Meaghan Garvey’s 2016 "Future’s Reign" profile is the first to ask the prolific East Atlanta anomaly about his many alter egos. “There's one that's remained a mystery: the Wizard, a character he's been referencing in ad-libs and spoken interludes for longer than any of the others,” she wrote, putting into perspective how long the character has existed throughout his lengthy catalog. “The Wizard is me,” Future responded before explaining how OG Double D, his late uncle, knighted the name simply because “he always say I got the answers for everything.”
In honor of OG Double D, the mysterious moniker becomes the latest alter ego turned album title, Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD. Even though he released an abundance of music last year, The WIZRD is Future’s first solo full-length since 2017’s HNDRXX, an album that was released a week after FUTURE. The back-to-back releases displayed Future’s transformative musical palette. Which begs the question, what is the sound that fits Future when he’s The WIZRD?
If Future chooses to base The WIZRD concept on what he told Garvey, The WIZRD as the man of answers, it’s possible that lyrically this could be one of his most transparent albums. He’s often heartfelt, turning pain into poetry. Yet, the potent brevity rarely expands his evocative images of life into large, towering portraits. How will that change on his seventh studio album? Only Future knows what’s in his crystal ball.
In usual 1-Listen album review 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. Future season has once again begun.
1. "Never Stop"
First 1 Listen of 2019. Loving the mood he’s setting. Slow, melodic building. Not the most aggressive drop, but the drums have a nice bite. “You get rich and have problems you never thought.” Future carries pain in his veins. “I’m living my second life it’s so amazing,” an interesting contrast to Nas' “Second Childhood” when you consider most live their second adulthood once their lifestyle changes. This is an album's worth of content in one song. The reminiscing mixed with present-tense imagery is a nice juxtaposition. “Bringing tears to my ears.” Things are getting wonderfully woozy. Singing. Loving the little touches to the production.
2. "Jumpin on a Jet"
Ah, he’s starting the song with a spirited, “Yeah, hoe”; it’s already a classic Atlanta banger. My arms shot up like I was on a roller coaster when the beat dropped. Southside doesn’t make trap beats, he makes audio military weaponry. Sounds like a warzone. Future’s voice and this beat takes me back to DS2. Loving the flow. “Order the 14 passengers,” yep, this is that talk. Someone call Project Pat for the remix. Did he sample his own voice in the background? Love it. He’s so lively. I believe no lean was done during this session. The fact he’s able to still give us this caliber of banger 1,000 songs after the release of Monster is impressive.
3. "Rocket Shit"
ATL Jacob tag. “I been popping since my demo, bitch.” Mad Nas never used that line. Another nice trap hitter. The flow switch! How he's riding this tempo. Shoulders shimmying. Future said the cops stop coming because they made the laws, a street politician. Future channels Rick Ross' kingpin attitude flawlessly. Pablo talk. Another really good one.
Four songs in, feeling good about this one. Future said he’s the richest in the city, that’s a boast. TAY KEITH TAG! Wow. The tag came and my chest caved in. WHOA WHOA WHOA. Tay Keith with the stylistic switch up. I love this production. Soulful. How he used this sample is great. The singing Future is making me feel very good about pressing play on this album. "Temptation" is a soft, wholesome banger. What a wonderful pump fake. Feels like I’m in the rain being cleansed of all my sins. An early favorite. What was that bar about a car full of bullets? Missed it, but I’ll be going back. Wow.
5. "Crushed Up"
One day we’ll have to discuss how Future’s album sequencing always increases the values of his singles. “Crushed Up” hits different within the context of the album. Love the beat. Big boasts all over the project thus far. Future brags like he has a vendetta against the entire world. Whoever treated him like he was average, I thank you. Future saying he got an M for a gig is how I felt the first and only time I got paid a dollar per word. The more money Future makes the stronger he gets. He transforms to the next level with each million dollar deposit.
