Release Date: Feb 6, 2016
Record label: Epic
If Future doesn’t drop another mixtape this side of March, it’s going to cause more outcry than if he pulls another surprise project out of his hat. After releasing Purple Reign a mere fortnight before announcing EVOL, the Atlanta rapper has opened up his work up to a similar line of critique as Young Thug, Lil B, and even Alex Gray, where conversations about the music at hand are framed in terms of the artist’s prolificacy. Releasing a steady slew of material across a couple of years isn’t hard when it doesn’t hold water, but when those releases stand out as some of the most remarkable music available for download (EVOL was premiered on the first episode of DJ Khaled’s new Beats 1 Radio show on Apple), it’s an impossible subject to avoid.
Given his current output rate, it seems apropos that Future begins EVOL with a song titled “Ain’t No Time.” Releasing new music at a manic pace since October 2014, Nayvadius Cash has shown no interest in taking a break but instead upping the ante like a person aware of their own cultural (and actual) mortality and making the most of it. The result has been six good-to-great different collections of songs that are about pain as much as anything else. With his seventh offering in 15 months, Future seems to be slinking even further into his most inward, gut-wrenching impulses.
P.O.S. :: Chill, dummyDoomtree RecordsAuthor: Patrick TaylorI've been a fan of Stefon "P.O.S." Alexander since his debut nearly 10 years ago. On "Audition" and 2009's "Never Better," he proved himself to be one of the few artists who could successfully meld punk rock and hip-hop. Fellow Minnesotans ….
Over the course of the last 16 months, Future has become the most dominant voice in rap, releasing six projects in a wave, attempting to revamp his once-mangled image — Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights, Dirty Sprite 2, What a Time To Be Alive (with Drake), and most recently Purple Reign. It all went as planned, but he seemed to be suffering through his success, languishing in memories he’d have been better off abandoning for the sake of his art. The Atlanta rapper has always been a prolific emoter, converting a wide array of intense feelings into Auto-Tune-frosted squawks.
There's a hilarious Photoshopped image of Future posed with all of the Lakers' Larry O'Brien trophies, and it underlines a point: Greatness is often measured by how consistently it is delivered, and until he releases something genuinely bad, every album, EP, mixtape, or loose track Nayvadius Cash releases is just another morsel in his current all-timer run. When this run ends, we can look back and sort out what was transcendent, what only seemed good, and what kinda sucked. EVOL, his surprise album, arrives less than a month after his surprise mixtape Purple Reign, and while it has slightly more misses than hits, the highs are high—arguably higher than Purple Reign's—and ultimately, the lows don't matter.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Future is always telling the truth and it's difficult to decipher who's more affected by it, him or his fans. That's precisely why he drops projects at a faster rate than most artists even release a standing single. With each body of work, fans are given the opportunity to sift through hazy and distorted trap gems to determine their preference and hand-select their attributed hit – an understanding and mutual respect between creator and supporter that has co-existed successfully within the seven Future projects released since October 2014.
Future is contemporary hip-hop’s most prolific artist, with a work rate that keeps a lot of attention on him, but also means that an album release isn’t always the event it could be. On Evol, it’s business as usual for Nayvadius Cash: beats from his coterie of Atlanta-based trap producers, and lyrics littered with drug-trade slang and sexual boasts. The problem is that the material held back for this album doesn’t always match up to the stuff given away on his many mixtapes: is Evol’s opener Ain’t No Time really better than Beast Mode’s Oooooh? Why does trap-life lament Seven Rings get the nod over the more interesting 56 Nights joint No Compadre? The odder, more experimental moments from those mixtapes aren’t replicated here, resulting in an album that is brazenly one-pace and trap-bass heavy.
Future recently dropped EVOL, his fourth studio album out of left field before fans even had a chance to fully digest his Purple Reign mixtape, which was released in mid-January. The surprise release was premiered on DJ Khaled’s We The Best Radio show, which is the first spoil from Future’s new deal with Apple Music. Critics of the Freebandz leader are quick to point out his penchant for releasing albums faster than he can pop a Xannie.
“Mark my words, I’ma ball without you,” Future promised on the song that completely shifted the direction of his career, Monster’s “Throw Away”. Though this line, like much of his post-Honest output was directed at ex Ciara, there’s an argument to be made for its meta qualities. As is now canonical knowledge, Future has released seven projects in a 16-month period, EVOLincluded, and on them are a total of five distinct guests, all of whom can be linked to one another via only a few degrees of separation (for those interested by the current research examining just how many degrees of separation is the maximum between any two people, the highest number for this group of features, excluding Future, is an astounding two).
Future is on a hot streak like few artists in the history of hip-hop can claim. Not only is he releasing consistently brilliant projects, he’s doing them at a ridiculously fast pace. Since October 2014, he has released four solo mixtapes, two studio albums and a collaborative tape with Drake. There isn’t a hotter rapper alive right now.
As a body of work, there isn’t much difference between Future’s latest studio album EVOL and Purple Reign, the mixtape he released just two weeks prior. It’s a testament to Future having perhaps the highest floor of any rapper that even though EVOL doesn’t do or say anything new it’s still a sneering and delightfully depraved ride. EVOL gives us a respite from introspective Future, who was more present on both Purple Reign and Dirty Sprite 2.
ON THE SURFACE, it would appear that EVOL has all of the necessary ingredients for Future to cook up another compelling album. First there's the cryptic title: it's love spelled backwards, you have to pronounce it as you do the word evil, and it's there to enhance the drama even before you hear any music. Then there's its stark, monochromatic cover art—featuring a bed of roses covered in ash and embers—which is both moody and certainly complimentary to the album's palatable sonics.