Staff Reactions: Drake and Future's 'What A Time To Be Alive Mixtape' After One Listen
September 21, 2015 - 1:02 pm
Drake is so freaking diabolical.
He’s out here making albums with Meek Mill’s favorite rapper. And Future? All he did was be himself and continued his flow from Dirty Sprite 2 that’s been keeping the streets on fire since it dropped. By combining forces, the duo brings trap and twinkle rap together to form some coolness that elevates Future’s profile even more and serves as Drake’s 3rd battle blow to Meek.
Sonically, it’s in pocket with the times. The two weave in and out of tracks like Lebron and Wade on a fastbreak. Longterm replay value is questionable for the majority since it’s so trapaholic. Yet, the project will be a strip club gem for years to come. Funny how it dropped on the night of the 30th anniversary Magic City gala in Atlanta. The very place that helped launch Future’s career and where Drake has fallen in love with a stripper…carry on fellas, fuck up some commas so these women can grab some “Plastic Bags” which is clearly the best sounding track on the album.
Who will Meek collab with? Pusha T? Only the blogs and time will tell.
While I can’t say I’m a member of the Future hive, I’d be a fool to say Nayvadius Wilburn isn’t dominating hip hop right now. His Dirty Sprite 2 was so infectious that it cultivated a brand new hyper-obsessive fan base. By the sound of What A Time To Be Alive, he will likely go 2 for 2. But for this particular project, my attention went not to Future, but the OVO frontman he shared the mic with on the collaborative mixtape. After just a couple listens, I’ve come to the conclusion that Drake is a very, very smart man. He, too, has had a banner year in the rap circuit, but knows that there is a time and place to assume the +1 role. In other words, he knows how to ride the waves and when to create them.
With If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late out and a real-life album on the way, Drizzy scaled it back and only went 40/60 to build upon Future’s hype without stepping to far into his spotlight. With this adjustment, a lot of WATTBA sounds similar, largely driven by the new era ATL trap sounds that made Dirty Sprite 2 so infectious (major props to Metro Boomin for the ultimate come up). This means you’ll hear a lot more Future than Drake, which is a plus for some and a disappointment for others.
But where we do hear Drake, he shines. Aside from the potential Instagram captions and emo musings, I come to Drake for the cadence and flow. He flourishes here on “Plastic Bag” and “Live From The Gutter.” The more evenly split “Jumpman” is also repeat-worthy. And of course, “30 For 30″ has generated quite the chatter on social media, so there’s a gem hiding there. All in all, good effort FBOVO.
When rumors began to swirl Drake and Future collaborated on a tape, #FutureHive and OVO fans wanted it, no, needed it ASAP, but like the true showmen they are, we waited, allowing for anticipation to build, and what we received was the musical embodiment of the word flourish. The genius collaboration of two of hip-hop's finest truly lived up to the tape's name, What A Time To Be Alive.
Future dominates the mixtape, and rightfully so. The Dirty Sprite 2 artist has hit a musical stride that should not be interrupted or tampered with, proving Drake is a fine Chess player and knows when to "play the back" (peep the quotation marks)
Personal favorites include "Digital Dash" "I'm The Plug", and the Madison Square Garden-esque "Jumpman", which will no doubt provide the soundtrack for any and all upcoming lituations.
And while WATTBA is clearly for the pre-game, the turn up and the IHOP run afterwards, I prefer my music with a bit more introspection, which is why Drizzy's "30 For 30 Freestyle" does it for me. Over Noah "40" Shebib's plush production, Drizzy takes a step back from all the bossy talk and effortlessly raps about the downfall of fame (legally having to take paternity tests on a random Tuesday afternoon because some Jane alleged you two boned must suck) hinting at the Black Lives Matter movement, and business troubles were all seamlessly woven into a freestyle reminiscent of an Aubrey Graham I fancy.
What A Time To Be Alive accurately plucks at the party atmosphere of our musical climate. When life gets a bit too real, this is the tape you rock out to. Future and Drake aren't saving lives, they're just trying to help you enjoy yours just a little bit more, and for that, I can respect it.
What A Time To Be Alive is a nice conduit for the stragglers who have yet to board the Future wave. If DS2 in not in heavy rotation, you have no idea what the Atlanta crooning-rapper is talking about, or you don’t get the hype of the #FutureHive, pop in his joint project with Drake.
The 11-track project is largely an alley-oop from Future that allows Drake to score yet another backboard-shattering dunk, marking "Fewtch" as the instrumental playmaker. As the duo stakes claims over trap-tailored beats, Drake serves as an ornament, making it easier for naysayers to access Future’s Percocet and lean-filled musical universe. One is the drug, the other is the cigarette to level you out.
The tape started with a thumpin’ Southside-produced track titled “Digital Dash,” and it definitely finds Aubrey stepping into Future’s 56 Nights zone. It’s an aggressive, rapid fire braggadocio track. Without saying another word, the second turnt up song just came on and it’s another banger. “I got a really big team/we need some really big rings,” Drake shouts on the track dubbed “Big Rings.”
As the fourth song plays, Twitter is lighting up by rap fans already calling it a “classic” and other nonsense. But, honestly it sounds really, really good as far. Sonically, it sounds like Drake is more of a guest on Future’s mxitape. I guess we can chalk that up to Metro Boomin’ and Southside contributing a majority of the beats. However, on song 5, they both slow it down and trade verses about the women they trick on — hence the name “Diamonds Dancing.”
Now, the tape sounds like it’s moving toward the OVO sound which has always been spearheaded by 40. “Plastic Bag” is an ode to their favorite strippers, and the production is more of the R&B influenced, spacey sounds we hear from Drake. “Change Locations” also sounds more like a Aubrey Graham track about ducking chicks after a romp or two. I can’t believe the next song which is pretty much a free commercial for Nike — and catchy as hell. The hook goes “Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman…”
“30 for 30″ finishes up the tape and is a retrospective song where Drake goes deep into his mental about his struggle to stay sane while he balances trying to remain Aubrey and the 6-Gawd that his new fans desire. I think this is classic rapper Drake. The lyricist fanatics will love this. After one listen, I’ll say this tape one that will be shaking the clubs well into the winter.