By Jon Fuchs, Music Director
Key Tracks: “POA”, “Good Dope”, “Poppin’ Tags”
The rise of Atlanta trap and artists like Migos, Young Thug, 21 Savage and Lil Yachty has changed the shape of hip-hop to come, but it would be difficult for any of these artists to have any sort of relevance without Future, the man who helped popularize what many call “mumble rap”. With several mixtapes and albums that have become early predictors of rap staples of the 2010s, such as DS2 and 56 Nights, Future has inspired a new generation of rappers through his classic bass-heavy sound and undeniably catchy hooks.
However, this isn’t to say Future hasn’t made some pretty lackluster albums. Projects like last year’s EVOL can only be described as underwhelming, with 12 sleepy instrumentals and a lack of chemistry between Future’s delivery and the beats themselves. Fortunately, Future’s latest project, a self-titled album of 17 tracks with a run-time of about an hour, is a memorable collection of nonstop bangers, with plenty of the typical production and style he’s so loved for.
What makes FUTURE so great is Future’s interaction with its production, which is handled by Metro Boomin, Southside, Zaytoven and DJ Khaled. Future’s energy on these beats is contagious, with his flow always sounding lively and fun. The opener, “Rent Money”, is a fast-paced banger featuring typical trap production and Future’s rebellious, drug-filled rhymes. It would typically be a forgettable, mediocre track, but Future’s enthusiasm works perfectly as an introduction to the rest of the album, transitioning into the intoxicatingly catchy “Good Dope”, a banger about doing drugs and shopping at Tiffany.
Like DS2, a lot of FUTURE takes a bit of a drag on the production. Future’s energy and flow are still there, but the instrumentals on tracks like “Draco”, “I’m So Groovy” and “Massage in My Room” lose their charm and become incredibly recycled. The most memorable beats on the record are “POA”, a beat so interesting and likable that you’ll never want it to end, and “Mask Off”, a slower track with a flute sample from Tommy Butler’s “Prison Song” that’s as smooth as butter.
What’s important to realize about FUTURE is that it’s an album entirely for Future fans; there’s no features, no chart-topping singles, none of that. This album doesn’t do anything new or original for the rapper. If you want something groundbreaking, go listen to Pluto or Honest or DS2. All FUTURE needed to do was entertain, and that’s exactly what it does.