What a Time to Be Alive: flat, distant and one-sided

When two stars collide, they form a black hole. When two stars collaborate, oh, What a Time to Be Alive. On Sunday September 20, 2015, Drake and Future, two hip-hop powerhouses, released a complete 11-song mixtape. Comparisons to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, in my opinion one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever, have already been made. By the end of the week, Saturday, the tape had already built a very large, yet unsurprising buzz. It’s one thing to join forces to create a hit single, but a full mixtape together is a rare occurrence in hip-hop. We heard whispers here and there, but no official confirmation. So when it actually dropped, our jaws dropped with it. Of course we love Mr. OVO, and the king of dirty sprite, but how do we feel about their collab?

First, lets speak on the positives. An iTunes review claims, “…it was soo hot my phone exploded now I have no hands…” It also received a 4.5, out of 5 stars on iTunes. The mixtape even debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard top 200 chart. In other words, the tape was wildly successful. Michael Madden, reporter for music site consequenceofsound.net, says, “So, as temporary rap duos go, this is roughly as exciting as Jay Z and Kanye West on Watch the Throne.” Unfortunately, that’s as nice as the reviews get.

For the collaboration, the bad significantly outweighs the good. Many say, and honestly I agree, the musical chemistry just isn’t present. It’s almost as if Drake, the obviously bigger star, repeats a hook, or throws in an average 16 just to show his presence on the song. A lot of reviews even say Drake is “out of his element”. In my opinion I don’t even see how Watch the Throne and What a Time to Be Alive can even be put in the same sentence. WATTBA in a few words: flat, distant, and one sided. The tape is dominated by Future’s auto-tune/trap style, with very little room for Drake to be himself. A lot of people blame it on the producer, Metro-Boomin. Critics feel as if the soundscape didn’t provide them with the means to be the lyricists they truly are. I don’t feel as if the production is poor, but hey, what does my opinion matter? We can all say, this mixtape was an overall rushed effort. Maybe the pressure of all the fan anticipation forced them to drop the tape too soon, or maybe they just said, “Hey, let’s just make 11 songs together. High five!” It’s a possibility, but not very likely.

We all enjoyed Future and Drakes most recent individual projects, but the joint effort was just not up to par. Yeah, we all expected better, but lets not pretend like we haven’t been let down before. Honestly, it wasn’t even that bad, but we just expected so much better. So props to Future and Drake on the tape, because I personally know how hard it is to collaborate with someone you have absolutely no musical chemistry with. But since we all learned our lesson lets not have a repeat of this mishap. Unfortunately for Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, my idea of a collaborative mixtape has been tainted. I would say better luck next time, but truthfully, I’m praying there is never another next time… EVER. Two out of five stars for What a Time to Be Alive. So all in all, I wouldn’t suggest it to you, or anybody else.