The Meadows Stage
FUTURE is now. While the climate of brown America hovers around hellish, its red-dyed streets ache for authentic voices to relay frustration and provide aspiration. In 2015, not many music artists can service both better than the Freebandz/EPIC Records rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and Atlanta bi-product of the legendary Dungeon Family. In just a few years, the devilishly stylish multi-talent has crafted an impressive career off supplying full feasts for audio junkies.
Future is a hit maker. In fact, smash records preceded and firmed his identity. In 2011, he penned YC’s mammoth single “Racks” before dropping his own chart climber “Tony Montana,” ushering in his debut album Pluto (later repackaged as Pluto 3D). The rookie’s kickoff would earn a Gold certification by harvesting four more singles: “Magic” (remix), featuring T.I., the lexicon-imbuing “Same Damn Time,” and hypnotic that is “Turn On The Lights.” Fittingly nicknamed the “Astronaut Kid,” the 2012 XXL Freshman soared in 2013 via colossal collaborations as artist (“Real and True” with Miley Cyrus), scribe (Rihanna’s “Loveeeeee Song”), and stadium draw (Drake’s “Would You Like A Tour?). 2014 would host his sophomore album Honest, birthing the title track single and the street sweeper “Move That Dope,” featuring Pusha T and a post “Happy”-Pharell Williams.
What has kept Future more rock star than pop star is his benevolence. He keeps the hood fed year-round––often complimentary. Before signing to EPIC in 2011, he gifted several stellar mixtapes, most notably 1000, True Story, Dirty Sprite and the Gucci Mane collaboration Free Bricks. Immediately after signing his deal, he offered Streetz Calling and later the 21-track Astronaut Status, platinum-selling compilation F.B.G.: The Movie, and most recently Monster, Beastmode and 56 Nights. The latter three gave dirt roads and concrete corners the cardio-shot “Commas,” “Real Sisters” and “Trap Niggas,” raising the demand for Future’s third album to a fever pitch (his 3.5 million social media followers concur).
The Georgia jewel’s new album, DS2 (Dirty Sprite 2), a nod to his early mixtape and spiked soda of choice, is a deluxe offering to the “Future Hive” faithful. On none of his former compositions has he sounded so comfortable in his truth (“They tried to make a pop star/and they made a monster,” he spills on “I Serve The Bass”). On the opener, “I Thought It Was A Drought,” Future unapologetically touches on his favorites: codeine, currency, molly, marijuana and women whose sexuality is as nimble as their morality. These affinities apply the lining for a high-powered addition to the Super Future catalogue––one that’s branded by unique turn-up engineering.
At the helm of the Future Hendrix sound cloud are his entrusted executive producer Metro Boomin (“Honest”) and co-pilot Southside (“Commas”). Individually, the two are beasts on the boards. Together, they’re hungry lions chasing zebra. Future’s beloved recipe––pulsating bottom under a bevy of daunting keys––is perfectly whipped up on the threatening “Lil One.” An infectiously militant track armed with semi-automatic stutters and marching percussion is designed for the deliciously crude “Groupies.” Yet, it’s on “Rich $ex” where Future and Co. bring things to a boil. Over an epic sound bed, the former trapper makes a stunning motion picture, complete with melodic script and sweltering visuals of expensive jewelry over priceless curves.
While Mr. Hendrix’s music has become the soundtrack of modern hood opulence and cheer, DS2 climbs a level higher because its author gives his all, vulnerability included. “Rotation” reveals that, although the father of four may gross the same revenue as a young NFL quarterback, the rock star life has its drawbacks (ie. paranoia); “Know The Meaning” digs deepest, educating on the lineage of Future’s trill as well as the lessons that helped maturate his hustle and flow; to help reflect on those who disbelieved or increased the down winds on his ascendance, the futuristic one calls homie and sole DS2 guest Drake to ask, “Where Ya At”?
DS2 crystallizes the fact that its author is a prototype of 2015 superstardom. He makes hit records for nightclub and Mac Book speakers, nudges fashion forward with fedora and Balmain swag, feeds the market beast with free music and aligns his artistry with royalty only (ex. Drizzy). Looks like the current summer belongs to Future…and EPIC Records repeats.