“What a Time To Be Alive” in Music

By Jordan Garcia


If 2015 isn’t already considered one of the craziest years in music, this past month has set this statement in stone. It has been an interesting melting pot of surprise mixtape collaborations from two music superstars, a debut album from an anthem magician, a second album from a hip-hop rock star, and a mix of new talent trying to acquire their places in the conversations surrounding music’s hottest artists.

Here are my reviews of the biggest projects released in the last month, while offering some honorable mentions at the end for you to judge for yourself.

“What a Time To Be Alive” – Drake and Future

After rumors spread all over Twitter of a possible collaboration between two of the current most powerful men in hip-hop, the project finally dropped on Sept. 20 via iTunes.

While this project was nothing close to the powerhouse collaboration between Kanye West and Jay-Z years ago on “Watch the Throne,” I think it was meant to give listeners something extra to listen to on top of the music each artist has already released this year. View it as more of a bonus playlist and nothing more than that. After all, according to both artists this was something that came about unplanned and was completed in only one week’s time.

This project often times felt as if it was full of songs that were intended for Future and featured a Drake verse, instead of being a true collaboration of each artist’s abilities. This may be due to the amount of time they spent creating the songs, but if that’s the case then maybe it shouldn’t be considered a true “collaboration” project.

Even with some songs missing the mark trying to capture true collaboration, there are others that will get stuck in your head for days at a time because they are just that catchy. Certified hits such as “Diamonds Dancing” and “Jumpman” will have you vibing all night long. When you really try to evaluate the project, realize you have been given a dozen more songs from Future and Drake. So there will be no complaints here.

“Fetty Wap” – Fetty Wap

After exploding onto the music scene this year with hits such as “Trap Queen” and “My Way,” the highly anticipated album from Fetty Wap was finally released on Sept. 25.

There is one thing about Fetty Wap’s self-titled album that is absolutely undeniable — his sound is very unique and almost impossible to imitate. Certain parts of the album are almost flawed because of his repetitive style of singing and simplistic lyrics. Let’s be honest though, if you’re listening to Fetty Wap for lyrical content then you are going in the wrong direction from the beginning.

One of the most impressive things about the album is the absence of any major features from other artists. The album just hits you with anthem after anthem, which is perfectly fine if that is what you are looking for. Some of my favorites were “How We Do Things” and “No Days Off” aside from the other popular hits “Again” and “679.”

This album is only the beginning for Fetty, although I do not think he will be evolving as an artist anytime soon. Everyone in the industry seems to be scrambling to get him on a chorus, but aside from his catchy sound and anthem-like lyrics there isn’t much more to evaluate. Take him for what he is — undoubtedly one of music’s new superstars.

“General Admission” – Machine Gun Kelly

So I may be a little biased on this one, but Cleveland native Machine Gun Kelly released what I consider to be the album of the Fall on Oct. 16.

The project, titled “General Admission,” tells his story from being a broke kid in Cleveland to signing a record deal with Diddy and Bad Boy Entertainment. I have been listening to Machine Gun Kelly since his earliest days and have always found that he has a knack for creating a relationship with his listeners through his music. What sets him apart from other music released this fall is his ability to be vulnerable through his music and allow others to relate through his lyrics.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of lines in his music about being rich and materializing women, but they are wedged between stories of triumph and determination. He touches on real subjects such as his troubled relationships with his mother and father, inspiring people to love each other with the possibility of saving lives, leaving his daughter for a life of fame, being broke in his early days of making music, the realities of living on the Eastside of Cleveland, and eventually coming out on top of the music world while never leaving his friends behind.

If you aren’t putting MGK into your playlist rotation, you may want to give this album a listen and reconsider. Some of the notable songs from the album are “Till I Die,” “A Little More,” and “Gone.” His songs are the essence of true hip-hop and his story telling mixed with focused lyricism sets him apart from other artists who may have a larger following.

Maybe he is relatable because he is from Ohio, maybe it’s because I’ve been to a couple of his live performances (he is the greatest live performer in the business). Either way, the music world needs to give Machine Gun Kelly more credit and attention.

Honorable Mentions

GO:OD AM – Mac Miller

Rodeo – Travis Scott

Live and Grow – Casey Veggies

The Documentary 2 – The Game

All We Need – Raury

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