‘What A Time To Be Alive’…enough said

*Writers Note*

I was hesitant to review this album at first due to all the hype but now that it’s been a little over a month, let’s re-visit this collaborative piece between two of hip-hops biggest stars.

After four of hip-hop’s biggest rap names released big-time albums in 2013 (Drake – Nothing Was the Same, Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail, and Kanye West – Yeezus), hip-hop fans were disappointed in 2014 with an awful year of music with the exception of J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive and YG’s My Krazy Life.

When the clock struck 12 a.m. on Jan. 1 many hip-hop fans were probably asking themselves if this was finally going to be the year of rap.

The year where memorable songs would be made and iconic albums would be constructed into a new generation and legacy of hip-hop music.

Boy were they right.

An album or mixtape has been released this year from every hip-hop artist you can think of. Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Travi$ Scott, Young Thug, Bryson Tiller, Kendrick Lamar; the list can go on and on.

Non however compare to the outstanding critically acclaimed mixtape/album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late released by Drake in February that would later be certified platinum, yet lyrically doubted recently with the aftermath of Meek Mill’s allegations of Drake having a personal ghost-writer.

Nonetheless, the fans went crazy.

Drake is on top of his game and the self proclaimed “6 God” is hungry for more.

Does he continue the momentum for his next project Views From the 6, or does he team up with another rap superstar for a collaborative project similar to Watch the Throne (a collaborative album by Kanye West and Jay Z released in 2011 that still holds iconic status today).

But who does he team up with?

Well, no other rap superstar in the game right now has the work ethic of Future.

The Atlanta trap superstar who has released three mixtapes and one album this year, all producing Billboard Chart singles.

After being featured as the only guest on Future’s Dirty Sprite 2 album on the track “Where Ya At?”, Drizzy decided to fly to Atlanta to spend a week with Future.

One week. Let that sink in for a minute.

In that time-frame, What A Time To Be Alive was crafted and little did both superstars know that the retail mixtape would change the rest of 2015.

Ok maybe they did, but the point is the tape shook a lot of people.

No collaborative project was as hyped up as What A Time To Be Alive since the release of Watch the Throne, and although the latter might be a much carefully crafted album with a theme and focus; there’s no denying that Drake and Future have f****d up the rap game right now in the best way possible.

The mixtape consists of 11 tracks primarily produced by Atlanta phenom Metro Boomin, with a few additional producers such as Southside of 808 Mafia, Boi-1da, Allen Ritter, and Noah “40” Shebib.

Right off the bat the mixtape comes off energetic and loud with Metro’s producer tag “Metro Boomin want some more” opening up the start of the first track “Digital Dash”.

“Digital Dash” is the perfect song to start the drive with your friends to the party or club you’re heading to in your “whip” bumping up Metro’s explosive instrumental, overlayed by Future’s signature “leaned out” flow and Drizzy’s new approach to rapping in 2015.

“These b****s be nagging the kid/f**k it is what it is” raps Drake as he goes off like never before, constantly referring to many of Future’s closest friends and associates such as Young Scooter, DJ Esco, and the locked up Gucci Mane.

The song is such an explosive, powerful track that foretells the direction the rest of the tape is heading towards, and whether or not listeners can keep up with the party sing-a-longs.

It’s true. The lyrics are catchy as hell and it all begins with “Digital Dash”.

“Esco and Boomin they got it on smash/and I got the I got the I got the I got the ah” continues Drake towards the ends of the song.

Remember Billy Mays? The man who would appear in advertisements for products such as Oxy-Clean?

He had this catch phrase: “But wait, there’s more”!

Literally, there’s more and it’s five times as explosive as the intro track.

“Big Rings” carries the momentum left off by “Digital Dash” and is bound to blow out your speakers when played at a high volume.

And it’s not necessarily the intensity of Metro’s beat with the heavy bass and similar chord to A$AP Mob’s “Hella Hoes” track, nor is it Drake yelping “we need some really big rings” over and over.

It’s more of Future’s spotlight (especially throughout the tape) as he sounds natural on Metro’s production since the two have worked together since Metro first came up into the scene around 2012.

Drake sounds as if he needs to gasp for air here and there since his style is completely different than Future’s, however that doesn’t take away the fact that the Toronto boy goes hard.

Future’s wordplay has always been creative, especially after the release’s of his Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights mixtape trilogy.

“Man what a time to be alive/I’m drinking lean, they thought I died” raps Future on “Big Rings” as he makes it clear that he loves the cough-syrup (as if his album Dirty Sprite 2 wasn’t enough of a statement).

Although one could go on and on about each individual track off of What A Time To Be Alive considering how great of a mixtape it is, it’s worth noting that the pace does switch up for a bit after the banger “Live From The Gutter”.

Not saying that the fourth track “Diamonds Dancing” isn’t a hit, but it is relatively slower than the first three tracks.

“Diamonds Dancing” is catchy as hell though. The perfect song to play in the car while you’re driving a “bae” on a date.

Drake finally sounds at ease on the track providing somewhat of a “simp” track for ladies and gents, and once again Future comes in with the wordplay.

“I don’t want no liquor cause I’ve been sippin’ on that dirty” sings Future with an auto-tuned voice.

Ok Future, the fans get it. You love the dirty “drank”.

The tape doesn’t pick back up until listeners get to the Southside produced track “I’m The Plug”, in which his signature Kill Bill siren is heard throughout the beat.

Soon after the vibe is switched up with the catchy tune of “Change Locations” in which Drake repeatedly sings “Me and my friends we got money to spend”, followed by perhaps the best track on the tape “Jumpman”.

“Jumpman” is the one track that has every party and show “lit” at the moment and probably well until 2016.

“Jumpman, jumpman, jumpman, them boys up to something” rap Future and Drake over and over as they constantly reference to the likes of Michael Jordan and DJ Mustard.

Metro definitely destroys the hell out of the beat in the best way possible yet it’s the creative wordplay from both Drake and Future that makes the track one of the most popular songs of 2015.

Although Drake tries a bit too hard with the line “aah aah aah aah I think I need some Robitussin”, both rappers do come up with some creative punchlines such as Future’s “chicken wings and fries we don’t go on dates” and Drake’s “jumpman, jumpman, jumpman, Metro Boomin on production wow.”

Although that might not seem as much to “real hip-hop fans”, the intensity in the moment is what draws in the catchy phrases.

What A Time To Be Alive concludes with solo tracks by both rappers serving as appropriate outro’s for each rapper respectively.

“Jersey” (Future’s solo track) is very reminiscent to his Dirty Sprite 2 album as it sounds like a B-side track that didn’t make the final cut for the album, and once again Future proclaims his love for lean on the track.

Drake on the other hand closes out the tape with his “30 for 30 Freestyle” produced by his long-time producer 40.

The freestyle opens up the real Drizzy that fans have grown to love and has a similar vibe to his first Meek Mill diss track “Charged Up”.

It could serve as a preview to what’s to come on his next project Views From the 6 but regardless it serves as a proper closing statement on the tape.

In the end, screw the hype because What A Time To Be Alive is iconic.

Two different styles from two different rappers, who come from two different places, who merge their sounds and personalities together.

All hail Drake and Future. Salute OVO and FBG.

You can stream What A Time To Be Alive below via Spotify.