Drake & Future - "What a Time to Be Alive" Sept 21, 2015 15:59:47 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Sept 21, 2015 15:59:47 GMT -5
What a Time to Be Alive (2015)
By: Drake & Future
By: Drake & Future
Where Future's recently released mixtape/album/digital album/what-have-you DS2 opened his hallucinatory style of rapping to a broader audience, Drake's mixtape/album/digital album/what-have-you If You're Reading This It's Too Late, and a subsequent beef with Meek Mill that produced two singles that were instant greats, went on to solidify him as one of much's strongest, most reliable rappers working today. Now that both of these releases have had time to gain considerable traction, the whispers of Drake and Future collaborating on a mixtape have been confirmed with the surprise release of the mixtape/album/digital album/what-have-you What a Time to Be Alive, and what a uniformly true name for a release featuring two of rap's hottest commodities right now. Never before has there been so much accessible music of all different genres to the mainstream public, and the fact that this collaboration materialized shows the limitless possibilities of the industry today.
Drake and Future have totally different sounds and that's evident on their song "Where Ya At," a cut off of DS2, which is currently making the rounds on numerous Top 40 stations. Despite its constant radio-play, the song is still a tremendous showcase of the dualities of these men; where Drake is more melodic, with layered songwriting and ambiguous lyrics, Future is groggy and dazed, slurring many of his words and creating the aforementioned hallucinatory style that makes it sound like there's more dirty Sprite in his body than blood. Whether or not putting them together on a song and having it be a hit was a lightning-in-a-bottle circumstance was debatable, but this release proves that, with the right production, witty and contemplative lyrics, and maybe a sprinkle of a concept, the two shine brighter than the diamonds that litter the release's respective artwork.
"Digital Dash" and "Big Rings" really serve as the release's thesis, showcasing both of the men's talents quite nicely in addition to evoking melody, even when it comes to Future's slurry rapping abilities. Those two songs, along with four others, utilize production of Metro Boomin, an Atlanta-based producer in his early twenties known for his production work on most of Future's releases. The result is an album populated with conservative bass and instrumentation that begs for a competent melody to compliment it. Metro's lax but nuanced beats working wonders for both artists, specifically Future's, who's autotune meshes better with Metro than Drake's raspier vocals (though it's by no means a detracting element).
"Live from the Gutter" bears the sort of wit from the two men you'd expect, as well as affirming the duality of boasting big aspirations while identifying ones' location as the gutter, "Scholarships" is a concept-track, built off the metaphor that the two men are balling so hard they are constantly offered lofty scholarships for their work, which works quite nicely, again, thanks to Metro's production, "Plastic Bag," the closest track to "Where Ya At" you'll find on here, concerns a stripper with so much money at her feet that she needs a plastic bag to pick it up, mainly because she deserves it, and "Changing Locations" slows things down to pause from all the mayhem with a more peaceful and intimate sound.
Arguably the most fun song on the tape is "Jumpman," a reference to Michael Jordan, which has Drake showcasing his humor and metaphors similar to the way he handled the subtleties of "0 to 100"'s production, with Future chiming for great measure, thanks to a bouncy flow and added charisma. The tape concludes with a song sung only by Future ("Jersey") and a song solely for Drake ("30 for 30 Freestyle"), which echoes the sentiments of his 2011 release Take Care and largely addresses the beef of Meek Mill with, yes, ambiguous but identifiable verses.
Heavily hyped and anticipated, despite the announcement coming just over thirty hours before its actual release, What a Time to Be Alive's concept is one that almost sets one up for disappointment. This is because of the fact that once you hear the names "Drake" and "Future," you immediately think of how they've grown as men and artists in the last few years and think how terrific their music has been. It's also easy to debate who really "owns" this release, and if you want me to weigh in, it seems to be more of a Future release, mainly because of the prominence of his producer (in contrast, Drake's trusted producer Noah "40" Shebib is only featured on one track and that's the freestyle) and the concepts of the songs seemingly fitting Future better than they do Drake. Putting these men together, while not always capable of producing the smoothest auditory result, still makes for a surprising endeavor and that's precisely what What a Time to Be Alive is; a surprising, almost entirely unexpected release that's pleasantly concise, delightfully unpretentious, often infectious, and capable of multiple replays. In the end, that's all I wanted and it satisfies on that level amazingly.
Recommended tracks (in order): "Jumpman," "Live from the Gutter," "Big Rings," "Plastic Bag," and "30 for 30 Freestyle."