Superstar team-ups almost always seem better in theory. History suggests they are nearly twice as likely to produce a resounding dud as a working piece of art, and yet the prospect never ceases to excite us. When rumors began to swirl weeks ago that Drake and Future might be releasing a joint project, the Internet went into a frenzy. Watch the Throne parallels were drawn, fake cover art circulated, and a website countdown appeared as if to wish it into existence.
What a Time to Be Alive materialized on Sunday, and the mixed results won't surprise anyone who has already noted the decided lack of chemistry between these two. There's been a Drake feature on every Future album, but none of them are particularly riveting, and on What a Time it's clearer than ever that they have difficulty sharing the same space. Many tracks are just Future songs with Drake verses tagged on (Future gets almost double the airtime), and Drake often sounds out of his element. When Future gets rolling on songs like "Digital Dash" and "Live From the Gutter", Drake is a bystander. The tape was allegedly born out of an impromptu, six-day recording session, and too many moments on it feel like they were thrown together in that time span. Drake probably shouldn’t be on a song called "I’m the Plug", for example, and the hook on "Big Rings" is terribly bland and awkward. This wasn't created with the care or the dutiful curation we've come to expect from both artists when solo.