While I’m not a fan of the one listen hot take, I’m gonna kinda do that here. Today I checked out the new Drake x Future mixtape, What A Time To Be Alive while at work. It’s pretty good.
Let me start by saying, I’m an out and out Drake fan. He’s out there killing the game slash Meek Mill’s career and has an unimpeachable record of albums, verses and cosigns. I go back and forth with Future. Sometimes, I’m down for that druggy slide and vibe hard with him, but sometimes I’m not feeling it. This time, I’m really in.
Future opens the first track, “Digital Dash” with his trademark sound, hitting the alliterative “I did the digital dash” amid talk of Percocet and Xanax, and yet one can’t help but waiting for Drake to come in. When he does, it’s great—he and Future used the same opening line to their inagural verses, which shows the team unity going in on this mixtape. Plus, Drake throws in a Quentin Miller quip to let you know that as he’s dropping collabos with some of the hottest names in the game, Meek Mill hasn’t said much lately. And while Drake has some taken some effective shots at Meek Mill for living in his girlfriend Niki Minaj’s shadow, he’s comfortable enough to drop a line about “walking in with a girl that’s making triple what I’m making.” Perhaps it’s best to date someone outside the industry.
The second track, “Big Rings” is a standout. Drake carries it, hitting it off with a strong, flexing hook and a solid verse. Future drops in for a verse and manages to take a subtle shot at Meek Mill’s battle rap career. He’s not out and out calling the name, because it’s not his beef, but when Drake asks, “oh, we talkin’ teams?” it’s clear where Future stands. It’s with the really big team.
On “Diamonds Dancing,” the most impressive part is that Drake doesn’t rap and it’s still a banger. He goes into singing Drake mode, his verse and outro providing a warm, insightful counterpoint to Future’s lean-sipping, Auto-tuned vocals. That isn’t to say they’re bad, it’s to say the two textures work well in the song.
I want to avoid a track-by-track rundown—though maybe I’ll do that later—but even as a started a second listen to write this out, I’m even more hype on it. Maybe my expectations were lowered by the stock image for the album art. Maybe it always takes a listen or three to really process. This is fun diversion, but I also want to see where these artists evolve on their own. Real talk, Future needs to find another note, another level to his game. His music works, but I can’t see where it’s going. He’s gotta evolve. With Drake, I’m kinda hoping this didn’t take too much time away from Views From The 6. Drake’s got the singing on point, and the flows on If You’re Reading This… hit hard. Now that he’s mined the vein of coming from nothing and he’s explored the weight of fame, now comes the true artist’s test: what do you say next?
This mixtape is surely a banger, and it really is a great time to be alive, but I’m looking forward to the future.