Review Summary: Return of a Monster
The absurd musical output machine that is Future slowed down a bit in 2016. The 33-year old rapper only released an album, a mixtape and an EP (despite his numerous guest spots on it, Project ET
is credited as a DJ Esco release) last year, which is a pretty notable decrease from the pair of mixtapes and studio albums he dropped in 2015. After somehow going a full calendar year without releasing a full-length solo project, the reigning codeine king of Atlanta's workhorse-driven hip-hop scene has returned with a vengeance on Future
The year gap between solo projects seems to have conjured up a different set of emotions within Future. Everything he's released since his career took off with 2014's Monster
has been defined by self-loathing and emotional pain stemming from his substance abuse and inability to remain faithful in a relationship. On Future
, he decides to put his conscience on the backburner and just relish in the opulent lifestyle that his fame has allowed him to live. The shift in tone grants Future the freedom to cut loose for the first time since he ascended to stardom and it results in the creation of some of the most memorable music he's ever produced.
The pressure of not having to bear his soul on one of his records has done wonders for Future's delivery. The biggest pet peeve I've had with Future's music over the years is how phoned-in his rapping can sound at times (particularly on Purple Reign
and Beast Mode
). The abrasive, unrestrained nature of this record just about completely eliminates those issues. On tracks like "Rent Money", "Draco", "POA", "Outta Time" and "Poppin' Tags", Future showcases an energetic delivery that's far more fluid and technically-impressive than a vast majority of the stuff he's done than in the past. Given how comfortable he sounds crafting ignorant hip-hop tracks, it's hard to believe that he went the sedated, emotionally-removed route for as long as he did. The lack of substance compared to what was found on DS2
will undoubtedly alienate some of his fans, but I found listening to a record that was more focused on boasting about his success to be a refreshing change of pace for an artist that is usually defined by suffocating gloominess.
As confident and playful as Future sounds on this record, the production is the primary reason Future
never hits any notable slumps over its 63-minute runtime. Would-be filler tracks like "Super Trapper", "Scrape" and "Flip" are salvaged by their frantic, electric production from Future's most trusted collaborators (Metro Boomin, Southside, DJ Spinz) that you can't help but groove to despite the middling nature of the bars. The quality of the production is essential for trap to work and Future's ear for sharp, inventive beats is as good as you'll find in the genre.
seems like its only the start of a new chapter for Mr. Hendrix. The broken man that has dominated his releases over the past couple of years has been replaced by an arrogant one that gratuitously flaunts his success in everyone's faces, and that revamped attitude helps makes this record one of the most consistently enjoyable releases he's put forth to-date. It might not have the sneaky depth and minimalist sound that helped thrust Future into the forefront of the modern hip-hop scene, but it's a change in direction that I can fully get behind and hope to hear more of on his upcoming projects.