Welcome to Knee-Jerk Reviews, where I listen to an album or song, or whatever else, and write my thoughts out to it as I listen. This format is inspired by the good folks over at DJ Booth, so please check them out (they’re dope).
Let’s get it right out of the way – I’m a Future fan. I even wrote something about him being to Trap what Beyonce is to Pop music. You can read that and disagree with me here. I’m not going into this unbiased, so don’t look for a huge dash of objectivity here. I’m also trying to type this out really quickly over lunch. If you’d like another view on this album done after one listen, check DJ Booth out. They’re certain to have one. Let’s dive in.
First cut on this new surprise LP (it’s 17 tracks long. Way longer than I prefer) is Rent Money. The beat is punching my eardrums with the force of a tropical storm. Future sounds a lot more energised on this than he has on previous stuff. He’s been sounding a lot more passionate recently anyhow. Remember Used To This? This is that grimy Trap. I like how it’s knocking. This is going to give people’s speakers a real workout. Super is off to a flying (if a little unsurprising) start. Future is driving home the point that he had sex with some rapper’s girl in the hook. Welp.
There’s an interlude at the end of the cut, banging at the door from the landlord. The track then cuts off. What’s next? I’m going to bang that one again.
I Missed This Stuff More Than I Thought!
Good Dope is taking me right back to older Future cuts. Slower pace, more deliberate, letting the 808 drums lead the way. The mumbles are clearer than ever though. Future shouting out the quality of his dope on this work in a thoroughly hook-heavy affair that’s over way too quickly. This track could have done with a feature from young 21 Savage. I mean, we know that these two cook up that heat when they link up, so why not? But then again there are no features on this project, so I suppose it was a conscious decision. Next up, is Zoom. I’m objectively enjoying this so far, which I honestly didn’t think I would after the latest Migos offering, Culture, served up a template of what Trap could really sound like with more sonic risk-taking.
Awwwwww this beat SLAPS. Did Metro Boomin produce this? This is hard! Super has switched his flow up to a more modern mumble style, one adopted by most trappers who don’t opt to copy the Migos’ flow. This is tight, and the energy from the opener is back. Future definitely sounds much less hazy. There’s a surge of clarity in his delivery that’s almost striking if you’ve listened to Dirty Sprite 2 recently (I listened to that, EVOL, Beast Mode and What A Time To Be Alive).
These tracks are pretty short, which is good. The bit at the end has a little interlude to give us an intro to the next track, from DJ Esco, screaming about Dracos. Is this a slight dig at Soulja Boy and his obsession with the baby AK and social media frontin’?
Draco is Future back to his more rhythmic modern stuff, with the beat sitting nicely alongside his ever-odd crooning. If you don’t follow good ol’ Drake on Instagram, he got an advance copy of this album, and he plugged this track, saying he spun it back “900 times”. I can understand why this would get the repeat. This exists for the strip club, and to punch the life out of trunk sound systems everywhere. Draco is the first viral dance video soundtrack on the album. No Bad and Boujee here, but it’s a huge track. Let’s see if it blows.
Every Trap Needs a Hero
Super Trapper slides in to tone it down after Draco, (I must admit I wanted to spin it back) and this has to be the most “old” sounding track thus far. Future did mention he wanted to go back to his roots and connect with the fans, while returning to the underground ethics that got him his buzz. In that case, he’s definitely achieving what he set out to. So far, I have to mention, no track has made me want to skip. These are by no means epic Trap turns, but nothing here has straight up made me go “what the hell is this?”
Super bring Super Trapper to a close. The beats on this album are key. WHOA what’s this next track??!
Aggressive doesn’t quite do the opening of POA justice. This thing straight up wedgied my ears after the grimy Super Trapper came to a close. Future is going in. He could actually sit on a track alongside the more lyrically-capable Migos at this rate. This actually sounds like he wrote lyrics for it. POA is the hardest track so far definitely. Aggression, bars (surprisingly) decently stacked up, the instrumental sufficiently intense. This is something I’d play in the club, definitely. Big cut! Good work on this, Fewch.