808 Mafia tag + ATL Jacob. Yep, those drums are swinging harder than a drunk carousel. “I’m Frank Lucas and Mad Max.” Nah, he said, “I took an AK to a dinner date,” I can’t stop laughing. Who is Future dating? Someone who deserves more than chicken wings and fries I'm assuming. The question is, why does he need a chopper to eat steak and lobster? The paranoia. Future gets the best trap packs. The beat switch!! It went from Mad Max to Grand Theft Auto: Little Mexico. Future’s flow has an autocorrect feature. No matter the beat, it finds a way to fit. Interesting. Future’s hooks are less like choruses and more like mini breaks between verses.
7. “Call the Coroner”
Loving the claps. Ominous buildup. “I want to live like a drug lord,” yes, yes we all do. Yes, yes, yes. This song is an elevator and Future is climbing higher with each bar. His voice. Who made this beat!? It’s perfect for Future. Perfect. “Now I got power.” The way he says “Glorious” is how Thanos felt when he gathered all the Infinity Stones. Perfect, perfect.
8. "Talk Shit Like a Preacher"
I have to say, there’s so many layers to this album in the context of Future. It’s very familiar, but also so fresh. The short songs are compelling, they hold you, and then it’s over, but the next record is so grabbing you don’t have time to regret the last record ending. Okay, back to this record. He’s glowing with confidence. I guess Future is a preacher to some. Future Hive is essentially the Church of Nayvadius congregation.
9. "Promise U That"
Getting back in his melodic bag. Another Tay Keith tag with unexpected production. Man! This melody! This flow! How he stacked the vocals lifted me. Again, the way he’s able to autocorrect depending on the production is astounding. This isn’t the traditional single, but I would’ve loved if this was the album’s first offering. “Promise U That” would’ve been perfect for HNDRXX. Incredible. Wait, what is this at the end!?
10. "Stick to the Models"
Was that Future sampling himself? It was a short, quick switch but sounded like it needs to be its own song. The caliber of outlandish braggadocio is to be marveled at. “Reaching my goals, thanking my heavenly father” sprinkles of humbleness is always a nice touch. Future having a woman who steals other men’s women is hilariously maniacal. He is my favorite rap supervillain next to Pusha-T.
The slight beat changes at the end of these records continue to catch me by surprise. Interesting production buildup. Didn’t grab me instantly. Okay, it’s taking me higher than a space shuttle. “Too rich to be sober,” heard, sir. Heard. “You can be the wave, I’m the ocean” is a bar. The bars are hitting. This man Future just described how all his pockets have drugs. I know material objects shouldn’t be glorified, but Future sounds so proud about all he’s acquired. No one makes being rich sounds like such a burden and a thrill. Another random outro.
12. "Krazy but True"
“Penthouse got a living room with a garage in it,” hahaha. He said it’s crazy but true. Wait, this concept is brilliant. This gives him room to talk about his influence, his life, and pinpoint that despite how crazy it might sound, it’s all true. Dealing in truth. Brilliant, brilliant concept. This is a song Lil Wayne should’ve made during the Carter III era. The Wizard with a song of humblebrags. Definitely a keeper.
13. “Servin Killa Kam”
Perfect song title. Do Future and Cam’ron have a record? Need that, if they do, and need that if they don't. OH! My eyebrows were just shot sky-high. This beat is a monster. I love when a song title is attached to a worthy record. This is the single we should’ve gotten. There’s no way good decisions are made while this beat is playing. I’m 100% sure Future does certain things just to rap about them. Did he say he took a three-hour shower? I probably heard that wrong, but if he did, I have a new favorite weird flex. Hearing Future say he's, “In a 305 doing 105” reminds me of Jody Breeze’s “Dippin’.” Play that if you haven’t.
There's something about soft, cinematic keys that take Future to a different world. Future saying he saw Jada Pinkett Smith sitting on a blanket followed by "I grew up around murders" is an insane contrast. The two worlds he knows. Who is Future really? How does he maintain a sense of sanity while living in this kind of duality? I’ve always hated the song title and hook, but I’m glad to hear the “Slave Master” beat sampled. My head is spinning and my body is soaring. What a way of sampling his own music. This is what I imagine Professor X hears if he read Future’s mind. Big, big banger.
