Drake's bread-and-butter is making hit songs. But in that process, he also popularizes phrases that were otherwise soulless, launching their new meaning and association into cultural ubiquity and every third text you send. He's done it with terms like (the since-retired) "YOLO" -- shoutout to your parents for ruining that one -- and and "zero to one hundred...real quick."
This year, with two mixtapes plus a handful one-off OVO Sound Radio releases, he's had plenty of opportunities to continue the trend. And he's cashed in.
There's "woes," of course. And "the 6." And "Jumpman, jumpman, jumpman."
Maybe the most striking example of this from 2015, though, is the title of his collaborative Future mixtape, What A Time To Be Alive.
The abbreviated first half of that, in particular, is a catchy, easily employable phrase: Your class gets canceled? What a time...; the dude at the store accidentally doesn't charge you for your third slice of pizza? What a time...; your team gets the win? What a time...
It's even made its way onto ESPN's "SportsCenter."
But, as we see here, it turns out Drake has been saying "What a time" for a while now. Or, at least, he said it on camera once (err, three times) five years ago.
Yesterday, in writing a tribute to Aubrey's So Far Gone standout "November 18th," I did some digging about the origins of the song, which was named after the date that Drake met Lil Wayne. Because of that, I wanted to find out a little more about that day, which lead me to this interview with Katie Couric from 2010. And this highlight.
I don't want to read into this. It doesn't mean that Drake had secretly been planning his mixtape with Future for five years. What it does mean, though, is that we now have a reusable bite of Drake repeating "What a time" on a loop.
And if life isn't about finding gifs and short clips of celebrities that you can send to friends, then what are we even doing anymore?
What a time...