Drake and Future
What a Time to Be Alive
Let’s get this out of the way: Toronto rapper Drake and Atlanta heavyweight Future are arguably at the height of their careers. Instead of simply riding on the success of their 2015 releases, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and DS2, respectively, they joined forces to create an 11-track mixtape they recorded over six days, just to keep fans on their toes. Rather than a musical sparring match between the rappers, the album leans largely in Future’s favor in terms of style and swagger, with Drake adapting swimmingly.
The overarching theme of What a Time to Be Alive is the confidence that stems from hardship—Future expounds on his gluttonous drug/sex habits to cope with post-relationship depression, and Drake on his insecurities with fame. They flaunt about their riches and squad in staccato flow in “Big Rings,” and trade off croons in the album’s melodic centerpiece, “Diamonds Dancing.” This is all layered above crisp production—the majority of which comes from Atlanta superproducer/modern-day Tchaikovsky, Metro Boomin’. WATTBA is the cherry on top of an incredible year for two rappers—a celebration. ★★★✩✩