Release Date: Jul 17, 2015
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Rap, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
It just might be DS2’s cumulative power (the bonus tracks are mostly culled from the Monster trilogy), commodity status (a physical release, a pricetag), and relative lack of DJ tags that have scored it legitimacy. Or maybe, as Future says on “Kno The Meaning,” “My hard work finally catching up with perfect timing.” While I’ve been compulsively listening to DS2 in the month (already?) since its release, the critical and popular consensus was reached that it’s one of the summer’s best releases. This obsolete review, then, is for those who haven’t already felt the album drop, swirl, and diffuse into your listening life like the cover’s cloud of silky ink (a stock image filled with movement and depth).
The same week Future announced the release date for Dirty Sprite 2, his third official retail release, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft completed the first-ever flyby of Pluto. Its data has been revealing the dwarf planet as an icy, complicated world, still in geological flux, marked by a bright, heart-shaped feature in the center of much darker terrain. It’s not just an apt parallel for the rapper, who named his expectation-defying debut after the misunderstood planet: it’s the ultimate symbol for the latest and most relevant phase of Future’s career.
Bertrand Russell opens his monumental History of Western Philosophy by describing philosophy as the “No Man’s Land” between theology and science. This straddling of religious fervor and empirical fact should help the uninitiated understand the pull that Future currently has in hip-hop: he exists in the world of jokey “Migos is better than the Beatles” land as another street prophet, but with all the technical flair exhibited by a carefully constructed Cam’ron verse. Following three strong mixtapes that chronicled his descent into codeine addiction, a No Man’s Land is exactly where Future is on Dirty Sprite 2 He’s exactly where an astronaut should be.
Nobody has ever gotten laid by announcing that they were going to wear shoes while f—king. The mental image of someone nude, except for their sandals, is absurd. It barely registers as sexual; nude-plus-shoes is totally the domain of the British guy streaking across the pitch of a soccer stadium being chased by security, Keystone Cops-style. However, there is (at least) one man who f—ks while wearing shoes: “I just f—ked your bitch in some Gucci flip-flops” is literally the first thing Future says on “Thought It Was a Drought,” the opening song of his egregiously good new Dirty Sprite 2, one of those albums that, for a large swath of rap fans, seems destined to be hogtied to the summer of 2015.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Future is a hood anti-hero and Dirty Sprite 2 is his gritty full-length return to his origin. The 18-track deluxe version via Freebandz and Epic Records stands as the codeine cowboy's third studio album and one of the most anticipated rap projects in an already outstanding year in music. Expectations were great, hype was real and the #FutureHive fan-base was present leading up to the release.
Perhaps it was the threat of Young Thug beginning to rise, but whatever the reason, 2015 was the year when Future leapt forward artistically, captivating the mixtape circuit with three releases (56 Nights, Beast Mode, and Monster) that all pushed the envelope. His massive hit "Commas" -- which only appears on the "Deluxe" version of this album -- was more of an expected move coming from a party rapper who's always drenched in Auto-Tune, and often with purple drank in hand. With the release of the album DS2 -- Dirty Sprite 2, named after his hit mixtape -- he becomes a hip-hop version of Lee "Scratch" Perry, a strange and yet in command figure standing at the center of a slick, inventive swirl of music.
For Future's longtime fans Dirty Sprite 2 represents a vindication. An artist with the odds stacked against him earned a devoted fanbase and transcended, only to stumble in what was to be his crowning moment. Honest's tepid reception last year led to a general consensus Future had failed to live up to his grand promise; perhaps, in the tautological reasoning of hip-hop's shoptalkers, he just didn't have what it takes.
"The best thing I ever did was fall out of love," Future opines on "Kno the Meaning," a bonus track in the late stages of DS2. It's a hard claim to argue from the Atlanta emcee, whose recent hot streak on the mixtape circuit began only a few months after his highly publicized split from songstress Ciara. In the aftermath of his romantic relationship falling apart, the tales of addiction, depravity and self-destruction that Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights depicted only strengthened the relationship with his art.
Future’s debut album, Pluto, was a showcase of genre-bending potential. His sophomore effort, Honest, was an argument for that potential being overestimated. Instead of being Future’s coronation, it symbolized major labels’ plunder of creativity. “Move That Dope” is still a highlight, but many would rather forget the lasting image of Future creeping on the beach with Kanye West.
Review Summary: The purple haze gets thicker.If we are to take his verses as canon, Future Hendrix is a machine. He drinks, smokes, snorts and fucks through a haze of lean, utterly disregarding any of the repercussions that might occur as a result of his singular drive for success in its most hedonistic forms. Indeed, his modus operandi is the one thing that he makes fully clear in this foggy, glorious mess of an album.
