Hot 100 Review: Life is Good by Future (Feat. Drake)

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I’m glad Justin Bieber’s Yummy dropped a whole eight spots down to 10 so I don’t have to remind you it’s bad. It is bad. A new song, Life is Good by Future and Drake has taken its number two spot. The Box remains number one for two weeks so far.

I haven’t listened to a lot of Future, but I like Drake well enough. He makes a good mix of songs. Mix meaning it ranges from good to so bad it is good.

This song itself is really weird in so, so many ways. The most apparent even after one listen is it’s structure. Songs like this usually have the two artist trade verses off to one another to establish the tone and play off the others work. The other way it’s done is by have the guest artist just come in for a minor verse or bridge to spice it up. For this song it instead feels like two songs that were sandwiched together at the ends to make a single song. The element that makes all of this stranger is just how desperate the tones and styles of the two artists are. This does not feel like a cohesive piece but instead two sides of a door handle.

The song starts with Drake’s half. It feels a lot like one of his song, mostly Hotling Bling. It’s got that hallow drum machine kicks and beats. Drake matches that with his usual cadence and voice. That can be sometimes be taxing, or annoying but it all work here because it’s about how hard he work.

Drake is talking about how hard he has to work all the time (didn’t I just say that bit?) and in turn feels like it’s for us normal people who also have to work hard all of the time. Saying things like, “Working on the weekend like usual,” is automatically hitting. Then calling out others for doing too much feels vindicating to those who somehow work even harder as you work your own butt off. Then saying how he has worked hard to now play hard, but even taking that time off means something else, taxes, is taken over as a new problem.

His messages gets confusing when he gets to his verse. It tries to fuse the ideas of haters calling you out for not working hard, how some women can never be satisfied, and back Future’s own crew and record group (thank you Genius). It only goes in as much depth as I covered it here. His flow and same tambour of voice help sell all of it. I mean in a meta sense that verse is working very hard and could be an allusion to Drake working hard all the time, but it is not in the song or explored a whole lot to confirm that.

There is a bridge/interlude that works well to transition from Drake’s drum kit style to Future’s more short, and quick beats that sound tinny, and like two drum sticks clacking together. He also says how everything is good in his expensive shoes and that life is good.

Going back to what I said last week about The Box, I do not feel qualified to talk about this kind of rap music. Drake has more of a pop feel and intuition in his music that make it easier to break down and decipher. If The Box was medium difficulty, Future is jumping right to Prepare to Die on the menu.

Most of the problem comes from how drowned, mumbling, and slurred his voice is. His flow is not bad. He is able to go in and out of the lyrics, spice in some word play, and be utterly silly all at once. I mean he says “I go tremendo for new fettuccine.” since that doesn’t have a definition I have to just assume he is a giant pasta fan which, mad respect, pasta is great. However most of that comes out of the numerous listens I do for this series. The only words that stood out was that he ended every line with “bitch, woo.” He is able to change that up and be more clever than I thought, but just the idea that after saying how hard he is only to say “woo” like he’s on the drop of a rollercoaster is just the most ridiculous thing.

After a couple listens and consulting (say it with me) Genius I was able to parse what his side of the song is about. Future focuses on coming up from the streets to be rich, and get high… I think. That is the best I could manage to understand thematically even after having the lyrics. There does not feel like there is any cohesion between his lines. They are all about either doing gang stuff, getting women, or drugs. This is the most emblematic in the final lines of his first verse. He goes from talking about having a chandelier on his neck, to having a lot of pink toes which means women for some reason. Is this like the slatt thing from last week? These terms make zero sense. He ends by saying that he’s getting drugs like Percocet into him.

Future’s chorus does help build his second verse. He talks about spending a lot of money on his women. In the chorus he mentions how a hundred thousand dollars was the cheapest ring he got her, and in the verse talks about ordering fancy Fiji water, and having a carat worth of bling on a pinky finger. The second verse does break down as he goes into calling hits for some reason, then back to girls. He also has the outro which is more of the same first line from his chorus about hundred thousand dollar rings on his girl.

The video is really solid and gives a whole new layer to the song. The video shows Drake and Future working in standard jobs like waste management, tech store, fast food, and IT maintenance. The song stops (three times… one is at the end so that’s more excusable. Another is for comedy and doesn’t help the song) and change perspectives to say that Future was working to get money for studio time and make a music video for the song which we see at the end, and is the video on Spotify. As much as I dislike it stopping the song’s flow but serves the narrative. It makes the song aspirational, like this was what they were working on while they were at their regular jobs. It works and helps smooth out the messy and non-connected lines into what they want over what they have. It’s not the best way to listen to the song, but it works as a piece by itself.

Even as incoherent and oddly structured as the song is I do feel that the door analogy works well to describe listening to it. You start in one room with its own vibe and feel, but go to a different room with its own feel and style, yet they both feel like they’re part of the same house. They are trying to do a paralleling thing with the two styles and how they are definitely talking about the same idea through different ways. Drake focuses more on how others see him, and what he is working for. Future focuses on what his modern life is like in comparison to the life he came from. I think maybe intermixing the two rappers so one starts then the other goes would help accentuate that idea more. As is the first half is really solid and second half that’s jumbled.

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