What a Time to Be Alive album review

What a Time to Be Alive album review

Various Labels

Hip hop artists turning out two songs a day, albums being dropped with nothing but a picture on Instagram the day before, and collabs with arguably the two biggest hip hop artists of today— what a time to be alive! Drake and Future released their collab mixtape, What a Time to be Alive, on Sept. 20, and since then have reached the no. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 chart with a sale of 375,000 copies in the first week alone.

The mixtape, which was written in six days when the rappers met up in Atlanta, is an interesting mix of Drake’s upbeat party boy personality and Future’s troubled lyrics, although I would not go so far as to call it a good mix.

I am just going to put this out there— I am not a fan of hip hop. I would much rather listen to Metallica than Jay-Z, and the amount of Kanye songs I have heard in my entire life can be counted on one hand. However, I was more than willing to buy the album on iTunes and open up to something new.

The album starts off with the fast-paced song “Digital Dash,” which set my hopes high for the mixtape. This is my favorite song on the entire album. With its steady drum beat and more than four notes in the entire song, it completely dominates all the other songs on the mixtape. “Digital Dash” is sung by Future and Drake, and the lyrics are not repetitive like so many other songs on the album. Future makes sense and goes along with the rhythm of the song, while Drake’s one verse completely contradicts the rest of the song. He sounds completely out of place, and when he started rapping about zombies I was lost. However, it is only one verse, and the rest of the song more than makes up for it. After this song I was feeling very good about hip hop and listening to the album, despite what I had heard about it being awful.

The next song, “Big Rings,” might be the most repetitive song ever written. Practically the entire song was Drake singing “I got a really big team, and they need some really big rings.”  However, the song was something I definitely would play for a party or in the car, because of the fast paced, steady rhythm and the repetition it is an easy song to dance and sing off key at the top of your lungs to.

The first two songs set the bar very high, especially for my incomplete knowledge of hip hop. I really enjoyed them, but after “Big Rings” comes songs like “Live From the Gutter,” “Scholarships” and “Plastic Bag,” which all sound like the exact same song. They all have super slow intros and no change through the entire song once you get past that. It is like that one teacher everyone has that just lectures at the class with the most monotone voice you have heard since the teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” I was nearly falling asleep throughout the rest of the album.

The only other noteworthy song was “30 for 30 freestyle,” and honestly the only reason this song was even worth listening to was because it finally meant the mixtape was over. It was not as repetitive as most of the album, and Drake actually sounded passionate in the song instead of sounding like he was reading off a sheet. Although, I did go listen to some other freestyles, and this was one of the better ones I heard. So, if you compare “30 for 30 Freestyle” with other songs like it, it was a good song— Drake listened to the music and didn’t just say what he was thinking. At least he was better at freestyling than Iggy Azalea.

Overall, the album is just a little sloppy. Despite its strong beginning songs, the mixtape begins to all blend together towards the end and you find yourself not even knowing when the song changes. For such big artists, I expected What a Time to Be Alive to be a little more thought out, but the fact that they recorded it in six days really shows through.

There’s a lot to be said for getting two no. 1 ranking albums, but I don’t think I’ll be sitting down to listen to another Drake album in a while. However, if you want to get What a Time to Be Alive, it is being sold on iTunes for $9.99, or you can listen to it for free on Spotify.   

The Pathfinder gives ‘What a Time to Be Alive’ a 5.0/10.