There’s something rather abnormal about embarking upon a new Future album and not hearing his voice conquering radio waves. Usually, when it comes to Nayvadius, the build-up leading to a big release is filled with inescapable bangers, druggy ballads, or a combination of the two. The buzz around his self-titled, fourth studio album is simply based on an announcement―no single, one video, no big promotion―and all it took was a pre-order link to stir the hive into a frenzy. The demand is present, a desire to see what tricks Atlanta’s purple wizard will pull from his double cup. This is the first time since What A Time To Be Alive that listeners are going into a Future project with no idea of what to expect.
Trap music is Future’s forte, I don’t expect him to leap from the foundation that his music career was built on. Switching up at the height of his popularity would be bold, insane, and trying to fix something that isn’t necessarily broken. What Future will say and how he will deliver the gospel is what fans are most intrigued by. From flow patterns to Auto-Tune-drenched crooning, he has a distinguished voice, and with everything that is happening in his life, there’s plenty to be said.
His early January tweet about it being him and DJ Esco against the world created speculation that the Future album will not spare any foe or friend. The fact there isn’t a single feature on FUTURE only further fed the theory that bullets will be sprayed and that no one is safe.
The weather is warm for February—global warming is in full effect—nd the President of the United States causes the American people distress by the day. To write that it's been a stressful month would be an understatement. When all signs point to the fact that the world could implode at any second, the arrival of a new Future album seems to be the kind of distraction needed in these troubling times.
When the hip-hop needed an anthem to stand for, he brought us "March Madness." When it was said there was a drought, he arrived with DS2. He is the rap equivalent to the superhero Hancock―instead of saving the day with bourbon on his breath, this hero is the Actavis advocate. He isn’t the one that we asked for, he isn’t the one that we called, but he is the one that arrives right on time.
The album FUTURE will officially be available on Friday (February 17), but due to an early release, we decided to publish our review early. In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish.
Let FutureSZN commence.
1. "Rent Money"
Future starting his album with a song called “Rent Money” is proof he’s a man of the working class people. This is haunting. That sample in the background sounds like something from a horror film. JESUS THE DRUMS JUST DROPPED. NASTY. The bass is hitting so hard I can feel it in my chest. This is a Meek Mill level banger. Future is talking about knocking off rapper girlfriends and R&B babes. War music. Middle finger music. Fuck the world music. Future is off the drugs, he is way too alive. There’s no mumble in his words, no slurs, he is charged up like Drake after a kickball game. He is talking about drug deals, scammers and the trap. I CANT GET OVER THIS BEAT. “She fuck better when the rent due,” this is ridiculous. Savage Mode Future. This is like when Krillin died and Goku went Super Saiyan for the first time except Future is in full Savage Saiyan mode. Someone is banging on a door. Police sirens. Future has skits now? Future in the trap turning down deals. This is like if Kendrick went back to Compton and was running into houses with the homies after TPAB.
2. "Good Dope"
That was one hell of an intro. I’m excited about this album's production. WHEN THE BEAT DROPS. If you’re a fan of wrestling, this drop is like being power bombed by Andre The Giant. Turn the bass all the way up. The kind of beat that makes you hit the Lil Uzi shimmy. Love the flow in the first verse. Future is in the pocket. He has one of the most unique flows in trap. Such a heavy beat, so many dope references. Dope meaning drugs, not dope like dope. Okay. Js at the door, can’t help but think back on Marc Decoca and his single from like ‘07. I really love the production, it’s sparse, but full like a belly after leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet. “Fuck me just don’t kiss me,” he's a savage that Rihanna can respect. The content is rather repetitive, but this beat and his flow will make everything alright.
Future sounds so rejuvenated. Like he just awoke from a lean coma and used all the energy to make this album. Kinda weird the songs don’t feel commercial, no radio bangers but some of the hardest trap hitters. Future sounds like he switched from Xanax to speed. This is how Carlton from Fresh Prince would’ve rapped if he went to the booth after his prom night. Getting 808 Mafia vibes from this beat, but so far there’s been no production tags. If you’re a fan of Future this is exactly what you’re expecting. A cool Cash Money reference. I’m impressed by this energy. Future is rapping like a man possessed. I don’t think this “Zoom” will ever top Lil Boosie’s single of the same name but it's a close number two. Three songs in and Future is going in. Now, another skit. A laughing man. He sounds like a faux-Cedric The Entertainer. “A rapper starter kit” lmao. This is entertaining. Bring back rap skits. Gun sounds. I feel like this is Desiigner shade. NOOOOOOO. I’m in tears. Lil Draco and Lil Extendo. Future just threw the perfect petty shade at Soulja Boy and Desiigner. NO ONE IS SAFE.
