Six days in Atlanta. Two of today’s chart-topping rappers. The opportunity to drop a collaborative mixtape that could alter the current realm of rap music.
And yet, the result of Drake and Future’s “What A Time To Be Alive” mixtape is an underwhelming track list with lazy lyricism.
On Wednesday, Drake’s single “Hotline Bling” is the No. 2 single on the iTunes Top Singles chart. Recently, Future has exploded onto the rap scene with singles like “Move That Dope” and “F*ck Up Some Commas.” So how do two successful, talented rappers fall flat when working together?
For me, the biggest issue with “What A Time To Be Alive” is a lack of variety between songs. The repetitive nature of the tracks doesn’t make for a nice consistency but rather leads listeners into a lull.
The lyrics on the mixtape also offer little in terms of variation and depth. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting these two rappers to release tracks about life lessons or deep meaning in relationships. I appreciate that surface-level lyrics and repetition of simple catchphrases often make for hits in the music industry.
But in “What A Time To Be Alive” I felt like I was hearing the same recycled lyrics over and over again. In the song “Change Locations” Future raps “I got more style than the stylists / I like that money is money is piling / I see that money just piling / I see it’s piling and piling and piling and piling and piling and piling.” Not only is this a lazy attempt at making rhymes, but it makes Future look like he doesn’t know any other word to use to describe his monetary situation.
In Drake’s solo song, “30 For 30 Freestyle,” he delivers one of the best lines of the entire mixtape with “Kids are losing lives, got me scared of losing mine / And if I hold my tongue about it, I get crucified.” But Drake then neglects to say more about this issue, leaving listeners again with nothing but a baseline comment that could have been a powerful statement.
Despite the weak overall package that “What A Time To Be Alive” is, there are some tracks that are enjoyable and highlight the true talent of Drake and Future. Bright spots on the mixtape are the tracks “Big Rings” and “Diamonds Dancing.”
“Big Rings” offers a break from the mumblings listeners hear throughout the rest of the mixtape. With lyrics like “you and yours / vs. me and mine / are we talking teams,” I can see this song being popular amongst athletes and college students as a pump-up song to play before games or at parties.
“Diamonds Dancing” also offers a break from the monotonous tone of “What A Time To Be Alive.” The two rappers’ verses flow together nicely on the track and it sounds like one of the more thought out productions on the mixtape, with a soothing beat in the background reminiscent of older Drake tracks like “Shot for Me” and “Legend”.
Another positive to come from this mixtape is that it brings listeners closer to the release of “Views From The 6,” Drake’s upcoming album. Hopefully, it will offer a redemption collaboration with Future and put us all in the mindset that this is a great time to be alive and listening to rap music.