Guy Ginsberg co-editor-in-chief
The king and his trapstar made history on September 20. For the first time since Kanye West and Jay Z’s 2011 album Watch The Throne, a collaboration between the two spitters atop the rap game has been delivered at our feet, and all we can say is, “thanks”.
Thanks for finally proving to us what his most recent hit “Hotline Bling” had been hinting. Drake is no longer the rapper that we held before bed, serenaded by his melodic movements that defined his acclaimed records Take Care and Nothing Was The Same. With a track like “Bling”, a mixtape like If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and that hot fire feature on Meek Mill’s “R.I.C.O”, Drake has deviated into his second phase of music making: heat. Gone are Drake’s invocations to the muses, and here’s What a Time To Be Alive, served on a silver, or should I say, diamond platter, just for our delight.
And thanks for giving ATL’s biggest trapper his chance to shine. Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, better known as Future, has been quietly running the rap game from his home out in Georgia. Known for his mumbletone voice, his heavy bass beats and brash concert antics, Future gained fame with his 2015 summer album DS2, and has rapidly gained rank through features on Travis Scott’s “3500”, summer hits like “Thought It Was A Drought” and his first collaboration with Drake; DS2’s “Where Ya At”.
What A Time To Be Alive dropped exclusively on iTunes, due to Drake’s contract with Apple Music, and was heard first on Drake’s iTunes radio show “OVO Sound”, for one of iTunes’ new Radio initiatives Beats 1.
Unsurprisingly, the 11-track album’s most popular song is “Jumpman”. The song illustrates clearly what “the new Drake” sounds like, and its sound pays homage to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The song’s catchy chorus and hard beat make it an obvious fan-favorite, though it is clearly not the best song on the tape.
Also unsurprisingly, the least popular song on the album is “Jersey”. The song doesn’t fall far from the Future tree, with an intro very similar to that of “Though It Was A Drought”. But the song doesn’t quite go where Future fans would like it to. It’s not as catchy as its DS2 counterparts, nor is it as hard-hitting. However, this song tells us much more about the album than the fact that Future is “married to the money and in love with the ‘dirty’”, the song tells us about WATTBA’s listeners. It’s no mistake that the only song the doesn’t feature Drake is the tape’s least popular.
Drake is the reason this album is popular, but he is not the reason this album is great.
The best song on the album is actually “Diamonds Dancing”. The song perfectly syncs the sounds of the two once-polarizingly sounding rappers. The song really does make the album that is clouded with divisive verses over similar beats. The beat is ever so Future-esque, but the lyric delivery and flow could be attributed to nobody but Drake. However, the lyrical prowess that is evident in this track is inseparable between the two. This song is not Drake’s. This song is not Future’s. This song isn’t DS2, and it isn’t Take Care. This song is What a Time To Be Alive.
And boy is it a gem.