By Alec Matuszak
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Two album releases by the same artist one week after another? Seems unlikely, right? Not so for rapper Future (born Nayvadius Wilburn). The 33 year-old Atlanta native released his self titled album “Future” digitally on Apple Music and other music platforms on Feb 17, 2017 and followed up with another full-length album titled “HNDRXX” just a week later. While the self-titled project featured more of the same from the trap-style rapper, “HNDRXX” strays a bit off the beat and path and is more R&B influenced than his last project (with some help of auto-tune and pitch correction, of course).
Future is known for his long stretches of consistent releases. He released three mixtapes (unofficial free albums) in 2015 and an album in 2016 with rap superstar Drake. After a lengthy tour with the Canadian rapper that spanned almost the entire United States, Future went back to work in the studio in preparation for another tour. In the music industry some may say “you’re only as good as your last hit record”. Luckily for Future, he has enough hit records to keep the royalty checks coming in for quite some time. With this type of work ethic, one begins to understand why Future (or “Super” as he sometimes calls himself) prefers to rap about the bundles of cash that he blows away on a seemingly everyday basis.
Aside from the typical subjects of drug use and a hardcore street upbringing, Future gives fans a sense of his vulnerable side on this album, speaking about his past relationship with R&B singer Ciara, and their child. The rapper’s cadence and flow on this album is something rap fans will appreciate. A lot of times with hip-hop, what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. Of course, lyrics are a part of any great song, but the delivery Future brings on this album is a mix of aggressive and heartfelt. Even on the songs with a more melancholy feel, Future still manages to make it fun and braggadocios. “Gucci on sight / Rollie on ice,” Future raps, referencing his expensive designer handbag and his flashy Rolex watch.
The overall production and instrumentation on this album is something to highlight. Gone are the usual producer tags that come in right before the beat drops. Unless one looks at the credits, there are no audible production tags to be heard on this album. This gives the album a more clean, polished feel. Just because the producer’s names aren’t embedded in the songs doesn’t mean they don’t shine themselves. The beats are as polished and spacious as I’ve ever heard on a Future project, and that’s saying something when considering the talent that he has at his disposal. The instrumentals have a more experimental and dark feel to them, but differentiate themselves from what many rap fans are used to hearing from Atlanta at the moment.
Senior broadcasting major Drew Abrahams is a Future fan. “The fact that the guy released two albums in [two] weeks is unheard of,” he said. “On [this album] he is trying to show that he can go double platinum with no features,” he said. “I think he will”. “He showed how much he can do with his voice,” Abrahams said. “All he has to do is grunt, and it’s music,” he said.