I’m dead, this review is being sent from heaven. Petty, that was peak petty. Anyway. A bit slower, but this one is interesting. The flows, a lot of mixing it up. Another beat that will cause your shoulders to dance like P. Diddy in the mirror. Enjoying the punchlines. A 56 Nights reference. I’m convinced Future has to be sober, he sounds way too focused. Also we're four songs deep and I’m pretty sure each song has a reference to Future taking someone's girl and their inability to get her back. Future took my girl and she's his responsibility now. Beat dropped. Future rapping a capella, I don’t think I ever experienced that before. I really like this one.
5. "Super Trapper"
Super Trapper Future. I'm slightly disappointed by the drop. Wanted a bomb but got a swift kick to the ankle. I’m not immediately intrigued. So far I feel like FUTURE the album is cut from the same cloth as Beast Mode, 56 Nights and Monster. A mixtape Future with album-tier production. Stunt raps are hit or miss to me these days. This one is right in the middle. Bass is heavy. Future made this album for the woofers. I’m pretty sure this one will be heard from the Eastside to the Westside all summer. A Ms. Piggy molly line. Actually, this beat is really interesting. It gets strange at the end. Will revisit.
If you love trap beats, this is your album. NOW THAT WAS A DROP. The way gospel music will make you catch the holy ghost, I just caught the holy trap ghost. This is a headbanger! Is this Metro? It can’t be Metro? BUT BOYYYYYYYY. Can we get Gucci on this? I need to hear him skate. Don’t get me wrong, Future is pulling off an Olympic performance right now, but this screams Guwop. Need production credits. Future talking about getting drug money is like Kanye stream numbers from Tidal, you know it can’t be real but if it is…. The keys and hi-hats are like Zaytoven and Mike Will combining into a trap monster. This beat should've been held back in fifth grade, that’s how dumb it is.
7. "Mask Off"
Sample? I’m a huge fan of trap records with flutes. Trap needs more flutes and cowbells. This is slow. I don’t know why this feels like some Edo period samurai dual music. I just imagine Future drawing a katana before a draco to this. "Rick James, 33 chains" A bit slower than the previous records, a nice change of pace. This might be the early favorite after the intro. Smooth. One of those songs you just let sit on replay because it’s so easy on the ears. Could easily be on 56 NightsPt. 2. The breakdown at the end. Need to know what this sample is. Future didn't say anything too crazy this time, but he could've drooled on this beat and I would replay it. WHERE ARE THE PRODUCTION CREDITS???
8. "High Demand"
Wow, surprisingly there’s been no singing at all up until now. I'm surprised Future didn’t give us any Auto-Tune until now. Again, I’m convinced this is his most focused album. So far no filler. THIS IS A BANGER. These background vocals he’s delivering. “Future in high demand, Future in high demand” is going to be chanted on tour. If there’s any song with radio potential this is the one. Fam said he went to a Falcons game in a helicopter, now that's a stunt. “Diamonds doing the Chris Breezy.” Second verse is like watching a dolphin at SeaWorld. If you've never seen Flipper do a flip, you’ll never understand. Free Flipper. I like this a lot. I’ll be returning after the review.
9. "Outta Time"
Man, I haven’t enjoyed a Future project this much since DS2/56 Nights. Drake vibes on his flow at first but he switched it up. Another peculiar beat. I’m not drawn into this one. It isn’t bad, just not as compelling. Especially coming out of “High Demand.” “I can’t take no vacation, I can’t lose.” I feel you Fu, no days off. I do like the contrast of being in high demand but also running out of time.
The last track felt rather short. Really need to do a deep dive on the rise of using 'skrt skrt' as an ad lib. Another trap song about whipping up the work. Future said he getting it for the 18.5, wonder what Jeezy thinks about that. I just can’t imagine Future over the pot, but he is making a compelling argument right now. Is there any trap rapper of Future's acclaim out right now that sounds this convincing? T.I.'s trap raps sound forced, Jeezy's is more reminiscent than present day, and we all know Gucci can’t even look at a trap house without 12 magically appearing. Future has found that middle ground of making trap music even though we all believe there’s no way he’s living that life. A solid record.
11. "I'm So Groovy"
I hope Future goes full Jimi Hendrix. I also like how Future refers to himself as Pluto and his various other aliases. Slower, but the feeling is the kind of music you want to hear when you first walk into the club. Is he giving us Future hums!? Cudi is going to be pissed. This is so strangely fascinating. “I’m so groovy, I got power.” This does sound like if Cudi was born in the trenches of Atlanta and not Cleveland. If he was the man on Pluto and not the Moon. Future is floating like Elroy Jetson on this second verse. Levitate, levitate, levitate. People are going to like this record and won’t be able to explain exactly why. It's just strange enough. I know I said he sounded sober, but this is one that was definitely drug influenced. Will have to revisit under the necessary intoxication.