Last year didn't go the way Future planned. The Atlanta croon-rapper's much-ballyhooed, underperforming Honest failed to make him the Trap King of Pop, and his relationship with R&B star Ciara fell apart. To regroup, Future went back to the strategy that drove his 2011 come-up: flooding the market with mixtapes, one of which, Monster, bore a surprise hit in the woofer-busting "Fuck Up Some Commas." Or as Future tells it on his third studio album, "Tried to make me a pop star and they made a monster." DS2 maintains some of the ragged edges and raw nerves of his mixtape work (its title makes it, technically, a sequel to a street-classic tape from four years ago).
Future :: DS2A1/Freebandz/Epic RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' Juon"Ten million dollars cash, f#%@ a friendStarted sippin syrup, I've been geeked ever sinceGotta keep that heat on the scene ever sinceYou know we talk that stick talk, that stick talkI'm 'bout to f#%@ this cash up on a new toyBout to f#%@ this cash up on a new toyYou can't understand us cause you're too softTaliban bands, run 'em straight through the machinery" - "Stick Talk" There is no denying Future's popularity at this point. "DS2" debuted #1 with a bullet on Billboard last month, the first of his albums to do so but not the first of them to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. He's also had several singles go gold and/or platinum, so clearly the way Nayvadius Wilburn sing-raps his verses has found a niche in the pop culture landscape.
From Monster to Beast Mode to 56 Nights and now on his third studio album DS2 (as in Dirty Sprite 2, the original being his 2010 mixtape Dirty Sprite), Future is riding a seemingly unstoppable and forever-cresting wave of great music. Imagine if Lil Wayne had released Tha Carter III—and it hadn’t been a mess—immediately after Da Drought 3 and you’d get an idea of the hot streak that Future is on. That mixtape hot streak came in the wake of Future’s releasing his second album, Honest, and his fiancee, the R&B singer Ciara, leaving him shortly after the birth of their son when she allegedly discovered that Future had been cheating on her.
By and large, the story behind Dirty Sprite 2—the new Future album—should be the unprecedented run he’s been on up to this point. It’s unheard of today for a bona fide street rapper like Future to do what he’s done in such little time. The (approximately) nine-plus months of dropping three quality mixtapes, generating grassroots hype via fervent fan support; nine-plus months of critical re-evaluation and further acclamation, major magazines putting the Dirty Sprite 2 blip on their radars; nine-plus months of “Fuck Up Some Commas” climbing on the charts; nine-plus months of pan-flash rap acts finally being picked off one-by-one.
Future’s music has always been crafted on, about and for drugs, from the ecstatic, emotional highs to the paranoid, anxious lows, but ever since last fall, he seems to only be hitting the latter. Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights are album-grade, single-minded projects with none of the joy of Pluto but all of the drug-drenched malice — and understandably so. There have been two threads in Future’s life in the wake of Honest — the mixed reactions to the album and his breakup with Ciara — and DS2 continues the path he’s been on for nearly a year.
There is a song towards the business end of Future’s third solo album, DS 2, called “The Percocet & Stripper Joint.” Rarely has any artist so effectively and outwardly summed up their own level of hedonism and self-destruction in a single song title. And right now—five years, nine mixtapes, three albums, two compilations and a reissue into a prolific and influential career so far—Future has little to hide. That’s the running theme of DS 2, framed within the context of a failed relationship with Ciara that went up in flames last August, a disappointing sophomore album in last April’s Honest and the ceding of his position as Atlanta’s most exciting MC to a combination of Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug and the field.
Hail the king of the Internet! Behold his throne of malted club bangers and legit emotional availability. He's the only storm trooper in Atlanta's camp willing to open up like, "I wanna tell the world about you just so they can get jealous/ If you see her before I do, tell her I wish that I met her." Dirty Sprite 2, Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn's third album, is his most epicurean work yet. At 13 tracks, democratic in a world of hour-plus mixtapes, the MC disses fake friends with Drake on "Where Ya At" and pisses out neon codeine in "Thought It Was a Drought." This is no longer a sunny world.
Beyond being a slurred, navel-gazing affair, Future’s DS2 (aka Dirty Sprite 2) represents a certain strain of contemporary hip-hop that revels in pointlessness. In lieu of artistry or any semblance of lyrical spark, DS2 offers monotonous production and relentless chanting that might appeal to someone too fucked up to skip to the next track. For all the talk of fucking and drugs and sipping Henny and syrup, there’s nothing celebratory about these songs.