When Nas dropped off “Life Is Good” in 2012, it felt like reassurance. A reminder that, in spite of a few concerting personal narratives, his equilibrium was back on track. Fast forward to 2020, where Future and Drake have borrowed the expression for their first major single since What A Time To Be Alive. One might think a moment of humility was upon us; both men have witnessed their personal baggage going public, with Drake admitting to having been “caught slipping” in this very chorus. Yet the stakes have become too high, the fortune too vast. When Future and Drake connect, it’s opulence over everything. It’s part of what makes them such an enjoyable partnership; the hip-hop equivalent to Fraiser and Niles Crane.
For the most part, Drake’s contributions to “Life Is Good” dwell on his material gains, and how they serve to contextualize his cultural dominance. Within the opening lines, he’s already dropped an elite level flex about his acrobatic Patek — courtesy of Virgil Abloh, esteemed designer and writer of “Brick” on bricks. Shortly thereafter, he’s boasting about a “manor house in Rosewood,” establishing his reach as international. Essentially, he’s reminding his haters that they’re simply beneath him, a brazen cockiness no doubt emboldened by Future Hndrxx, the self-proclaimed “well-known nuisance.” He even makes reference to Kanye West hijacking June 2018 for his Surgical Summer, a move Drizzy deemed to be on some serpentine energy.
It’s interesting to note that while Drake remains adamant that “Life Is Good,” many of his chosen exhibits lead back to material wealth. For an artist who often speaks candidly about his insecurities and doubts on a personal level, some of his material with Future can feel a bit shallow in comparison. Even his section of the instrumental seems to lack any urgency, like a formidable mobster who may or may not have gained a wine gut. Still, what he loses in substance he makes up for in swagger; the duo have a formula and little reason to dete from it. Perhaps Drizzy is simply content to sit shotgun, as he did back on What A Time To Be Alive. In reality, “Life Is Good” remains Future’s show through and through.
Driving that point home further is a beat switch, a tactic that has become a staple in Future’s arsenal. Cementing Fewtch as a man of action, the spooky instrumental picks up the pace accordingly. While Drake opted for a success-is-the-best revenge approach, Future seems content to return to the trenches and handle his business accordingly. “I’m tryna avoid nonsense, get Osama sprayed in this bitch,” he raps. “They had the candlelight lightin’ it up, n***a anybody could get it.” Cementing himself as a “poor high class” individual, there’s a validity there that speaks to the appeal of Future’s image. Even at his bougiest, there’s an underlying sense of menace arisen from a hustler’s personal experience. And damn it, the formula works. Perhaps simply it’s a shared sense of expensive tastes that allow Future and Drake to find common ground — neither one seems inclined to challenge themselves during a collaboration. It’s not like they need to — when it comes to providing elite-level threatening luxury raps, Future and Drake are the logical conclusion.