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Future's 'Future': First Thoughts

Ralph Bristout

 // Feb 21, 2017

It feels like centuries ago since Photoshopped images of Future posted up with Larry O'Brien trophies flooded the internet. Credited to the obsessive online community known as #FutureHive, these memes not only illustrated his woofer-busting, all-timer run, but also underlined the point that consistency wins the championships. Beyond releasing street-classic tape after street-classic tape, the last three years in the world of Fewtch have best been described by a line he delivered on 2015's "Kno the Meaning": "My hard work catching up with perfect timing." And perfect timing its been: Three No. 1 albums, a string of platinum certifications, and the record for highest-grossing hip-hop tour ever.

Beast Mode: A look back at Future's subtle '16 win streak

However, somewhere last year, despite shaking the pavement with new music (EVOL, Free Bricks 2) and achievements, the Atlanta trap-and-crooner experienced some chink in his armor. Mixtapes like Project E.T. generated hit songs out of "Too Much Sauce" and "Who," but overall failed to stick like previous projects. EVOL, his third chart-topping LP, was overshadowed by the blunt-force flair of his 2015 opus DS2. Although there were plenty of material to oversaturate the market, the concoction behind them was not as potent. For once, Future's consistency had appeared to show signs of complacency. It also said something when the influencees of his robo- growls went on to earn higher marks and recognition (see: Desiigner). But here we are in 2017, a year that opened up the following mission statement:

So what's one to do when a bulk of the guests that you were preparing a feast for (Another 2017 tweet), start stepping away? On "Mask Off," a standout moment on his self-titled and soon to be fourth consecutive No. 1 album, Future answers that and makes his mission clear: "F—k it, mask off."

Pair his "nobody safe" tweet with the chorus to "Mask Off" and you have FUTURE, an album that finds Future at his most defiant, playing to his core strengths while spraying seedy rage, stick talk, and nuggets of corner boy grit over gutting production. The follow-up to 2016's EVOL refigures the strategy that ignited his legendary Monster run, as he maneuvers in a moment of doubt.

Stripped of any attempts at commercial appeal (Think "F—k Up Some Commas," "Low Life," or "Wicked"), this is sonically straight killer, no filler. Super Trapper mode. The tone is set on the opener "Rent Money," where over apocalyptic production, Future basically writes his own list of savage commandments. "Ya baby mama f—k me better when the rent's due," he rap-croons on the hook. "I f—ked a rapper b*tch, I was on a drug deal," he continues in another verse and later noting, "I make the blogs with ya bi—h cause I'm ruthless." This devil-may-care M.O. carries on throughout the album's 17 track set as the man who, at least to the public's perception, appeared to show signs of a dry spell, now returns vigorous, energized and back on his mission.

Back to the Future.

As his "feed the streets" campaign continues with word of another new album this week, and the #FutureHive reunion producing new viral magic, let's take a look at the standout FUTURE moments through gifs and memes.

The Future Effect | via @asmarbrody

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