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Album Review

Canadian hip-hop heavyweight Drake has teamed up with Atlanta rapper Future on individual tracks before. Now they're doing a whole "mixtape" album together. They named it What a Time to Be Alive, a title that evokes feelings of optimism and gratitude. But those two ideals are nowhere to be heard on this 11-track mess about two upwardly mobile men whose excess-filled lives—drugs, money, women—leave both sounding hollowed out and washed up.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

On "Diamonds Dancing," Drake warns a woman, "You look drained, you look exhausted/Girl, them late nights ain't good for you." "Scholarships" alludes to an ongoing spiritual battle in Future's life ("I wake up, pray every morning/These demons, they callin' my soul"). On album closer "30 for 30 Freestyle," Drake raps, "Kid'll lose their lives, got me scared of losing mine."

Objectionable Content

By the time we're a minute or so into opener "Digital Dash," Future's already (and always crudely) bragged about his girlfriend ("My b--ch good looking"), bragged about having sex with someone else's girl ("I f--- your b--ch in the passenger"), bragged about prepping drugs for sale ("My dope in the bushes/I know how to cook it"), and bragged about selling said drugs to your mother ("I give the junky a blast/I send dope to your momma, though"). He's handing out prescription meds ("Give a Xan to these hoes"), showing off his fleet of cars ("Chevy, Mercedes, I keep 'em coming") and keeping his gun close ("Gotta keep the trigger by my finger").

It's a disappointing preview of everything that follows. Obscenity-strewn raps include references to alcohol and a long list of illicit and much-abused prescription drugs: cocaine, marijuana, crack, sedatives, meth, Xanax, Percocet, Actavis Prometh, Adderall, codeine, Robitussin, Dom Pérignon, "jig" (likely Ecstasy), "Mellow Yellow" (likely LSD or PCP), "whoopty whoops," "syrup" and "lean."

And when Future and Drake aren't droppin', drinkin', smokin', tokin' or poppin', they're holding forth about "epic" carnal conquests. "I do not chase girls, but they run a mile for me," Drake brags. Future raps on "Change Locations," "Sixty naked b--ches, no exaggeration," after which he repeatedly employs the f-word to describe having sex with models, neighbors, strippers and waitresses. More such braggadocio includes lines like this one on "Digital Dash": "Got your b--ch on me gettin' murked." As for any kind of real relationship with the women he has sex with, well, it's no surprise Future's not interested. On "Scholarships," he spits, "Drafted, I'm gettin' chose by these hoes/Usually they just leave when we done/I don't wanna share no room with these hoes/ … I just stick and move on these hoes."

On "Plastic Bag," Drake asks for a lap dance from a stripper, then patronizingly tells her, "Go ahead and pick up all the cash/You danced all night, girl, you deserve it." Future gushes about having distributed $60,000 in singles to strippers at a club ("Throw more money on a Monday than you make in a year/Oh yeah, order 60,000 ones/Told the owner, 'Bout to break a record'").

Gangsta rap allusions to street violence turn up elsewhere on "Big Rings," with Future telling us, "I run with kidnappers, I'm talkin' 'bout kidnappers/I'm talkin' about murderin' n-ggas, I'm talkin' 'bout carjackers."

Summary Advisory

Sex. Drugs. Drugs. Sex. Violence. Money. Money. Money. Drugs. Drugs. Sex. That's the summation of life for a top-tier rapper, if we're to take Drake and Future's perpetual braggadocio even remotely seriously.

Too much never seems to be enough for either one, though. Their fame, riches, luxury goods and endless debauchery don't seem to be making them very happy, no matter how much they brag about living the "good" life. Instead, Drake seems mostly just bored in his often flat, emotionless raps. And while Future may have one moment of self-awareness when he admits, "I pour the Actavis and pop pills so I can fight the demons," much of the time his lyrics are so slurred you can hardly tell what he's saying.

So all that's left for them is to keep on feeding their insatiable appetites for self-destruction, heedlessly unconcerned that it's a bottomless spiritual pit.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

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