Rap, in General, I: An Album Title That Did More Than The Album

By Opheli Garcia Lawler

Via Wikipedia

Everyone has already been quick to hop on the criticism of “What A Time To Be Alive.” For an album or mixtape (or whatever think piece you agree with most categorized it as), that was made in 6 days, you can only expect so much. It was a weak album, the whole thing was rushed and could have been done so much better. Drake’s own Fader interview is a an admission on Drake’s behalf that quality work takes time. This was quantity, not quality. What carried this album to success was the “who” rather than the “what,” as well as the hype and presumption in the title of the project.

The beats are sloppy, feeling like skeletons of songs that could have been great instead of two of hip-hop’s biggest names dropping a “legendary” collab. It felt lazy, with a quality comparable to a 14-year-old kid using Digital DJ on his laptop. It was yrically vacant, to boot. Repetition was the backbone of every song, and any sense of chorus was overwhelmed with a bland and uninspiring delivery.  

Future’s slow drawl sounds good on Future. Future doesn’t have to drop bars to make a good song, but when Drake makes his voice mimic Future, and appropriates his sound so much so that their differences as rappers becomes imperceptible, the point of their collaboration becomes voided. A collaboration is supposed to bring two different artists together. “What A Time To Be Alive” felt more like Future was giving Drake lessons on how to sound like Future.

On several tracks, there is almost an imperceptible switch from Drake to Future’s verse. While smooth transitions are an important, it made the songs boring. The beats were still flat, without any sort of layering to hook you to the song, it felt like Future and Drake were singing a stripper a lullaby on many of the tracks.

The way to look at this album is as an artistic and supremely fame oriented success. They just did this. Drake and Future wanted to make some music together, and they did. W.A.T.T.B.A. is simple and wildly monotonous, but Drake and Future are so well established as powerhouses, that work like this won’t hurt them; It will only benefit them. It has already moved 500,000 copies since it’s release, and is predicted to top the Billboard 200 in October. What a time to be alive for Drake and Future’s invincible rap-careers.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at music@nyunews.com

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