It’s inaccurate to classify Drake and Future as good guy/bad guy- the former’s too conniving and the latter’s too pathos-heavy- but any attempt by one (especially Drake) to mimic the other would nearly assuredly come off as disingenuous. When What A Time To Be Alive began coalescing earlier last week, the question begged asking: what will be the connecting thread here?
These two are among the most discussed rappers of 2015, and if What A Time To Be Alive doesn’t top either’s previous releases, it’s certainly a well-deserved victory lap. “I went to Atlanta for six days a couple weeks ago with the hopes of doing some songs with Future”.
If the rap game was based on work ethic alone, people would be calling Drake and Future the greatest rappers alive. Drake typically takes artists who potentially pose as threats into his own home before suffocating them with his velvet pillow, assuring that he remains constantly in control throughout. They may hold individual titles as rap’s most now ornamented artists, but it’s a Type A vs Type B personality marriage that doesn’t articulate as well on record. That’s the same city where Drake and Future recorded What A Time To Be Alive.
On Sunday two of the biggest rappers in hip-hop today, teamed up to drop one of the hottest collaborative projects of the year. But Drake had more to lose going into this project than Future did, and he ended up accidentally showcasing his weaknesses as a result. Sources say that they are set move to as many as 500,000 units this week alone. If it only consisted of the piano loop and beat, “Live From The Gutter” would fit on IYRTITL, but there’s weird tones popping up everywhere, from the sustained note that opens the track to those clamorous horns that sound like semi trucks whirring past you on the highway. Not only could most of this fit on any Future tape, but Drake’s time on the mic is dwarfed by Future’s.
“I do not chase girls, but they run a mile for me”, he boasts.
They were full meals, prepared over the course of months then honed, refined and polished – full-length studio albums no matter how you look at it. Drake knows how to share feelings, but Future’s has the benefit of being able to pull from an emotional register that Drake doesn’t have access to.
Listen to the two tracks below and make up your mind for yourself. After emancipating himself from a rap beef centered around the conversation of lyricism and penmanship, it’s nearly alarming that the quality of rhymes throughout the entire release are deplorably meek, although Drake does acknowledge the issue on his standout personal album-concluding Noah 40 Shebib-produced “30 For 30 Freestyle” by stating: “The pen is working if you ni**as need some ghost lines”. Metro Boomin is known for his production of trap music, and has worked with both Drake and Future in the past. Future hasn’t just had one big track in 2015- his whole presence, catalog, streak has been huge, vaunted to no end by tastemakers and fans alike- and just like “Versace”, “Tuesday”, “My Way”, you name it, Drake wanted a piece of that buzz. It’s a poignant song in which Drake talks about listening to his 19-year-old self rapping all “wide-eyed and uneducated” on “Closer to My Dream”. If Drake is able to continue down this rabbit hole of discussing what he thought fame would be compared to it’s ugly reality, there may still be hope for Views From the 6.