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Drake & Future: Guys, are we keeping you awake?

Hip-Hop

Drake & Future

What A Time to Be Alive

[Cash Money]

1 star

When word leaked that Drake and Future would be teaming for a mix tape, the internet broke. Ok, it didn’t really break. But people – some people, anyway – pretty much freaked out. And they freaked out all over social media.

They shouldn’t have. “What A Time to Be Alive” is a snooze-fest of a collection. It sounds like what it is – a couple of buddies unaccustomed to anyone telling them things they don’t want to hear spending a few days together in the recording studio goofing off. This thing really could’ve used an editor. Or better yet, a person to say something along the lines of “We’re not going to put out your home demos, because every single thought that passes through your heads is not profound, nor even necessarily worthy of being shared with the general public.”

Drake and Future are buddies. Future has invited Drake to appear on the majority of his releases. For their first full-blown collaboration, Metro Boomin was handed the production reigns, but sadly, he spends more time dropping them than actually steering the carriage. The production is thick and dense, but not particularly inventive – filling every space with something is not the same as crafting your own version of “Fear of a Black Planet,” after all. Ear fatigue ensues almost immediately, and never really dissipates.

Speaking of fatigue, Drake - never the most energetic or smooth rapper at the best of times – sounds like he’s falling asleep here, which may be partly due to the fact that Future is the leader most of the time during “What A Time To Be Alive,” Drake coming across as if his contributions were simply mush-mouthed after-thoughts.

So far, no one seems to be willing to say it, so I will: These “mix tape” releases are so often a total cash-grab. Labelling your effort a mix tape gets you off the hook as an artist, implying that this is just bonus material, not a “real” release, while you go on ahead and charge people for it as if it was indeed a real release. In Drake’s case, a sweet deal with Apple Music means a multiple platform, high-visibility roll-out and the potential for plenty of downloads. He gets to have it both ways.

Is it really such a great time to be alive? I suppose that depends who you ask. This potentially interesting collaboration certainly does nothing to improve the human experience, to be certain.

Yawn. Next.

- Jeff Miers

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