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Rumours of a supposed collaboration project between rap's top-tier melodic virtuosos and the presence of a mystery (later confirmed as fugazi) website housing a suspicious timer counting down the seconds to a speculative joint mixtape between Future and Drake, left the internet in a virtual hysteria. Not only has 2015 been the most astounding year in rap music this decade, but Future and Drake have both spoiled their fandoms with well-received, still relevant deliveries just months apart. After a few subliminal posts on social media however, Drake finally cleared up all hearsay by sharing on Instagram that the originally-titled tape Put It All In A Plastic Bag was actually an album titled What A Time To Be Alive. The Ernest Baker-named creation was precisely fitting. The amalgamation of October's Very Own and Freeband Gang's sonic soundscapes and production-styles promised greatness after a few practice rounds on 'Where Ya At' and 'Fo Real.' And the minimalist stock photo diamond-encrusted cover read as a similar aesthetic to Kanye West and Jay Z's 2011 collaborative album Watch The Throne as if to relay the message that FBGOVO would ultimately be snatching the rap legends' crowns with their upcoming opus. Anticipation couldn't have been higher.

But What A Time To Be Alive is the sonic mythological unicorn of modern rap that turned out to just be a horse. "I went to Atlanta for 6 days a couple weeks ago in the hopes of doing some songs," Drake explained during the sixth awaited installment of OVO SOUND's Beats 1 radio show before cutting the tension and promptly debuting the collaborative project ahead of its Apple Music release Sunday night. "I went to Atlanta, we went and made some songs, and made an entire tape, which is a blessing." Atlanta, strip clubs and a summer of legendary rap beefs not only proved to be a blessing a la Drake but also fitting muses to fluently accompany the Metro Boomin-heavy production, which makes up eight of the 11 bass and snare-savvy tracks. But the unfortunate chunk of the equation is simply that What A Time To Be Alive only took six days to make - and it sounds like it.

Although the album offers a definite Atlanta-based cohesion, and a solid mix of OVO-centric and Future Hendrix-favoured producers like Boi1da, Noah 40 Shebib and Southside, the combined efforts of Future and Drake fail to find a lasting chemistry. While Drake seems to solely be making strategic chess-moves throughout the industry lately, recovering from a public rap beef that was even exhausting to watch, Future is focused on pumping out project after project, as if tomorrow is his last. They may hold individual titles as rap's most currently ornamented artists, but it's a Type A vs Type B personality marriage that doesn't articulate as well on record.

As expected, the bulk of the full-length album plays to the trap-heavy strengths of Future, who's back on his bachelor and offering his codeine cowboy-inspired autobiographical slick talk on the Magic Monday's anthem 'Plastic Bag' and epically ambient 'Diamonds Dancing'. Drake in true strategic Aubrey-fashion, hops onto the FBG sonic wave and augments his own haughty melodic banter. Although The Boy's skillset usually permits him to attach his talents to whatever wave he's interested in accompanying (Migos, Fetty Wap, D.R.A.M,) Nayvadius proves to be Drake's antithesis. His classic social media quotables are noticeably missing, replaced instead with grandiose vocal manipulations in an attempt to match Future's melodic hybrid of hood ballads and club bangers. After emancipating himself from a rap beef centered around the conversation of lyricism and penmanship, it's almost alarming that the quality of rhymes throughout the entire release are deplorably meek, although Drake does acknowledge the issue on his standout personal album-concluding Noah 40 Shebib-produced '30 For 30 Freestyle' by stating: "The pen is working if you ni**as need some ghost lines. I thought you wanted yours like I want mine."

After all the hype has worn off and the music is offered up on a diamond crusted platter, it's an unfortunate reality to note that What A Time To Be Alive doesn't quite hold weight as the cultural force it was expected to be. Although the project isn't damagingly subpar in any sonic sense and is sure to still receive ample album sales and DJ spins throughout the rest of the year (especially 'Big Rings' and 'Jumpman',) WATTBA still measures slightly disappointing in terms of what we've seen and heard from each artist individually, even this year. What A Time To Be Alive, even as a concept centers itself around the idea of 'now,' instead of striving for the notion of 'classic.' So I'll enjoy it for the time being.

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