12. "Might As Well"
A quick transition. Auto-Tune on his vocals. Melodic flow. So strange. He went most of this album without pulling this out of his bag. Okay, this is heat. Talking about eviction and swimming with sharks. Personal Fu. “I was selling crack when Snoop dropped juice and gin.” Also said he had a million in the floor. How old is Future? I was like 7 in ‘98. I didn’t think he was much older. Also love how he said juice and gin, and not gin and juice. This is really good. “Child support getting heavy,” sheesh. Tell your truth Future, talk to the beat like it's Dr. Phil. I hate when beats are so lively as a rapper is pouring out their soul. I shouldn’t be tapping my foot to your sorrows.
13. "Poppin' Tags"
The first producer tag, 808 did this one and IT BANGS. How did Future just go from admitting that child support is hitting his pockets to full-on stunt raps!? Fake news raps all 2017. Now, this is NASTY. Someone take my wallet, this is the kind of song that will make you spend a paycheck on nonsense. This is tax refund music, just hit a lick music, just won the lottery music, just signed a terrible deal but the advance is nice music. These ad libs on the second verse are hilarious. Funnier than when Jay Z makes those terrible car sounds.
14. "Massage In My Room"
“I hate if you love her, I'mma fuck her,” do not leave anyone that you love around Future. I repeat, do not leave anyone you love around Future. Savage Mode Future is the 2017 DJ Paul. Another banging beat. Did Future just say he just pissed on $20K. That’s like when The Joker burned all that money but way more disgusting. This song is Future saying the most ridiculous things he can. Fake news trap rapping is about to be my new favorite genre.
Feeling like the album is a bit long-winded. The beats are still hard, but it's starting to feel repetitive. “Flip” and the previous track aren’t half as compelling as “Poppin' Tags” and “Might As Well.” The hook isn’t bad, the beat knocks, maybe I spoke too soon. Just feels like a throwaway on an album that’s been pretty on point. Another skit. I have to say they’ve been entertaining thus far. Haaaaaa. Why he do her like this? “The baller rapper kit” oh no. I quit. I quit. I quit. This is hilarious. They didn’t have to imitate the girls off Campbellton like that.
16. "When I Was Broke"
The keys! Already like this one. Melodic honesty. “She didn’t leave when I was broke.” The bass seems strangely overbearing. An ode to the woman who held him down. Future is the only rapper who can make a semi-romantic song and still heavily mention trapping. Makes me wonder what happens to rapper’s high school sweethearts. This is solid joint. I really like the emotional context and the lovely keys. This is going to be the anthem.
17. "Feds Did A Sweep"
Okay, let’s see if he closes strong. Enjoying the production. For all the homies he’s lost to the streets in context to jail. Reminds me of Pusha T. If the last song was for the woman who was there for when he was broke, this is for all the homies that won’t see him shine due to being behind bars. “It’s going to hurt my soul to reminisce.” This is good. Very good. The contrast of crossing over to the other side. Police raid skit. Gunshots. This just got dark. “I was born dodging penitentiary," raps that Drake could never say. “I was touchin' work in elementary.” Future been selling crack since the 5th grade, no Bobby.
When EVOL was released last year, I remember feeling underwhelmed. A similar feeling was felt when DJ Esco released his Future-intensive Project E.T. mixtape. Besides “Too Much Sauce,” nothing from the project stuck. Purple Reign had its shining moments, but ultimately fell short from the bar set by DS2. There was a Future overload with plenty of music, but he seemed to be falling into a dry spell.
What has always been intriguing about Future is his self-awareness. When people counted him out after Honest, he returned with the three mixtapes that started his internet domination. The release of this self-titled album is no different, in a moment of doubt, Future returned stronger and vigorous.
This isn’t an album for commercial appeal, but for fans who just want to hear slick talk and thunderous production, vehement boasts and gymnastics flows―the kind of trap album that only Future can make.
There’s an electricity at the beginning, an indication that this is an artist who has caught his second wind. It only begins to drag near the end, a track or two of too much fat, but even the more repetitious songs are delivered with a liveliness that make them hard to skip.
In terms of a complete body of work, this is one of Future’s best. It’s one that works as an album, and not just single tracks. Future is best when the doubters are loud, and the album has the energy of an artist with something to prove, something to claim. The production shines the brightest—when the credits finally come out the producers will be flooded with praise.
If you like Future, have been a fan of Future and felt like his last offerings were a bit stale, this is the album for you. More street than pop, more underground than mainstream, more trap music than being trapped trying to achieve mass appeal. I would say Future’s back, but he truly never left. This is just a reminder that he is trap music’s phoenix—the second you consider him dead, he only burns brighter.
By Yoh, aka Super Writer Yoh, aka @Yoh31.
Photo Credit: Epic Records