What A Time To Be Alive is a new collaboration mixtape from Toronto rapper Drake, and Atlanta rapper, Future, released on Sept. 20 exclusively on iTunes/Apple Music.
As the mixtape’s title may suggest, it can be viewed as a celebration of the successful careers of both artists during a massive hype cycle, beginning after Drake’s surprise release, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and Future’s third album DS2.
The tape, executive produced by St. Louis native Metro Boomin, sees both rappers going back and forth on some trap-flavored beats, with the exceptions of “Jersey,” a Future solo track, and “30 for 30 Freestyle,” a solo Drake track.
However, while it’s billed as a collab mixtape, What a Time To Be Alive mostly feels like a Future project that just so happens to feature Drake on most of the tracks.
This isn’t a bad thing, as I enjoy Future’s style, which Drake does well adapting to, but I feel that Drake has more variety in the production of his own work, while Future’s seems to repeat itself a little.
Some of Drake’s production influence can be heard throughout the tape on songs like “Diamonds Dancing,” “Plastic Bag,” and “Change Locations.”
Even with this Drake influence, that isn’t enough to shake the feeling that some of these songs feel like leftovers from DS2 that just happen to feature Drake on some hooks and verses.
While I enjoyed this mixtape overall, when it comes to the outro, “30 for 30 Freestyle,” I think the listener can really see how above Drake’s producers are to the rest of the rap game.
This track, produced by long-time Drake colleague Noah “40” Shebib, is produced to near-perfection, mixing manipulated vocal samples, beautifully played piano, and crisp drums, to add a fresh sound to the rest of the tape, by slowing things down and getting real.
What this tape shows is how smart Future and Drake are, not for the content of their rhymes, but how they sell them. Drake is on top of the world right now, having the highest selling album of 2015 so far, and Future, coming off a wild comeback after 2014’s mediocre Honest.
So, don’t take the tape too seriously, it’s meant to be a collection of fun and collaborative songs until Drake drops his 4th album, Views from the 6, later this year/early next year and gives Future more exposure for his own music.