Release Date: Feb 17, 2017
Record label: Epic
Future can be polarizing: You either love or hate him, without much middle ground. But, as evidenced by an impeccable string of releases, he's stumbled onto the winning formula for concocting bangers, like a hip-hop version of the professor from The Powerpuff Girls when he accidentally added Chemical X to his mixture. FUTURE, the surprise (and featureless) fifth studio album from Future Hendrix -- and slightly brighter follow-up to last year's EVOL -- has a little something for everyone peppered across its 17 songs.
Sometimes, a hard reset is needed. Earlier this year, Future wiped clean his Instagram because his fixation with social media was straining his focus. Known for being an indomitable workhorse in the studio, Future put a halt on his studio output during and following the highly successful Summer 16 Tour with Drake. (His 2016 credits do count his winning mixtape Project E.T.
Future is certainly a prolific artist, though it is getting a bit excessive. Since 2011, he has released at least two projects every year, often three or more. His work ethic, long a point of personal pride, paid big dividends across an excellent mixtape trilogy ( Monster , Beast Mode , and 56 Nights ) in the run up to his commercial peak with Dirty Sprite 2 and his cash-in collaboration with Drake, What a Time to Be Alive .
The first of two chart-topping albums released back to back in consecutive weeks, Future's eponymous LP is the extroverted party-starting sibling to HNDRXX's introverted contemplator. Here, production is the star, adding excitement and variety to Future's reliable, trap-star flow. 808 Mafia's Southside is at the top of the pack, with a hand in at least half of the album's tracks.
17 songs, all Future : this eponymous record, which comes at an interesting juncture in his career, is a bold attempt at this kind of panoramic exposition. Though, while this project displays signs of Future pulling in a new direction, the overall synthesis of styles and aesthetics is rarely more than a symbolic gesture. Future's musical progression has been a captivating one.
If you give a mouse a cookie... Well, we all know the tale, if one can call it that. If said mouse were a Future fan, he would have some serious health concerns from overeating. Hell, he might have gorged himself to death by now. Since ascending to forefront of rap through fresh ideas and sheer ….
Two years after his sepulchral watermark DS2, the dual sides of Future's artistic persona appear to be set in stone. There is the pill-popping trap king whose hypnotic and watery tones seem to reflect a darkness of the soul. Then there is the jumpy, ecstatic Atlanta kid who just wants to fuck up some commas, whether he's stunting on the sidelines of an Atlanta Falcons playoff rout, or dabbing alongside frequent collaborators DJ Esco and Metro Boomin on BET Jams.
I n an age of ADHD-level attention spans, prolific artists are a boon for diehard fans. Atlanta rapper Future used three mixtapes and one album in a 10-month span to reboot his career in brilliant fashion between 2014 and 2015, and hasn't staunched the flow since. The hallmarks of his ice-cold persona are all over this surprise release: the thousand-yard-stare voice that ratchets up tension by forging relentlessly through dramatic beats, as on Poppin' Tags and Rent Money; the hypnotic, burrowing details in beats such as Zoom's eerie rubble and Scrape's insistent "skrrt-skrrt" backing vocal.
When it comes to self-titled albums, rappers usually save it for their first major release — using it as an eponymous introduction to their sound and the overall starting point to build their brand. But Future is unlike his rap game counterparts for a multitude of reasons, one of those being that he decided to title his fifth studio album after his rap moniker. Future's sound, style and narrative has already been well absorbed by the masses, which begs the question: why do this now? The rapper answers that question tenaciously throughout the hour long trap-a-thon, which can be best summed up as a return to "mixtape Future.
One good thing to come from capitalism is rap music, and into the lineage of the art form's greatest moguls--Master P, Puff Daddy, Jay Z, the guy who started Rap Snacks--we may soon need to enter Future, a rapper's rapper who, though not a tycoon just yet, has learned to exploit the current economics of rap better than anyone routinely stepping into a booth. Last week he suddenly announced and then dropped a new album, named after himself; counting his collaboration with Drake, it's the fourth full-length he's officially released in the last 18 months, and that doesn't include mixtapes. Rap music long ago turned into a sport that rewards constant productivity, and few MCs in recent history have been as pointedly prolific as Future.
You can't read anything about Future these days without feeling a bit like you've tuned into a soap opera still going a few seasons past its prime. As the dominant media narrative would have it, the Future we've heard from in recent years has been little more than a ghost at his own feast--a codeine-addled wreck of unresolved pain and blunted depression lumbering around in the wake of his famously troubled 2014. If this is reductive, it's also basically true: even as he released an acclaimed trilogy of mixtapes and one great LP, he proved unable to achieve any distance from either the Ciara relationship narrative or the depressive addict persona it birthed, and biographical drama has continuously threatened to overshadow his music.
There was once a time where Atlanta rapper Future reigned supreme in hip hop. With a slew of mixtapes such as "Monster" and "56 Nights" and the number one album "DS2" all released in the same relatively short timeframe, Future was king of the rap castle. This success was not only shown in sales stats and concert attendance but, much more tellingly, it was documented by the obvious influence Future had on many of his younger fellow Atlanta emcees.