Drake and Future’s surprise album What a Time to Be Alive charges in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, giving Drake his second chart-topper of 2015. The set earned 375,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Sept. 24, according to Nielsen Music — of that sum, 334,000 were pure album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Oct. 10-dated chart (where Drake and Future are No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
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- What a year 2015 is turning out to be for hip-hop. After much speculation over the span of the last week, perhaps the two biggest winners in hip-hop so far this year, Drake and Future are here with their collaborative album, “What A Time To Be Alive.” The album premiered this evening on Drake.
What a Time to Be Alive was released Sunday, Sept. 20 (through A-1/Freebandz/Young Money/Cash Money/Epic/Republic Records), and was initially exclusively available through Apple Music and the iTunes Store. The set was only announced one day earlier, and its release came on an off-cycle Sunday (as most albums are now released on a Friday each week, the first day of the Billboard 200's tracking week).
Let’s take a look at some of the statistics that accompany Drake and Future’s debut:
Third-Largest Week for an Album in 2015, by Units: The only larger weeks were racked by the debuts of The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness (412,000) and Drake’s other surprise album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (535,000).
Second Largest Sales Week for an Album in 2015: What a Time to Be Alive sold 334,000 in pure album sales, making it the second-biggest sales week this year. The only larger week was racked by Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (495,000).
Drake and Future Are the First Hip-Hop Acts Since 2004 to Score Two No. 1 Albums in a Calendar Year: With the arrival of What a Time to Be Alive, both Drake and Future tally their second leaders on the Billboard 200 in 2015.
Drake debuted at No. 1 earlier in 2015 with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Future scored his first No. 1 nearly two months ago with DS2.
The last hip-hop act to earn multiple No. 1s within a calendar year was Jay Z back in 2004. He reached the top that year with Unfinished Business (with R. Kelly) and MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course (with Linkin Park). The last act, regardless of genre, to notch more than one No. 1 album in a calendar year was Justin Timberlake, who saw both volumes of his The 20/20 Experience debut at No. 1 in 2013.
Drake and Future are also the first hip-hop acts to collect multiple No. 1 albums within a 12-month span of time since 2011, when Lil Wayne managed the feat with Tha Carter IV and I Am Not a Human Being.
Drake and Future are members of an elite group of acts to have more than one No. 1 album in a 12-month frame. They are the first to do so since One Direction in late 2014, when Four’s chart-topping arrival came less than a year after Midnight Memories bowed at No. 1.
What a Time… is Drake’s Fifth No. 1 Album: Drake has collected five straight No. 1s on the Billboard 200, all of which debuted at No. 1. It follows If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Nothing Was the Same (in 2013), Take Care (2011) and Thank Me Later (2010).
Future’s Second No. 1 in Less Than Two Months: Less than two months after Future earned his first No. 1, with DS2, he’s back on top with What a Time to Be Alive.
Drake and Future lead a busy top 10 on the Billboard 200, where six more albums arrive in the region, including new efforts from Lana Del Rey, Mac Miller and David Gilmour.
|What a Time to Be Alive|
|Released||September 20, 2015|
|Singles from What a Time to Be Alive|
What a Time to Be Alive is a collaborative commercial mixtape by Canadian rapper Drake and American rapper Future. It was released on September 20, 2015, by Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records, Republic Records, Epic Records, A1 Records and Freebandz. What a Time to Be Alive was supported by Drake and Future's previous collaboration on the single 'Where Ya At'. As friends, they originally planned to record a mixtape together earlier in the year; the project never fully materialized. However, during recording sessions for 'Where Ya At', the duo began working on the project, beginning in July. The mixtape was extensively produced by Metro Boomin, as well as also being produced by Southside, Boi-1da and 40, among others. It was released on the iTunes Store and Apple Music, and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.
Release, packaging and promotion
The mixtape was first teased by a range of sources; including DJ Skee, Angela Yee and Ernest Baker, and this project was officially announced on Drake's Instagram on September 19, 2015, when he revealed the mixtape's release date and cover art.
The artwork is a stock image that was purchased from Shutterstock.
