After staying relatively silent for about one year – which is a pretty significant hiatus in terms of Future‘s release patterns – Future is back with a self-titled album than runs for over an hour and is devoid of features. Some would call this a recipe for disaster and they’d be right; it’s the longest release of his career, and the length isn’t necessarily justified by any captivating sonic space or a smorgasbord of big-name features.
Future Hendrix is making a bold move with this album, as he seems to be pretty far-removed from 2015 which many people (like me) would consider his peak year. After dropping his best mixtape (56 Nights) in March, he followed it up with his best studio album (DS2) in July, and then used his newfound superstardom to team up with Drake to drop What A Time To Be Alive in the fall. In 2016, not much could be said about Future who dropped EVOL and Purple Reign to little avail. Aside from his most commercially successful single “Low Life,” 2016 was a bit of a write-off for the rapper.
So whether Future wishes to re-spark the flame that saw the hip-hop genre fawn over him two years prior is the question at hand. He’s dropping two albums within consecutive weeks of each other: FUTURE and Hndrxx. The first, the self-titled FUTURE, offers the unfortunate recipe in which most non-2015 releases followed: a few bangers, a few fillers, and an overall stagnancy in the overall evolution of the rapper.
DS2, which I maintain as my favorite Future project, features Future at his most appealing, which is weirdly some sort of demented womanizer whose emotions are drowned out by a thick cup of codeine. The marriage between this persona and the downright spooky production made for undeniable highlights like “I Thought It Was A Drought,” “Slave Master,” and “Blood On The Money.” Since then, Future has been trying to keep this persona relevant in his work, but the results have been rather underwhelming. On here, on EVOL, and on Purple Reign, Future just doesn’t sound as awake as on his 2015 work. Whether the blame should fall in his hands, his production team, A&R’s or whoever else is up for debate — but it’s not hard to hear that the quality has dropped. Stagnancy undermines longevity, and much like his Canadian friend, it’s clear to see that no significant risks are being taken with his music.
The first few tracks certainly aren’t bad, but this isn’t surprising considering Future’s history of front-loading. “Rent Money”s creepy choir vocals play into the spooky atmosphere I previously mentioned; the synths on “Zoom” and “Draco” are enticing; the energy on “POA” is captivating; and the flute horn on “Mask Off” speaks for itself. Most of the filler comes through in the second half on songs like the downright annoying “Scrape,” the not-at-all groovy “I’m So Groovy.” The listless “Poppin’ Tags,” can be added to that list as well. It’s emblematic of Future’s career, really. The stuff sounds good at first, but it’s just song after song with no discernible difference that becomes so god damn weary.
No matter much I like my mother’s homemade pizza, I probably can’t eat it for seventeen days in a row. And no matter how much one would like Future, I doubt they could listen to the same song seventeen times in a row.That’s essentially what I get from this, and the fact Future remains immune to quality control doesn’t help. Seventeen songs over the course of an hour of Future by himself with uninspired melodies and frenetic hi-hats. That’s this project in a nutshell. Oh, and the music isn’t analogous to a great pizza either. It’s like eating Delissio for a month straight. Here’s to hoping his Friday release will be better.