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Since dropping singles “Tony Montana” in 2011 and “Turn on the Lights” in 2012, Future has been on the front lines of hip hop and trap. On Friday, Feb. 17th, the American rapper released his fifth studio album, “FUTURE.” He then put out another record, “HNDRXX,” on Feb. 24, just a week later.
Produced by Future’s partner in crime, DJ Esco, “HNDRXX” shies away from the bass heavy, trap house bangers that they’ve done in the past. This album is more radio-friendly, with smooth beats and auto-tune laced R&B melodies.
To add to the radio-play potential of this record, Future enlisted the help of pop/R&B heavy hitters Rihanna and The Weeknd for a couple of features. “Comin Out Strong,” a duet with Future and The Weeknd stood out to me right away on my first listen. The beat produced by High Klassified and Detail, combined with some butter smooth vocals, makes for a perfect soundtrack during a late night drive through the city.
Rihanna does her thing on “Selfish.” Honestly, I don’t like the track, but I know a lot of people do. To me, it doesn’t sound like a Future song, more like Rihanna made a song and decided to let Future use it for his album.
Hip hop fans know there are two sides to Future’s rap persona. On one hand, he’s getting money, using drugs and not taking anyone’s nonsense type of gangster. This Future writes music from the trap house, for the trap house.
I personally prefer when he makes those types of tracks because I like to let the bass shake my speakers. On the other hand, we’ve got a more real, down to earth and emotional Future. Even ‘bosses’ have personal problems, and this rapper’s not afraid to pour them into his music. Future shows us his real side with “HNDRXX”.
In the fallout of his turbulent relationship with R&B artist, Ciara, Future has had to deal with everything from twitter drama to court cases. With his newest album, the rapper sheds some light on what he’s been going through.
Carl Lamarre, in his article for Hot New Hip Hop says, “Behind his syrupy murmurings, we find a damaged, devastated man who’s been trampled by love.”
After going through years of struggle and heartbreak (losing Ciara to Russell Wilson, child custody and alimony issues), Future was able to gain a bit of closure with this new record. Lamarre goes on to say, “For Future, ‘HNDRXX’ wasn’t just for the fans, it was for him.”
Emotional appeals aside, I give this record three out of five stars. The production and general sound are great, but in my opinion, 17 songs is a bit much. After the sixth track, it begins to get repetitive. There are a handful of songs I wasn’t interested in playing again. I believe there will be a few tracks that get air-time for a few weeks, but I don’t see this album standing the test of time.
“Comin Out Strong,” “Fresh Air,” “Damage” and “Keep Quiet” are my favorites from this record. I can see “Selfish” with Rihanna being popular, but like I said before, it’s just not the same Future that hip hop and trap-heads know and love.
However, those hardcore trap fans out there don’t need to worry. With his album “FUTURE” released just a week before “HNDRXX,” the rapper was all business. Last week really was a one-two punch from Future that has social media buzzing.
It’s actually refreshing to see an artist like this be versatile in their creativity. So many rappers come out and become one trick ponies, taking what works and running with it. Future sets himself apart from those other guys and shows us he can be entertaining, but also very real.
Check out “HNDRXX” and “FUTURE” to get your hip hop and your R&B fix today.
Ben Godfrey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org