Wildly successful Atlanta rapper and reigning president of trap music Future continues his prolific output, surprise dropping this 17-track self-titled effort. The project is technically his fifth studio album and first since last year’s EVOL, but counting the mixtapes that get just as much attention it is stunningly his ninth body of work since 2014. Understandably seeing absolutely no reason to change up what he has been doing, FUTURE is more Future for Future fans, and the quality is up there with his greatest work. While it is simply in the nature of the genre he dominates to be somewhat repetitive, and a trap album of this length certainly begins to sag in the middle, Future’s energetic and rejuvenated delivery as he focuses more on his bars than his mumble-infused melodies elevates this album to one of his most consistently hard-hitting collections.
The instrumentals across the board are absolutely incredible throughout, it only makes sense that the overlord of trap gets the best beats sent to him. Even if Future’s performances fall into certain patters from track to track, you can’t say that the distinctive features underlying the characteristic rolling hi-hats are. All of the beats succeed in conveying the mood of the track perfectly and all of the most prominent trap producers show up here and do what they do best. Southside is the most frequently called on here and is very consistent throughout, but some of the best work comes from trap savants Metro Boomin and Zaytoven. Up-and-comer The Beat Bully appears once on the explosive tone-setting opener, “Rent Money”, and if this is any indication this man is going to be huge. It speaks volumes to the compelling nature of Future as a character to deliver this album successfully without a single feature, and it isn’t even the first time he’s done this.
We know what the full project is going to be like as soon as the beat drops 20 seconds into the opening track, “Rent Money”. This is a trap beat on steroids and Future sounds like there is a gun to his head and he needs to convince everyone as well as he can that he really did steal all those girls. “Poppin Tags” is another example of attacking the mic like his life depends on it. “Mask Off” is another absolute highlight – I never anticipated a Future sing that would make me want to close my eyes and take in how beautiful it is. The song had me under its control from the beginning to the end on first listen, thanks to some brilliant work by Metro Boomin with the flute and choral samples. He is doing some inspired production right now, it seems like I’ve been praising him endlessly on every album he’s contributed to recently.
I enjoy Future a lot more when I can understand him, and there are a lot more tracks than usual on this project where he relegates himself to straightforward raps, his voice coming through more clearly as a result. Future has the kind of magical X Factor where he can quietly slink onto a track before the beat drops and immediately intrigue the listener as to where he is going with it. His voice is equal parts unique in sound and convincing in delivery. “Super Trapper” is a great example of this, opening with perhaps the most menacing chords on the project as Future drops in with the lower-key hook. His personality shines more than usual – even hilariously mocking imitator Desiigner’s ad-libs on the outro skit of “Zoom”.
For someone who puts out so many songs about relatively similar subject material, you’d have to think that the writing isn’t going to be top tier on all of them. The structure of songs like “Good Dope” leave too much empty space, and the words are too repetitive and can contain awkward rhyme schemes. You wouldn’t expect Future to be one to pay much attention to logistics, and seeing as this project was likely put together rather quickly it can result in some problems with mixing and mastering. The beats can drown out Future’s vocals at times and it’s already hard enough to hear what he has to say normally. Some songs definitely could have been cut as well, as it all begins to feel like the same song over and over – all of this being said, however, never underestimate how easy it is to be distracted from almost anything by a great trap beat. Any of these songs come on in the club and it’s over.
Future is an truly interesting presence in the music industry because he essentially delivers the same project time after time, at an incredibly prolific speed, and it still works out for him and propels him to higher and higher levels of success. As long as he continues to work with beats like this, he can ride out this formula as long as he wants.
Favourite Tracks: Mask Off, Rent Money, Poppin Tags, POA, Super Trapper
Least Favourite Track: Good Dope