Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Future - Future Review

The Trap scene is an ugly beast. In one respect, the overall dominance it has over not just Hip-Hop but music as a whole is impressive. However, that's not to say there isn't grotesque features sprouting up all over its malformed body. What started out digestible and rather straightforward, with a single palate for those to either enjoy or neglect, Trap has overflowed with a breadth of sub-genres, varying in style and approach, that haven't yet had their name coined. Thus, the deformed beast is created and artists like Denzel Curry, Lil Yachty, and Future all fly under the same flag, despite their sound not being remotely comparable. While one abides by the conscious crowd, the other the kids, it's the latter who embodies the genre's generalities more than any other artist right now. Originating acts like Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame still appear from time to time, but Future has commandeered the genre for the Pop crowd, making him one of Trap's most popular artists. We didn't have to linger long in 2017 to hear from Future again, this time continuing his round-the-clock reign with his first self-titled project. The 17-track affair, as has been the case for a while now, includes a handful of bangers, a collection of duds, and no formal evolution to speak of.

Out of the four projects I've entertained from Future, last year's EVOL was my favorite. I'd argue it's for no other reason than brevity, if What A Time To Be Alive wasn't also 11 tracks long. With such a narrow scope for how Trap should sound, lengthy projects from the Dungeon Family affiliate tend to reduce their worth with each passing piece of filler. Never one for album structuring and progression, Future's a definitive case of singles-artist, releasing albums and mixtapes only as a means to avoid confusion amongst the hundreds of tracks he has encompassing his discography. If you had told me 2017's Future was the same style we'd all become familiar with and was 17 tracks long, I'd have told you it was bad without even listening. Expectedly so, that's the case here. There's just too much wasted time given to a man whose never proven he deserves all of it. The topical content, from drugs to drinking to girls to fashion, all undeniably run of the mill for Trap. Apart from the album's closer, 'Feds Did A Sweep,' no track can be excluded from those four labels. For Future fans, complacency is key to being able to enjoy a narrow span of ideas over a myriad of tracks.

While both EVOL and WATTBA sprinkled hits through their relatively short duration, Future consciously front-loads, dropping all of the best tracks out first in an attempt at grabbing listeners attention. It works. After 'POA,' I had fallen victim to Future's mind games, almost convincing myself that this was thee Future project to elevate Trap to critically-endearing levels. Truth be told, there isn't a bad track in the first seven. Problem is, there's ten more to go, and by the time 'High Demand' rolls around Future's effectively out of ideas, both sonically and lyrically. As a seven-track EP or mixtape this would've been exquisite. Trap's primary form of engagement is the unison between flow and beat, and with Future's constant work with 808 Mafia this comes into play here. 'Good Dope' and 'Zoom,' both produced by Southside, find Future's syrupy vocals screech over scattered hi-hats and ambient synths. The same applies to 'Super Trapper' as well, which is fairly generic by Trap standards but works thanks to Future's snarling drawl in the hook. And as far as deviating the relative norm is concerned, Metro Boomin's work on 'Mask Off' helps to diversify the previous six tracks.

There's one track left in that group of seven that's my clear favorite; 'Draco.' Like any of my other favorite Future tracks, 'Draco' works because beat, flow, and hook are all intwined flawlessly. It's reminiscent of 'Jumpman,' 'Xaany Family,' or 'Where Ya At' in that all three assets smoothly ride together. Surprisingly, it's one of only two beats created by DJ Spinz here, but the friendship between him and Future is seen on full blast. The hook of 'Draco' is endlessly addictive. However, while a handful of tracks superseding it will admirably try, the plethora found in the second half don't stand a chance. Giving Future high praise over half the tracks wouldn't be fair, and the litany of redundancies found thereinafter repeatedly poke holes in Future's once-sleek fabric. 'Scrape' is watered-down and empty, existing seemingly to use the skrt skrt ad-lib to exhaustion. Actually, that's not the only filler to pour impact out the window with extensive use of a repeated vocal quip, 'I'm So Groovy,' 'Poppin' Tags,' and 'Flip' all abide as well. Really, the only worthwhile track after the dip in memorability is 'Might As Well,' which is a cutesy Trap ballad that's quite earnest and charming, unlike 'When I Was Broke,' which is similar in approach.

Like any other Future project, the self-titled could scrape away the superfluities and concede to a single digit project that's actually worthwhile. As it stands, while his uncomplicated Trap rarely impresses, Future's biggest downfall is, like so many other Hip-Hop artists, quality control. 62 minutes is far too long to stay with a single artist pushing similar sounds. Mundane mediocrities should be left on the cutting room floor. The same idea applies to the numerous skits found throughout, which are lengthy and entirely unneeded. They're clearly inspired by Outkast's own skits on lauded albums like Aquemini and Stankonia, and for Future to carry on that nasty splotch on their legacy doesn't help his case either. Rarely do skits help a project, and never will they if they're impervious to the tracks playing before and after them. Numerous other setbacks occur throughout the duration of Future, but none more than conventionality, riding the wave of his own creation to the extent in which his fans will grow tired. There's no question, Future should've been a mixtape, given the length and impediment on moving forward. For those who relish substantial Trap that'll not soon leave your car's rotation, invite the first seven tracks into your playlist. There's hardly anything memorable after that.


  1. Completely agree with this review.

    Also, just as some constructive criticism, I like your writing style for the most part but honestly the first paragraph sounds like you got a bunch of words from a thesaurus to extend a metaphor for way too long. Just because you use big words that doesn't mean the impact of the words is any greater — I actually started losing your train of thought because it was so wordy!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the comment, and for enjoying my review! Yeah, won't lie, I tend to get in over my head with finding the right words to things. Definitely been accused of that before haha. I'll work on it, thanks!