On his second mixtape release this year, Drake teams up with Future for What a Time to Be Alive. Of course, Drake is basically a hip-hop demigod whereas Future is better known for his features on songs like “Love Me” and “PNF,” both of which happen to feature Drake as well. So why hook up with Future? The dude has hits but does he really have bars?
While What a Time took just seven days to complete with most of the production supervised by from Atlanta producer Metro Boomin (Honest, Skyfall, Tuesday) it’s a polished, cohesive body of work. But even though Metro and Future – also from Atlanta – have a long history of working together, this is still through and through a Drake album; he dominates every song with superior lyricism, style, and overall prowess.
Many of the enjoyable songs on What a Time to Be Alive tap the same vein that made songs like “Hotline Bling” and “Legend” radio hits. Drake’s rhyming is subdued; he appears less interested in rhymes and wordplay than he is in vocally evoking his emotions. On “Diamonds Dancing,” Drake takes the spotlight with a two-minute long outro. With synths swirling in the background, he croons: “How can you live with yourself / Ungrateful, ungrateful / Your momma be ashamed of you / I haven’t even heard from you, not a single word from you.” It’s an instant jam. I’m brought back to 11th grade, standing out in the pouring rain waiting for the love of my life to come outside. She never came.
Listening to Drake like: how could you do this to me…
It’s been over a year since Drake’s junior album Nothing Was The Same dropped. Vibrant and poppy, yet remaining quintessentially Drake, NWTS marked a shift from being just another rapper to a musical auteur. Whether shouting at the top of his lungs or whispering sweet nothings, Drake has maintained a persona both in his music and public image of a hard-core (dare I say gangster?) rapper, as well as an R&B crooner, thus appealing to both hip-hop heads and romantics everywhere. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late (released without any official announcements, much like Beyonce’s Beyonce last year) signals the singer’s commitment to mining the intricacies of his dual identities, while also highlighting his desire to experiment and expand his sound.
In many ways, If You’re Reading This remains true to Drake’s proven strategy of success. Songs fall into one of two categories: “I go hard in the motherfuckin’ paint” and “I can’t hold you too close because I’m afraid of loving you.” These two modes—boisterous, triumphant tirades or quiet love songs—sometimes compete against each other on the same track with Drake spending the first two minutes of a song shrugging off the haters, only to switch up the music tempo and cocoon within a gloomy dialogue of inner thoughts.
Based on the success of Beyoncé’s Beyoncé and Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, many writers in the music biz speculate that surprise album releases are going to be the next big trend. While we have columns like La, La, La Brunonia to keep you up on all the new music, sometimes artists sneak releases without warning.
Here’s a Best-Of’s playlist from albums that were released by surprise.
(We would have included Michael Cera’s surprise album from this past summer, but sadly he isn’t on Spotify.)
Although we will always remember Drake for his ability to rock the wheelchair in his role as Jimmy on Degrassi, we simply can’t deny that the man has taken over the hip-hop industry. Following Kanye’s Yeezus and HOVA’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail as one of the most anticipated albums in its genre for this year, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same is creepin’ and crawlin’ to the top of the charts after its release on the 24th. Prior to the album drop last week, Drake released four singles, “Started from the Bottom“, which you’ve definitely never heard before, along with three others: “Hold On, We’re Going Home“, “All Me“, and “Wu-Tang Forever“.
Let’s not digress from what may be the most iconic thing about the album itself: the cover art. The album has two different covers, and the rare CD-purchasing fans can pick up either cover in stores. One cover depicts Drake as a toddler, sporting an impressively large afro for someone his age with a comb protruding from it. The other cover, featured on the deluxe edition, shows Drake as an adult bereft of clothing but adorned with a gold chain, le duh. They’re both custom-made oil paintings created for and inspired by Drizzy.
Without further ado, BlogDH presents (trumpets, please): Nothing Was the Same by Drake in haikus. Because there’s obviously no better way to review an album than by writing a haiku about each track. Check them out after the jump.