Drake & Future ‘What A Time To Be Alive’

UPDATE: Here it is on iTunes, as promised. (One week later, it’s up on Spotify and embedded below.) Scroll scroll scroll for the memes and my first impressions though.

First impressions: Sorry to be a downer on Twitter’s “instant classic” parade but WATTBA didn’t hit me the same way. My biggest qualm is that the songs all start to feel the same, conceptually and the production, real real quick. I say that from the lens of the tape itself on top of the recurrent themes from their previous work too.

That’s not to say I think it’s trash. Because it’s definitely not that.

In fact, the first 4 tracks brought me in and kept me engaged… enough so that for my second listen, when I usually skip around to single tracks, I wanted to run it back with these 4 in mind first.

“Digital Dash” works as an appetizer for what’s to come. Both allude to some recent happenings in their lives (the Ciara break-up and the Meek Mill beef, respectively) but not in a shock value type of way (which is good). The energy of the track though was deliberately at an 8, let’s say. Going into a Drake & Future mixtape, I wanted to hear a 10 right off the bat.

That’s what we got with “Big Rings”. Here’s the biggest turn-up club track since “Why You Lying” (just kidding but seriously.) This one has that anthem feel though and is perfect for all sorts of #SquadGoals nights to come. It’s not worth nitpicking this one because the energy trumps all and that’s what I wanted. And yes, for the record, I think this should have been track #1. On top of the above reasoning, Drake laces the title right off the bat. Catchy. I’m in on that line too.

“Live From The Gutter” is probably my favorite song from Future on WATTBA. He paints a solid picture of his journey to making it and that Young Thug “I Mean” instrumental is a perfect backdrop for his delivery too. (Also, is that a sample of “All Day” in the background?)

“Diamonds Dancing” ventures to the R&B side of the tape, namely with strippers as the subject. This is cool, up the alley of both, and certainly memorable and well-executed.

Buuut I’m good after this.

From there, the rest of the tape certainly has its moments. And for example, I would have been more hyped for the NBA allusions in “Jumpman” had it been at the beginning. But when I started to tire of the mixtape, I realized that the general sound of everything blended together and I started to tune out. Themes began to repeat: strippers, money, the life. And then I came back to the fact that Drake and Future created the tape in 6 days and it began with a simple visit to Atlanta to work on a few tracks together.

I wonder if Kid Cudi’s curiously timed tweets were directed at WATTBA but I can definitely see where he’s coming from if that’s indeed the case.

Fortunately, Drake’s honest “30 For 30 Freestyle” helped redeem the ending as I began to be engaged to the lyrics again. That’s the new insight I wanted to hear and while I don’t think that’s a track you play over and over again, I appreciated Drizzy’s output.

At face value, and given the max. hype around both artists individually, the tape did its job. It’s entertaining and there are many great and memorable moments throughout. I’m not going to get too worked up over it that it didn’t live up to the hype for me personally. I’ll definitely give it some more listens, especially during a workout, and see if some songs grow on me.

Where I’m left wondering, no matter if I feel more favorable about WATTBA days, weeks, or months from now… is where will Drake go from here? What changes, both sonically and conceptually, will he make because I feel like he’s maxed out his catalogue on the themes touched on in WATTBA (and again before). We’ll find out sooner or later on Views and I have a good feeling he’ll deliver somethin’ new and next level for him as an artist. (Also around January, timed with All-Star Weekend in his hometown in February.)

Also on OVO Sound Radio tonight: a new PND remix + new P. Reign.


OH, and MEMEs…





Props, Ernest. I do enjoy that this phrase can be used a variety of ways.