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It’s here. After weeks of not-so-subtle teases on social media, Future and Drake’s new collaboration, “Life Is Good,” has arrived. At midnight on Thursday, the song hit streaming services, along with a meme-ready music video starring two of rap’s richest stars as working-class men at shitty jobs. Interestingly, unlike their What a Time to Be Alive collaborations, in which they were each billed as lead artists, “Life Is Good” is listed as a Future song featuring Drake. At this time, another joint project from these two in 2020 feels likely, but nothing is confirmed. So for now, let’s focus on “Life Is Good.” The Complex Music staff put together a list of our first impressions and biggest takeaways from the new single.
It’s quotable, by design
We’ve all heard the jokes about how every Drake lyric doubles as an Instagram caption. And he knows it. Drake is well aware of the fact that if he throws in a dumb little line like, “Haven’t done my taxes, I’m too turnt up,” people will make fun of it at first, but those are the lines people remember the most. They’re the lyrics everyone ends up yelling the loudest at shows. During his Rap Radar interview in December, Drake explained his philosophy: “When I met Wayne, I realized that the goal was to get bars off, but also have these catchy nuances that people can grasp onto.” This was his goal when he rapped, “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry,” and it also applies to the taxes line and other moments like: “Know you see my texts, baby, please say some.” —Eric Skelton
There will be memes
If you pause the “Life Is Good” video at any given frame, you’ll be able to make a meme out of it. In some ways, it feels like that’s the sole mission of this video, actually. Drake and Future know people are going to figure out ways to make jokes out of them regardless, so why not serve up five minutes of high definition source material and capitalize on the attention? An entire Director X video that shows two of rap’s biggest stars dressed up like garbage men and other working class occupations? That’s easy money. Drake has had success with this approach in the past with videos like “Hotline Bling” and he’s doubling down on the strategy here. —Eric Skelton
Drake acknowledges defeat in Pusha beef? Shades Kanye?
In his Rap Radar interview, Drake said he has no plans of communicating with Kanye West or Pusha-T after their notorious beefs, but that didn’t stop him from addressing his issues with them on wax. On the first half of “Life Is Good,” Drake appears to reference his past issues with Kanye West, rapping, “Niggas gotta move off my release day, huh.” The line is subtle, and doesn’t explicitly name-drop Kanye, but it’s likely a reference to the frenzy surrounding the rollout of Drake’s 2018 album, Scorpion. If you remember, Drake spoke candidly about this fiasco with Lebron James on HBO’s The Shop, insisting that Kanye deliberately sabotaged Drake’s release date in an attempt to help Pusha-T in his beef, by scheduling his G.O.O.D Music album releases around Scorpion’s initial June 2018 date. “I’m in Wyoming. I play him [Scorpion’s] ‘March 14.’ I tell him I’m having trouble with my son’s mother,” Drake said. “I wake up, and all these [G.O.O.D. Music release] dates are out. One by one by one. All of them around June 1.”
Another lyric from Drake’s verse might be a reference to his beef with Pusha-T. On the track, he spits, “Niggas caught me slippin’ once—ok, so what?” There is no correlation between this line and Drake’s past comments on their feud, but it could be a reference to moments in which Pusha-T had the upper hand in their feud and used information about Drake’s son in “The Story of Adidon.” In other words, a time when he was “caught slipping.” This is a subtle reference, though, that could also have other meanings. Drake’s frustrations still seem to be directed at Kanye more than Push. —Jessica McKinney
It’s two songs in one
While presented as a full song, “Life Is Good,” if cut in half, could function as a Drake song and a Future song. The track, which is produced by OZ (co-producer of Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode”), Ambezza, and D. Hill, is centered around a dramatic beat switch in the middle. Drake’s portion of the record is slow and haunting with a punchy delivery full of one-liners. Future’s section is sped up with a dizzying, rapid-fire delivery. The two-song-in-one formula allows each of them to take hook duty on a release that has two different choruses (Drake’s “Niggas swear they passed us, they doin’ too much; Future’s “I done flew out to Spain to be in my domain”), both of which have the potential to be Instagram captions and memes. Will the blueprint for “Life Is Good” be used as a conceptual structure throughout the forthcoming What a Time To Be Alive 2? We’ll find out soon, if that does in fact see the light of day. —Jessica McKinney
It’s relatable, to an extent
How do two of music’s most successful artists relate to the millions of working class fans who buy and stream their music? Well, they can’t, really. But dressing up like garbage men and writing lines about procrastinating taxes and being “some poor high-class n****s,” is about as close as they’ll get at this point. I mean, they named the song “Life Is Good,” which sounds like something you would find hanging on the wall at a fucking Pottery Barn. Of course, those moments are countered with boasts about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on rings and getting Off-White Patek watches from Virgin Abloh, so it’s not completely relatable to the everyman. Still, the strategy seems to be working to an extent. The top-voted comment on the song’s YouTube video so far? “I like how they showed love to the people with a 9-5 job with this song.” —Eric Skelton
What a duo
Drake and Future have been at it for almost a decade now. Since 2011, when the two linked up for “Tony Montana,” they’ve stayed loyal to one another, even as they became two of the genre’s biggest names. Zeroing in on their recipe for success of creating eloquent trap melodies, they’ve dropped everything from hard-hitters like “Grammys” and “Where Ya At” to light-hearted tunes like “DnF” and “Used To This.” Outside of Young Money, there might not be anyone Drake makes better music with than Future. Sure, he has hits with artists like Trey Songz, The Weeknd, Rick Ross, Rihanna, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and others, but his connection with Future over such a prolonged period of time is undeniable. At this point, it’s getting difficult to argue their status as one of rap’s best duos. Status wise and musically, the bar is high. —Kemet High
Whenever two of music’s biggest stars collaborate, expectations are sky-high, so this might disappoint some, but it does what it’s supposed to do. “Life Is Good” is a fun record with catchy moments and an entertaining music video. It’s not the back-and-forth between two titans that some wanted, but the two-tracks-in-one formula translates to an interesting song structure approach that offers a fresh take on past collaborations between the two. It’s unlikely that “Life Is Good” will be topping any Best of the 2020s lists ten years from now, but it’s a perfectly acceptable release from Future and Drake. If WATTBA2 is actually on the way, this is a nice warm-up. —Eric Skelton