makes something a mixtape or an album. (Hyping up Views, he called 2015's If You're Reading This It's Too Late a mixtape because it was, per his and producer Noah "40" Shebib's standards, "a bit broken," with "corners cut, in the sense of fluidity and song transition, and just things that we spend weeks and months on that make our albums what they are." So if he's characterizing More Life as a whole new type of release, he's probably getting deep in the weeds. Especially when the mission statement is as broad as to "celebrate life, more life."

3. He needs to rethink things because of 21 Savage.
The rising Atlanta trap star appeared on enemy Meek Mill's DC4 mixtape less than a week after Drake dropped their More Life collaboration "Sneakin'." In a world of pay-to-play rap features, it's not really a diss, but Drake's proven himself to be petty as fuck with the features in 2016. If he pulled Kanye WestJay Z and Popcaan from the official Views versions of "Pop Style" and "Controlla," he could certainly give 21 Savage the boot, which could put Aubrey back at square one as far as which hot ATL upstart he wants to fold into his brand at this point in time.

4. He absolutely does not need to drop a new project.
Views just went quadruple platinum and got the Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. So whether or not he told OVO Sound listeners on his birthday show that "most people would like go probably take a break, but for me I just want to get right back to it, be with the people again," he can 100 percent take a long-to-very-long break. From February 2015 to April 2016 he dropped three full-length projects totaling 50 tracks. After If You're Reading This, What a Time to Be Alive and Views arrived after brief seven-month gaps. While the Atlanta-style, a-song-a-day-keeps-the-hypebeasts-at-bay content churn is real, Drake in no way needs to play that game. Rap fans disappointed by Views certainly wish he would, but he hasn't needed to answer to those kids for a long time.

5. He needs more time to figure out if he and Future are taking some time apart yet.
Hendrix was the only rap verse on Views save for the deceased Pimp C; Drizzy was the only guest on Future's DS2 last year. They did the Summer Sixteen Tour for almost three months, and have since re-teamed on November's "Used to This," which plays like a third-rate Honest leftover. We can see Aubrey taking some thinking-cap time on top of the CN Tower while he figures out whether More Life needs more or less Future.

6. "Fake Love" is the only foothold he needs right now.
"Hotline Bling" and "One Dance" made resounding cases for a Drake song having as much impact as a Drake album, if not more. "Fake Love" has been on the chart for six weeks, peaking at No. 10 and sitting at No. 11 right now. And it's got the same sunny singalong qualities and dancey mass appeal of those two smash singles.

Watch an episode of our digital miniseries The Drake Effect, this one detailing how Drizzy changed the mixtape game forever: