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Future is indestructible on ‘EVOL’

By Kunal Khunger

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(Courtesy of Official Future Facebook Page)

(Courtesy of Official Future Facebook Page)

I am absolutely convinced that Future is unstoppable.

When will this man stop releasing great musical projects in quick succession? Less than a month after his most recent mixtape “Purple Reign,” Future released his fourth studio album “EVOL” exclusively on Apple Music, as a result of him signing a deal with the up and coming streaming service. The biggest question has been whether after the slightly underwhelming “Purple Reign,” can Future effectively pick up where he left off in 2015 and dominate another year?

I am happy to say that the answer is a resounding yes.

Not only is this the most confident Future has ever been, but it also finds him breaking new ground with more unique sounds while also perfecting his formula of making trap-themed bangers.

Before I really delve into this album, it should be noted what a historic run we are witnessing in hip-hop right now. Ten years from now, we will be talking about this on the same level as Lil’ Wayne’s legendary run of mixtapes back in the mid-2000s. Until Future releases a project that is truly mediocre, his legendary status will only serve to increase over time. The fact that he was able to save his career after “Honest” flopped and is now becoming one of the most relevant rappers on the planet, is nothing short of extraordinary.

The closest project that you can compare to his album would be his “56 Nights” mixtape. Future, like many of his fellow rappers, seems to take no interest in chasing down popular trends and radio hits. Instead, he focuses on his demons and how his drug addiction (mainly to lean) defines the direction and narrative of his life. In one of the standout tracks “Lil Haiti Baby,” Future raps the haunting line, “Dumping down pills/I feel my head exploding.” One gets the impression that Future needs rehab more than he does new listeners when a majority of his lyrics deal with his overly excessive hedonistic lifestyle. The darkness of Future’s soul is more palatable than any of his previous releases; you can almost hear the pain and depression in his voice. Even when Future raps about his accomplishments, they seem like more statements of facts rather than feelings of victory and triumph.

There are really no standout tracks like “March Madness” or “Lay Up” found on “EVOL,” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of becoming more grandiose with every release like he is expected to, Future decides to look inward, further embracing the darkness of his life. “Low Life,” featuring The Weeknd (who is similarly destructive), revels in debauchery as popular culture’s most famous hedonists describe their daily lives on a pulsating Metro Boomin beat. “Lie To Me,” which is the best track on the album, plays out like an extended therapy session, with him airing out his feelings about fake friends and women who are not worth trusting. “Fly S**t Only,” the most inventive track on the album, finds Future crooning, “Why you looking at me shawty/Recognizing I’m the only, only, only one that’s ballin” over electric guitar riffs. Future goes out of his comfort zone and achieves fantastic results. On the inevitable Future projects, if he can harness this experimentation on a grander level, he could really delve into a whole new sound.

“EVOL,” as a whole, is not as game changing at “DS2” or “56 Nights.” It is a very solid offering by arguably the most prolific and consistent rapper in music today. Even so, Future should take some time off in between his releases and try to delve into different songs and try to keep things fresh. Many rappers today are trying to copy Future’s style, but as he’s shown with this release and all the others, it’s hard to top the master at his own game.

Kunal Khunger can be reached at [email protected]

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