What a time to… skip this project.
If this album were the alphabet, F would come before D, and I’m not stating that’s a bad thing. I’m also not saying the album is great either.
This past Sunday, September 20, 2015, Drake and Future released their highly anticipated collaboration album What a Time To Be Alive. The album is laced with 11 tracks and has no features.
Before I continue, I must explain why this isn’t even remotely considered a mixtape. Generally, when artists release mixtapes, those mixtapes are FREE to download. The perfect artist to use as example in this case is one of the two artists featured on this project, Future. Over the past year, Future has released free music on countless mixtapes leading up to his official album DS2 released earlier this year. When an artist(s) puts up a so called “mixtape” on iTunes for purchase, in my eyes, that’s considered an album or EP, not a mixtape. Drake tried to start this new trend of calling albums mixtapes earlier this year when he released If Your Reading This, It’s Too Late through iTunes. When’s the last time you read that a “mixtape” went platinum in the same calendar year? Exactly.
The album kicks off with the track Digital Dash. For an album being held at a high regard even before it’s released, one would think the intro would bring high intensity considering its Drake and Future, but it does not. The track does feature Drake’s catchy metaphors such as “I got my foot on their neck and my foot on the gas/ You remind me of a quarterback, that shit is all in the past. Digital Dash does set the tone of the album – very slow.
Track #2, Big Rings, in my opinion should have been the intro track to this album as it features the high intensity verses from both Drake and Future. They even reference the title of the album throughout the track. This time around, Drake handles the hook, exclaiming his team is big and they require all the finer things in life, including big championship rings. Give this a listen.
Diamonds Dancing begins with Future stating “I’m at a stage in my life where I feel like I can conquer anything and everything”. That should give a clue on what the track is about. The track is about the usual subjects you can expect from these two, women and lavish living. Diamonds Dancing does feature a catchy and simple hook that is perfect for radio play.
The true showstopper on this album is the track Jumpman. Producer, Metro Boomin continues to show why he is one of the fastest rising producers today . Jumpman features great production that includes great sounding drums, bass, and hi-hats. The track is named after Michael Jordan’s clothing brand logo of the same name. Throughout the fast-paced track, Drake and Future trade verses while shouting “Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman” at start of each verse. The premise of this track is everywhere – there is not one solid theme. Go ahead and count how many times Jumpman is said in this song.
In all, fans of both Drake and Future are going to support this effort no matter what, but they are lying to themselves if they believe this album is “straight fire” throughout. What you can expect from this album is Future one-liner hooks and Drake’s tendency of hopping on whoever is hot at the moment music. What a Time To Be Alive has its moments but it’s a relevantly slow project. This feels more of a Future featuring Drake project, as Future outshines Drake on most tracks. It also should be noted that this is the first time Drake is rapping over trap beats for an entire album – something completely new. The true stars on this album are the producers – Metro Boomin, Southside, Allen Ritter, Frank Dukes, and Noah “40” Shebib. The production is top notch on each track.
What a Time To Be Alive does indeed sound like a mixtape and should have gotten the mixtape treatment – FREE. The feeling of wanting more from these two is not here with this album.
– Journalist Without A Beat
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