Drake & Future’s Fun Adventure
Looking at the duo’s collaborative mixtape, What A Time To Be Alive.
By: Erich ‘Sermon’ Donaldson
How long does it take to create a presentable body of work? Months? Years? For Drake and Future, the two sat down for a total of six days to come up with a collaborative mixtape, What A Time To Be Alive. Certainly the busy schedules of both rappers prevented spending quality time, but at the very least it’s impressive to get a retail project from them. Most duos have to deal with label or time issues, then the moment is gone.
The moment for Future is now. Drake is always considered at the top. He hasn’t been cold in years. Future had to come back with his now memorable mixtape run leading into DS2 after a lukewarm response to his sophomore album, Honest. The music industry might call Drake the best, but Future is the hottest out. He stands to benefit more from WATTBA than Drake does since it exposes the former to a wider audience.
Don’t excuse this tape as Drake doesn’t have anything to prove. Following the whole ghost writing incident, Drake needs to keep momentum going, because that’s how people forget. Music has so much power. He did a good job reacting with “Back To Back” and turning that into an inescapable hit. With WATTBA, he’s aiming to keep himself in the conversation for the rest of 2015, whether he drops Views From The 6 or not, and who better than next to the hottest.
What A Time To Be Alive is an unbalanced effort of music for the clubs to rock with and a bit of introspective tossed in at the end. This unbalance isn’t an issue knowing these two had one goal in mind for how they want this tape to be enjoyed. Though, “30 For 30 Freestyle” is a stand out, because this is Drake sounding like himself and not simply fitting into Metro Boomin’s vibrant production. It’s the side opposite of his bold and larger-than-life hits. In his honesty, he also throws more calming shots at Meek Mill: “Your absence is very concerning, it’s like you went on vacation with no intention of returning.”
Like every Drake album or “mixtape” (see: IYRTITL), the subliminals run as wild as Hulk Ho….I mean Stone Cold Steve Austin. Yeah, the rattlesnake. Meek Mill is referenced in passing on a few of the songs, including a supposed shot from Future (“you a battle rapper, I’m an official trapper”). Chris Brown’s ex is also tossed in a line on “Live From The Gutter,” which should warrant an Instagram rant from Breezy. It’s also cool to hear Drake talk about the ghost writing situation on the aforementioned “30 For 30 Freestyle.”
There’s definitely a few strong influences on the tape’s concept: Basketball (maybe just sports if you want to generalize it), money, and women. All three work together to effectively take over your local clubs and titty bars instantly. Seriously, if you walk into a strip joint and don’t hear “Plastic Bag” or “Diamonds Dancing,” don’t spend no cash. They’re living in the past.
When it’s all over, who really wins with What A Time To Be Alive? The answer is everyone involved. Metro Boomin’s price just went up. Drake and Future keep their grip on the rap game stronger than ever. Plus, Future will likely get a platinum plaque. At the same time, they didn’t need to do this tape as their projects in 2015 have still been steadily played and purchased. They did it for fun, and that’s what the big takeaway from the mixtape is.
Please consider recommending the article if you enjoyed it.