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New mixtape by Drake gets nod

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Hui for Noisey

Now an artist named Abra is accusing Drizzy of lifting her hook for his Future collaboration "Diamonds Dancing". For an artist as adaptable and paranoid of failure as Drake, a collaborative album seems like an assured path to being stress-free.

Take the two solo songs that end the 40-minute album: "Jersey" is a good Future song, but would've been a weak link on Dirty Sprite 2.

Whatever rapport or lack thereof between the two also seems accidental; perhaps in a reactionary manner, Drake falls back on sometimes stilted flows that he pivoted from on If You're Reading This, maybe in an effort to throw Meek Mill off his scent.

But What A Time To Be Alive is the sonic mythological unicorn of modern rap that turned out to just be a horse.

New mixtape by Drake gets nod

These two are among the most discussed rappers of 2015, and if What A Time To Be Alive doesn't top either's previous releases, it's certainly a well-deserved victory lap. Future is the album's conscience, Drake is the raging id. When he raps "walked inside the booth and came out in a learjet", he packs more nuance in his delivery and the image he creates - and in a shorter narrative - than Drake can muster during the album.

Man, Drake does not need anymore rumors about him "using" another artist's work. Future is the more natural rapper, whose voice oozes pathos.

And with WATTBA, a 6-day project, set to sell 500,000 copies in the first week - I'm sure Drake and Future couldn't care less about who cares less about their newest musical project. If it only consisted of the piano loop and beat, "Live From The Gutter" would fit on IYRTITL, but there's weird tones popping up everywhere, from the sustained note that opens the track to those clamorous horns that sound like semi trucks whirring past you on the highway. Drake knows how to share feelings, but Future's has the benefit of being able to pull from an emotional register that Drake doesn't have access to.

That's a fun one. It's a poignant song in which Drake talks about listening to his 19-year-old self rapping all "wide-eyed and uneducated" on "Closer to My Dream". "I thought you wanted yours like I want mine". It's not a loss for Drake, but with the run that he's recently been on, anything besides an outright win feels like a step in the wrong direction.

On the second track "Big Rings", Drake jumps into the unfamiliar trap territory pretty comfortably. Who else could make buying out all the bottles at the chain location sound so endearing?

 

Listen to the two tracks and make up your mind for yourself. If there was an overarching theme between Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late and every Future project since Monster, it's been this: fame isn't everything it's cracked up to be, but I'll be goddamned if I'm not making the most of it. This path is one strewn with drugs and women, rivals and naysayers, luxury on luxury, and perhaps most importantly, slight pangs of regret and boredom. "Jumpman" is full of enough catchy whoops and crow squawks to force you into nodding your head, but it's tarnished by Drake's lame request for Robitussin to help with his fake "cough", especially when juxtaposed with the very-real codeine addiction that Future raps about in the next verse.

Drake Future
Grant Lamos IV Mike Windle Getty Images

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