Review Summary: Emptiness.
As lambasted and ridiculed as Will Robinson's assessments of DS2
were, there's truth to his insistence that there's something deeper to Future than his trapping surface insinuates. The broader narrative of Future- one where a man out of love becomes a transgressive outsider- means that there is an impressively sad undercurrent to his otherwise conventional bangers. Take EVOL
, an album whose title exists as an on-the-nose metaphor for a pitiful love life. It's symptomatic of what becomes of a guy who cheats on his fiancé and abandons their child; that is, deeply troubled, saddening, and mired in constant crisis. But that's just what festers underneath the music; refuse to dig deeper (as I imagine will be the case for many) and EVOL
is a functional continuation of Future's impressive 18-month stronghold on trap culture.
If it sounds safe to assume then that EVOL
is more of the same for Future, you'd be correct. As per usual, his flow rarely rises from a careless mumble, muttering about vices as if they could be had on any given day (or at least that's what the subtlety of "In Her Mouth" implies). Yet still, as one can expect from a man who made the asinine "Fu
ck Up Some Commas" his motto, EVOL
revels in its smuttiness. Most of the time, as in "Lil Haiti Baby", he's shameless about his habits ('Dumpin’ back these pills / I feel my head explodin’
') and incredulous to the point of vileness ('You want an R&B chick / shawty it ain’t nothin’ to get her
', and, 'Oh, you want my life, that's la famil, that's all I know
'). It's most pained over moment, "Low-Life", is a sinister reminder of how scum coalesces, a back and forth between The Weeknd and Future about who has more bragging rights for being a shi
tty individual. More than that, it's a collaboration that appears integral to the structure of the record: compared to Drake, whose pitch-perfect mockery of Future's flow on DS2
's only guest verse grounded the ridiculously vapid lyricism, The Weeknd offers an articulated rebuttal to the vile boasting rampant across EVOL
. Not that any of that boasting amounts to much; Future's worldview is one of constant dissatisfaction, a fact he remains both painfully aware and willfully ignorant about. Despite the possibility for broader analysis, EVOL
is successful because, first and foremost, it makes good on its talk of cheap thrills and casual vulgarity. Considering how downtrodden and serious DS2
could become, and how disappointingly mild What a Time to Be Alive
and Purple Reign
were, Future hews closer to the attitude of his mixtapes to great effect. The resulting duality- a consistently brilliant rap album coupled with a problematic narrator- constructs EVOL
as a genuine attempt to take this whole trap fad seriously.
In much the same way that DS2
reached its conclusion with a deeply flawed ballad in "Blood on the Money", EVOL
wraps up with "Fly Shi
t Only", an attempt to consolidate Future's efforts into a 'real' album. It's admirable; even if it isn't a good song (it isn't), it confirms his ambitions to humanize and define music that is inherently without much meaning. On the surface, EVOL
is adept at the sort of trap bangers that made the last 18-months of Future hype an omnipresent movement for assholes everywhere. Taken as a serious case for trap's legitimacy, it's a sullen comment on the emptiness brought about by a lifestyle defined by decadence. It's not pleasant, but it's enough to make being an ignorant dick sound quite compelling.