Release Date: Feb 24, 2017
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Rap, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
Similar to his 2014/2015 championship-winning mixtape streak, Future is making a play for 2017's throne of ubiquity starting with his self-titled, featureless fifth studio album and now, ode-to-alter ego sixth outing in HNDRXX. Sidestepping the "play it safe route," Future makes good on a recent promise to make his most personal project yet.HNDRXX could also be considered a musical turning point for the man who once popularized the concept of "Gucci Flip Flops" and cheating. Whereas FUTURE was a high energy trap-a-thon geared toward the streets, HNDRXX is a somber look into where his life is at now.
Released just a week after his self-titled fifth effort, Future's HNDRXX provided an introspective and confessional complement to the more extroverted Future. Languid and self-aware, HNDRXX presents Future as a man lamenting past sins and missteps. Without ever mentioning her by name, ex-girlfriend Ciara looms over many of the songs, the former couple's legal troubles bleeding into Future's wounded lyrics.
Future has become the antihero for men who believe emotional torture is essential to masculinity. After a splashy, very public relationship with the singer Ciara, the two had a splashy, very public breakup that spilled from the courts and onto Twitter. In its wake, Future measured his pain into cups of codeine-spiked soda and poured it all over his music, most notably on 2015's Dirty Sprite 2 .
For a while, "Future Hendrix" seemed like the alter ego of Atlanta rapper/singer Future that held the most pop crossover potential. The android-like Future Hendrix entranced on "Turn out the Lights," a highlight of his 2012 major label debut Pluto, weaved a spell amidst Rihanna's "Loveeeeeee Song," and seemed like a sure bet until the sales disappointment of his 2014 follow-up, the underappreciated Honest. For the past two years, the rapper has suppressed this sensitive-thug persona in favor of the pill-popping trapper that dominates critically acclaimed albums and mixtapes like DS2 and Evol, save for welcome detours like 2015's lascivious "Rich Sex." But on Hndrxx, the ATLien crooner returns with a vengeance.
Popular sayings like “quality over quantity” and “less is more” are spewed ad nauseam, especially in creative fields, where the more rare or sophisticated a performance, composition or work of art is the better it’s received. However, there are always exceptions to any rule, with Future being an example of one that has been able to buck that way of thinking to much success and critical acclaim. The most prolific artist in mainstream hip-hop at the moment, Future has slowly separated himself from the pack of Atlanta trappers vying for attention, becoming one of the city’s most bankable solo artist and a certified superstar.
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.