From his early days as an XXL Freshman to his high-profile mixtapes, albums, and now documentaries, Future’s impact on the state of hip-hop and rap is undeniable. But at what point do we move on?
Future’s career seems to have stagnated in the past few years as it has ridden on the ridiculous success of “What a Time to Be Alive.” Since then, Future has been releasing projects that haven’t built on his early success. Every new single or album holds the promise of launching the Atlanta native further into the rap elite, but most seem to fall flat outside of ultra-bangers.
The juxtaposition between Future’s bangers and his sleepers is almost concerning. It’s almost like every song is made with the hope to go even more viral than the last, and while his list of chart-topping songs is ever-expanding, his body of work seems to become muddier by the year.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Future and his music. But the hype around each of his releases almost always leads to disappointment. Not every album is going to have a “Mask Off” or “Jumpman,” and it often feels like the leftovers are just scratching to get big.
On his newest album, “WIZRD,” Future just confirmed my doubts. “Jumpin on a Jet,” ‘Crushed Up,” and “F&N,” are three of the project’s biggest songs, yet do nothing to add to Future’s sound or lyrical dictionary. They bump in the whip and are great in a workout playlist, but really just leave me wondering what would happen if he even tried to get sonically creative.
“Baptiize,” almost made me change my mind. The track isn’t hook-dependent, and a complete left-turn for the final verse creates a spinning, distorted reality that leaves almost as fast as it came. I want to give most credit to producers Southside, Fuse, Rockamore, and The Loopholes, but Future takes the devilishly enticing beat-switch and pushes it into overdrive. If only he could create moments like this more often.
The only defense I’ve heard from Future fans at this point comes from how he’s been able to address mental health through his music. But if the message is supposed to be about his struggles with pills and drugs, why do all of his songs promote such activity? Having people chanting “Molly, Percocet,” doesn’t bring a ton of productive awareness to the opiate crisis.
Even continuing under the “Future” moniker has gotten ironic at this point. Maybe a name change and some fresh producers around him would spur some free thinking. It seems hopeless to wish for a Future tape that takes the next step, but there’s just something about his massive personality and auto-tune drenched vocals that make me feel that he’s on the verge of a revolutionary project.