Drake and Future were just announced as winners of Best Group at the 2016 BET Awards, which alone has Twitter exploding. A lot of you have questions and Sway doesn't have all your answers. Here’s a look back, though, at what the duo meant to hip-hop when coming together for What a Time to Be Alive.
Late last week, Future announced his new mixtape Esco Terrestrial. It’ll be his sixth project release since the beginning of 2015 — which is a lot considering that at one point he and Kendrick Lamar could be considered hip-hop’s top dogs (no pun intended).
Within the last two years, Future has grown. Efforts like Beast Mode and 56 Nights further proved that the Atlanta rapper was the king of hits, while Dirty Sprite 2 showed he could put a more cohesive album together. One project in particular, though, revealed Future Hendrix’s true muscle. That was What a Time to Be Alive.
At the time of its release, Drizzy was sitting pretty well when it came to musical output. He had just dropped If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late seven months prior and another album didn’t seem like it was going to come until mid-2016.
When we think of the top rappers in the game, from back in the day until now, releases have always been at their leisure. Even though we live in the time of a hot new mixtape every week, where our markets are super saturated due to social media and a very shortened attention span among youngsters, the designated cream of the crop have always continued to garner the anticipation of a high quality drop. Kendrick, Drake, J. Cole, Kanye West and any other rapper touching the top, on average, have waited a year or two before dropping their next work.
It’s power that had Drake breaking that mold by collaborating with Future just months after his fourth mixtape was released. For Future, it was the craving of full legitimacy after the success of DS2. He was and is still considered a “hot” rapper, but when it comes to deliberating a spot in the top artist conversation, where quality is key, he was often left off that list. It’s a key reason why teaming up with Drake helped give him hope of a seat at that table. It also aimed at helping him showcase his versatility, squashing the “just a trap rapper” characterization.
Whether you enjoyed What a Time to Be Alive or not (the reviews since its release have been mixed) there’s no denying the power of each artist a year ago. They had successfully collaborated numerous times prior to the mixtape’s drop, with each collab having fans fiending for what a full project would sound like. Rumors of a Future and Drake album alone nearly broke the internet, which proves that each artist is still on top of their game.
Best Group isn’t simply the group with the top album or superior cohesion. It also means that put together, no matter how many members, it’s the strongest team. Drake and Future at this point are the Miami Heat in 2010/2011. They may not have won the NBA Finals yet, but you know the star power is there.
(Photos from left: Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Andrew Chin/Getty Images)