WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE
The scene: me lying on the floor of my bedroom in Paris staring at the ceiling, speakers turned to 11, a bottle deep into cheap French wine, listening to Drake and Future drop a mixtape on beats 1 radio. What a time to be alive!
The wine sloshes in my belly, mixing with the four 1664 tallboys I followed it up with and now I’m all up in my feelings. Crazy energy is coming from the speakers giving me goosebumps. I haven’t been this excited for a drop like this since… when’s the last time something like this even happened?
A rumoured 19 million dollar Apple deal and two of the biggest names in hip-hop (for the moment) make a mixtape in six days. If there’s a lesson in all of this it’s that when the motivation is right, miracles happen. Unexpectedly, it gets played twice through back to back, albeit censored both times. The hype is massive and kittens in Paris stay up till midnight to live through it in real-time.
I must admit, I don’t regularly listen to Future and from the first few bars I feel like a much too die-hard Drake fan to 100% fully appreciate this experience. The metro boomin production is too hipster-hazy for me. It’s good in an electro club banger kind of way, of course, but when Future starts rapping his auto-tuned mumbles I find it hard to follow.
“I think the percocets have me in my feelings” - Future on Diamonds Dancing
But I’m fucking bopping like I’m riding shotgun in the Rolle anyways. I take the multiple perc references as permission to pop some myself and things start to get as hazy as the beats. The pain is alleviated. Finally.
“Reporting live from the fucking gutter” - Future on Live From the Gutter
Both parties spit some fire lines and I start making notes to break up my thoughts, to supercharge this review of a much anticipated, obvious outcome, Apple-backed mixtape (that’s currently being sold for $9.99 on iTunes and expected to outsell Watch the Throne and return with those dividends Tim Cook bet on the deal).
“You hate your life just be honest” - Drake on Digital Dash
Whenever I feel like killing myself these days, instead I think about what it must be like to be Meek Mill. The beef is all a big media stunt, of course, but still! He had to make the conscious choice to get involved. Maybe not conscious, maybe not a choice, but he’s still gotta live with the consequences. What a time to be alive!
“maybe one day, maybe one day / you will understand how i get it though / man, it’s everything i ever said it is / mixin’ liquor cups with the sedatives” - Drake on Plastic Bag
I wonder what all these perc and lean lines are like for people who’ve never tripped on prescription drugs before (I guess just as oblivious as i feel about Future’s references to firearms). I wonder, I wonder. Having heavily indulged in a variety of things, for me, the numbing effects of painkillers doesn’t feel as easy to walk away from that most other things do. Percs, vals, subatex, whatever, it feels like something different than your typical recreational drugs. Maybe it’s because their effectiveness in relieving the pain caught me by surprise the first time I indulged. Maybe it’s because they’re manufactured by big pharma in a money-motivated attempt to numb us from the inevitable, inescapable futility of our human existence and willingly submit to the unspeakable insanity of government and environmental policies. But that’s just me getting all existential about these offhand references made by massive popstars (Future is quoted as admitting he doesn't even really do drugs, he just raps about it to keep up a persona), and thinking about their potential impact on the youth of tomorrow.
“This for my dogs who go Karrueche with the chopsticks.” - Drake on Live From the Gutter
I don’t believe in giving power to words. I mean, I acknowledge that words hold a certain sort of power in today’s society (hence my omission of the N word which i would have otherwise sprinkled all over the goddamn place like fairy dust if I didn’t fear the backlash more than I think the use of it adds to my prose). But that power, in my humble opinion, only exists and is fuelled by the unconscious masses or those who find themselves temporarily off the path and caught up in semantics. This line, so base and unoriginal (Hey! Asians eat a lot of rice, right?! Rice! Sushi! Chopsticks! lol!) that I honestly thought I’d heard wrong and laughed out loud. Poor, poor Karrueche and her thirst. But what’s up with Drizzy cooking up all this media-manufactured beef? Really, bud? Did you listen to nothing Jay told you on your own goddamn track? Quite a head scratcher if nothing else.
“if anybody knows girl, you know i know” - Drake on Plastic Bag/My Side
Ok, so that’s the My Side embellished version of the WATTBA line, but IDGAF. Is it just me, or does all the lean-sipping and perc-popping these two nice, rich, young black men are doing feel a little bit redundant? Forced, even. I guess I’m fairly gratuitous about my own dabblings with pain killers, but I’m a poor, depressed, self-deprecating kitten, and getting my hands on these things isn’t facilitated by a handler. Ok, that’s all I got. He probably does know. I can’t really argue with shit like this. This rabbit hole is deep, deep, deep, and lined with promethazine. We've all got our problems.
“it’s like you went on vacation with no plan of returning” Drake on 30 for 30
Drake, Drake, Drake! I’m loving all this soul-searching you’re making me do! I know this line was supposed to be a diss to the competition for not producing at your level, but i’m taking it as the perfect metaphor for the new movement of ‘create your own reality’ wave-riding spirituality that’s been flavouring 2015. The new reality where every day is a vacation when you focus on manifestation and being at cause. Changing the world. And going back to your original meaning, inactivity is unacceptable when you're bragging about all the things you say you're going to do and I dig that.
“I need acknowledgement. If i got it, then tell me I got it then” - Drake on Scholarships
Okay Drake, I love you. You’ve got it. You’ve got it all. Your friend there, I can’t speak for him, but you’ve got my entire underwear drawer burnt up, up, up. I’ll tell you anything you want to hear sweetie-pie. Come to your Champagne Mami, I’ll kiss you where it hurts.
“I just came from dinner where I ate some well done seared scallops that were to die for” - Drake on 30 for 30
This is the shit I was waiting for. Drizzy pouring it all out, honest, no hook, pure gold. Talking about life, progress, positivity, backed by the always flawless 40, making me purr. You’re doing mad things for Canada which I appreciate so deeply. Never forgetting your roots, which is what it feels like happened for most of tracks 1 through 10 where you were being drowned under thick layers of lean. But now you’re back on that 8 more than 92 shit, and always in my good graces.
“better be coming with no strings” - Drake on Big Rings
In all honesty, this album was an incredible experience. The hype, the fact that it actually came to fruition, the 24 hour notice (unlike many a promised Weezy feat. X mixtape), the ironically clichéd title, all of it is perfect. A business model for making money off of today’s über-bored, instant gratification seeking youth. It was a 19 million dollar backed list of perfectly executed club bangers diffused on a foolproof platform, that I’m going to have on repeat until Views gets dropped. The stock image album cover is the perfect below the belt blow to all the artists slaving away to get noticed. Those working the 9-5s who drag their tired asses home to try to create something real. The same people who stayed up to listen to this fire album for inspiration. But of course, there are always strings attached. In my most humble opinion, it just seems that for a supposedly energetically-sensitive wave rider on a mission to shift the culture, you need to step your game up puppy dog. It’s not this that you’re going to make history for. But I think you already knew that.