Drake and Future premiered the album on Beats 1 on OVO Sound's 'OVO Sound Radio' show on September 20, 2015, and weeks after it was released on the iTunes Store and Apple Music.
The Summer Sixteen Tour by Drake was made to support this mixtape.
What a Time to Be Alive received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album received a normalized metascore of 70 out of 100 on the review aggregate website Metacritic based on 24 critics.Billboard described Drake and Future's chemistry as expected and said 'Future deals with personal demons that he tries, and fails, to drown in drugs; Drake is mostly about insecurities and lesser gravity'.Rolling Stone gave the album 3.5 out of 5 stars, attributing the 'fresh and spontaneous' feel to the quick production of the album, where 'both artists [are] playing off their louder-than-life personalities without overthinking the details.' However, Sheldon Pearce in a Pitchfork review suggests that this limited time-frame for making the album is the sonic downfall of the mixtape arguing that the album 'wasn't created with the care or the dutiful curation we've come to expect from both artists when solo.'
In a mixed review, Sheldon Pearce of Pitchfork criticizes the 'decided lack of chemistry between these two,' because 'they have difficulty sharing the same space' when on the same song. Pearce goes on to highlight how Future's presence, both in content and persona, is much more prevalent than Drake's, where the latter appears to be a 'bystander' and 'out of his element.' Yet, he highlights moments where the collaboration works most effectively. In 'Scholarships', Drake 'throws Future the perfect alley-oop,' 'Jumpman' is a banger, and 'Diamonds Dancing' is the first track between the two artists that 'clicks on all cylinders.' Additionally, Pearce lauds the production by Metro Boomin as 'glimmering' and hails both rappers when they are able to work on their own and make music in their respective comfort zones in songs like Future's 'Jersey' and Drake's '30 for 30 Freestyle'.
Complex said about Drake verses; 'despite a corny bar here or there, Drake sounds way more energized with much better flows.'Entertainment Weekly was disappointed with Drake on the album, quoting 'despite a beat by Drake whisperer Noah '40' Shebib, the album-closing '30 For 30 Freestyle' doesn't come near clearing the admittedly high bar Drake has set for himself in 2015.'
What a Time to Be Alive debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with 375,000 album-equivalent units; it sold 334,000 copies in its first week, with the remainder of its unit count representing the album's streaming activity and track sales during the tracking week. It became both Drake and Future's second albums to chart at number one on the Billboard 200 in 2015 (If You're Reading This It's Too Late and DS2, respectively). In its second week it sold 65,000 copies. As of January 27, 2016, What a Time to Be Alive has sold 519,000 copies in the United States. On March 15, 2016, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over a million units.
Credits adapted from the album's liner notes and Tidal.
|2.||'Big Rings'||Metro Boomin||3:37|
|3.||'Live from the Gutter'||3:31|
|7.||'I'm the Plug'||3:00|
|10.||'Jersey' (performed by Future)||3:08|
|11.||'30 for 30 Freestyle' (performed by Drake)||4:13|
- '30 for 30 Freestyle' features background vocals by Kyle Machado
Credits adapted from album's liner notes and Tidal.
- Maneesh – piano, keyboards (tracks 3, 6)
- Eric Manco – recording (tracks 1–5, 7–9)
- Seth Firkins – recording (track 6)
- James Kang – recording (track 10)
- Miguel Scott – recording assistance (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Noel 'Gadget' Campbell – mixing (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Noah '40' Shebib – mixing (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Metro Boomin – mixing (track 10)
- Les Bateman – mixing assistance (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Greg Moffett – mixing assistance (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Harley Arsenault – mixing assistance (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Noel Cadastre – engineering (tracks 1–9, 11)
- Chris Athens – mastering (all tracks)
- Dave Huffman – mastering assistance (all tracks)
What A Time To Be Alive Datpiff
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||80,000^|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Gold||10,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- ^'British album certifications – Drake & Future – What a Time to Be Alive'. British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field.Select Silver in the Certification field.Type What a Time to Be Alive in the 'Search BPI Awards' field and then press Enter.
- ^'American album certifications – Drake & Future – What a Time to Be Alive'. Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.