15. "Unicorn Purp" ft. Young Thug & Gunna
First features of the album. “Wizard of Oz” — Young Thug. What a random thing to say, haha. “I can’t address all the issues I’m dealing with.” Oh, Thug doing Future’s ad-libs is beautiful. I wanted more of this out of SUPER SLIMEY, a collaboration tape that’s still better than I initially thought. Side note: “Unicorn Purp” is up there with “Servin Killa Kam” as one of the most incredible song titles. Future made the girl tie his shoes, I’m crying. Thug has been flawlessly supporting this record from the background. I hope he got top dollar for every ad-lib. Thugger finally rapping. Gunna! This is a spirit bomb. This is like taking your kids to work and getting a raise.
16. "Goin Dummi"
I’m pretty sure this album didn’t need 20 songs, but it doesn’t feel like any song is out of place. Future knows how to make long albums feel like a thoughtful experience. Wheezy gave him a beat. Okay, this one isn’t holding me the way I wish it was. Maybe if placed earlier, I would be more satisfied. But when you’re the 16th record there has to be a certain weight.
17. "First Off" ft. Travis Scott
“I make more than Dwyane Wade, baby” is a boast. Yeah, this is what should’ve followed “Unicorn Purp.” Future sounds like he’s barely awake in the booth. The rasp in his voice tells you this was recorded after not sleeping for four or more days. “Ever get caught snitching they’ll cut off your tongue.” Sheesh. “I get NBA money and I ain’t been in the draft.” Too groovy. Scott has arrived. I like the rasp on his voice as well. He’s dancing. Good verse. He fits the song well. The features all came correct. Most rappers show up for Future.
Oh, this is drugs. Straight drugs. Richie Souf gave Future pure, uncut dope. We have returned to DS2 and I couldn’t be happier. Future sounds like the Phantom Menace more than any wizard. Exhilarating. Simply exhilarating. This song is going to raise the crime rate. “Fuck a dog collar, nigga I’m a bear,” fam, this is a new level of madness. Every line. Keeper, a keeper.
19. "Ain't Coming Back"
Another Richie record. Love the drums. “Couple real friends turn enemies,” one thing Future hates is betrayal. “Trying to give advice, you need to help yourself” sheesh. Love that the producers who appear on the album multiple times provided different sides. Future’s ear for beats has to be the best since Rick Ross.
20. "Tricks on Me"
“Tricks on Me” is already gold and I’m 38 seconds into the record. Every rap album this year needs an outro produced by Nineteen85. I felt that bar about Bankroll PJ, long live Bankroll Fresh. Future’s outros are always great. They’re better than the bonus scenes at the end of Marvel movies. The paranoia is pouring out of him. “I’m Future Hndrxx but I’m not a guitarist.” The butler came with the elevator, wow. It isn’t quite on the level of “Sorry,” but a damn good outro.
Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD: Final (First Listen) Thoughts
Future didn’t lie to Meaghan Garvey, The WIZRD is him, and he uses Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD to present a compilation of his identities. Similar to what Drake did with More Life, Future explores various sounds but only if they exist within the palette of styles already mastered by the transformative artist.
The WIZRD completes the trio started by FUTURE and HNDRXX. The third addition walks the thin line that kept the previous two releases separate. Combining their aesthetics creates a cohesive world of bombastic trap songs and honest, melodious musing. What allows The WIZRD to stand out is how Future surrounds himself with a new lineup of producers. A refreshed mixture of flows and life updates also help. Fashion brands release new clothes every season with contemporary designs, but the logo remains the same. Future is fashion.
Future understands the power of familiarity, yet the need to always present what’s fresh and new. With his seventh solo studio album, Future further displays an understanding of the realm his artistry occupies, and how he’s able to insert new methods without fumbling his mastery of trap-soaked melodic blues. It’s similar to how every Sunday, no matter what, preachers arrive with a new sermon. The Bible never changes, but that doesn't stop congregations from arriving every week to learn a new lesson.
Let the church of Nayvadius say amen.