Gotta Chase A Cheque.
Super slows it down again, to make it a little didactic, on Mask Off. Side note: he’s back to calling himself Pluto a lot, isn’t he? Suppose that’s a nod to him returning to his underground roots. This is a track that would’ve settled in well on EVOL. Flex raps, slowly paced, with an instrumental that would do well as the background music of a hood kickback. I like the beat more than I do the song as a whole. This one is a little forgettable. I’d say this is the first sign of filler on the album. Not the best here, but well…
Demand Stays High
High Demand slides in even more mellow. The melody is on point though. Future is being rhythmic again and it really works with the beat. I like this, especially after the filler track before. This LP is whizzing by at pace. We’re already at the 7th track, but with 10 more to go, I’m still here a while yet. If he keeps the album this sonically diverse (I don’t care about what he’s saying, to be honest), I’ll be a happy man at the end of it. Future fans don’t really ask for much. Float over the Metro, Zay or 808 Mafia banger, give us a hook we can work with… We aren’t a demanding bunch.
We have segued into Outta Time which sounds like it belongs on Pluto 3D. I don’t really like this one. It’s the most sing-song-y one of all of the stuff I’ve heard so far. It’s short though, so that’s a relief. This track, more than any other, needed Drake. He would have rescued the instrumental. Hold on, just when he lost me, Grimy Future is back. Scrape pulled my thoughts away from Outta Time and slapped me with more low frequencies than a sound lab. Sheesh!
See, this is the thing about Future. No one else makes Trap like this. “Shkrape it out the pot when I cook it” repeated copious amounts in succession shouldn’t be as catchy as this. but it is, and even though the song is much slower than 100it Racks, the effect is the same. Grimy, addictive and hard as nails. This is a slapper. The “skrr skrr” ad-libs have never been more at home on a record. Banger.
For the first time, I’ve checked what track I’m on. I’m So Groovy sounds a lot like a Migos cut. Future actually copes with it, although a little awkwardly. His flow on this, with the incessant humming, actually lends it a lot of character. My biggest gripe with this album so far is the fact that Super decided against features even on tracks where they’re screaming for team effort. This track is the third one where I can literally hear Offset, Takeoff and Quavo trading bars, with a signature Quavo bridge to close it out. This really needed them. As is, it’s just okay. Probably won’t come back to this until the Henny’s in my system. This review’s gone on way too long, though! I’ll be back after I’ve listened to everything that’s left.
Six Songs Later…
This is a good project. By no means is it Future’s best. This isn’t no 56 Nights, DS2 affair. It’s not an evolution either. It’s not a regression. It’s an amalgamation of everything Super’s done up to this point, and it’s both a strength and a weakness of the project as a whole. After one listen, I can safely say the first half of the album is much stronger than the second. Feds Did A Sweep is a sombre closer that I quite enjoyed, but as with many of the tracks on this, it begs for variations brought by Future’s impeccable knack for collaboration. Will it continue the run? It definitely should. It’s a stellar project. Will it sell a million? I don’t care. Many of these songs are already on my “Fresh Finds” playlist on Spotify. Some of them are straight up boring however, and this is the thing – I have never listened to a Future project which doesn’t have those borefests. They’re much fewer here, so thankfully it seems like the man is finally honing in on what he excels at. I’m going to download this whole thing and rinse it, not because I’m a big Future fan, but because this is another stellar chapter in Book of Trap for 2017. Good one, Fewch.
Knee-Jerk Rating: 4 out of 5 Flame Emojis
Find Future’s latest album on Apple Music or iTunes. I haven’t come across it on Spotify. If you’re not a streamer, you’l probably have found it already by trappin’ out the bandwidth…
Share the love! Drop this link in your group DMs and timelines, and if you feel like my one listen was a joke, let me know why by hitting me up on Twitter.