Drake & Future – What A Time To Be Alive [Album Review]

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The enormous hype surrounding Future and Drake’s collaborative mixtape “What a Time to be Alive” made expectations unfulfillable. This album was put together not to be one of the greatest of all time, but to be a celebration of what has been a great year in music. The tape is exactly what the culture needed – two rap super stars teaming up, having fun, and giving fans an insight to what happens when you are at the top and enjoy your craft.

Drake mastered the internet with rumors quickly taking over every social media site about a mixtape collaboration with Atlanta native Future. Curiosity had every music fan searching to see if this was true. It’s almost been a month since the release of the mixtape and I hope you’ve appreciated it as greatly as I have.  The collaboration piggybacked off of a year dominated by the two artists. Drake sold one million copies of what could be described as ‘throw aways’ and Future rode off the strength of his viral mixtape success including features with artists stemming from Justin Bieber to Rick Ross and dropped Dirty Sprite 2.

The mixtape is executively produced by Metro Boomin whose Young Thug assisted tag serves to be a prophetic exclamation as for what’s to come with contributions by Boi-1da and 40 each of OVO’s camp. The production stays true to its roots, nothing special to dig deep into, but hearing Drake over Metro Boomin beats was a collab OVO fans have been waiting for.

What a Time to be Alive debuted No. 1 on the billboard 200 allowing Drake eight more hot 100 hits bringing his all time number of entries on the chart to a solid 100. According to a report from Fader earlier in the month,every song from the collaboration made it onto the hot r&b/hip-hop songs chart.

Songs rankings on the chart – Hot R&B / Hip-Hop Songs Ranking:

18. “Jumpman”

24. “Diamonds Dancing”

27. “Big Rings”

29. “Digital Dash”

30. “Live From The Gutter”

31. “Scholarships”

32. “30 for 30 Freestyle”

33. “Im The Plug”

39. “Change Locations”

43. “Plastic Bag”

48. “Jersey”

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While fans still await for upcoming album Views From The 6 by Drake, we were gifted with a project that was said to be made in only 6 short days. Aubrey stated on Apples Beats 1 Radio that, “I went to Atlanta for six days a couple of weeks ago in the hopes of doing some songs with Future — it’s like a vortex. That guy could probably outwork anybody right now..its tough to see somebody make four, five songs a night and not want to match it.”

As fans, we shouldn’t let the hype build so much that we lose appreciation for the music that we are hearing. After all, when your entire project which is still a mixtape lands on the charts you’ve done something big.

2015 was good and generous to all music consumers as we witnessed a new form of rap beef take place, accusations of Drake needing a ghost writer and a very public split from Future and a certain baby mother. What a Time to be Alive contains commentary of the events from both rappers. Future’s verses can be annotated as him documenting everything from dealing with success, issues with his baby mommas, critiques of his lifestyle, music and testimony about the rise and fall of his relationship with Ciara. Drake joins in with his subtle tone and boasts lyrics about rumored girlfriend Serena Williams and reminds everyone that he can still have fun and run rap as Future’s verses can be looked at as harsh or just venting.

Aubrey’s contribution is what makes this joint album unique, gifting Future with a handful of strip club anthems again, whereas most artists and labels would’ve spent a fortune just to get him in the same studio for six days to create maybe one or two songs. Just thought I’d mention the fact this took six days to make and resulted in every song placing on Billboard’s hot r&b/hip-hop songs chart again. At 24 years old, I can’t recall two super stars teaming up and giving the culture and their fans something really quick and enjoyable. (Jay-Z & R.Kelly Best Of Both Worlds) (Jay-Z & Kanye West Watch The Throne)

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As soon as this album hit the web nearly every source that covers music quickly released some type of review either praising or complaining something that should be done more often. The impact of Drake and Future teaming up was evident a few weekends ago at The Austin City Limits Festival as the duo performed “Jumpman,” “Big Rings” as well as “Where Ya At.”

The reaction to these two being on stage together comes as no surprise and the crowd was electric similar to the Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash when Drake joined future on stage as a surprise special guest. I’m having a hard time understanding hip-hop fans and so called music lovers. Maybe you are all too spoiled and expect album quality preparation on mixtape put-togethers? Drake rapped this in February “I didn’t do this fuckin tape for CNN / I am not tryna win awards,that shit looked forced.”

Which brings up another question– “Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?”

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I’m not sure if that’s the wave these days, hating something and then eventually let your love for it take over. At first they complained about Drake…now they love him,then they made fun of Future’s use of auto tune yet sang along to every No. 1 chart-topping single he’s made.

As you read this, I can almost promise you don’t have a Bugatti nor have you ever woke up in one, but you sang that hook. When was the last time you fucked up some commas? Or had racks on racks? You didn’t care about anything when you were on your good kush and alcohol — I didn’t think so–but you crooned along with “the auto tune crooner” to the point that mixtapes Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights have been the most relevant theme of 2015. Now after teaming up with Drake, this is something to celebrate for the culture and rap fans all over and not something to complain about or over analyze.

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The collaboration certainly won’t rival Watch the Throne, but it’s fun.  It’s what rappers do–they rap.  Rapping and providing fans with more content and less tweets, VH1 appearances, trailers for various things, gimmicks to sell albums. This day in age can be judged solely on the hip hop consumers purchasing of music and for these trap hymns to stay as relevant and sell alongside 2014 Forest Hills Drive, To Pimp a Butterfly, and Dark Sky Paradise is evidence of its relevancy.

Understanding what Future and Drake are all about doesn’t take superb intelligence. All that matters is that you feel the music when you listen to it and if you’re lucky, you can relate to it. Most guys have baby mother problems and love a girl they shouldn’t. Most men have had some sort of beef with another man. If you can feel what the artists are rapping about then that’s the music for you.

The concept that’s been floating around that Drake and Future are only meant to be played or listened to while at parties or clubs is hard for me to grasp. Why wouldn’t someone play Future or Drake and ponder over their music? Music is what feelings sound like and at the moment this what they felt they wanted to record and release. Many times I’ve played Future’s music while making breakfast for my children, listened to 56 nights while I watched the thickest of women clean the crib, including What a Time to be Alive as well as Dirty Sprite 2 and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late accompanied me as I penned this.

This co-op shines a light on a sound that wouldn’t normally get this much worldwide attention. So many hip-hop debates only consider the previously mentioned artists to be “real music” and may underestimate the trap psalms being produced from an artist like Future. Drake taking a back seat on this 11 track mixtape is the perfect alley oop or salute that Future can benefit from. They’ve put out so much music this past year and still have every fan anxious for more releases. There’s nothing more to debate or discuss, hate it or love it the compliment from Drake about Future’s work ethic is a valid point. Future is bringing it with the hits — either on the radio, charts, or in the clubs nationwide. Fire Marshall, Future the wizard, the Martian, the Fiend for the Lean can no longer be ignored. Run What a Time back and enjoy the collaboration for what it is and not discredit it for what it’s not. Fun!

Words by: Siete F?? Twitter link: @ohmiikey

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