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Future is always telling the truth and it's difficult to decipher who's more affected by it, him or his fans. That's precisely why he drops projects at a faster rate than most artists even release a standing single. With each body of work, fans are given the opportunity to sift through hazy and distorted trap gems to determine their preference and hand-select their attributed hit – an understanding and mutual respect between creator and supporter that has co-existed successfully within the seven Future projects released since October 2014.
It's counter-productive to simply critique a Future project like other systematic discographies, but more appropriate to analyse instead, the codeine cowboy in reference to himself – his consistent body of work and the narrative that propels it. Future Hendrix's artistic endeavors, like his personal accounts, are far from conventional. Instead of placing his focus on creating "a singular cohesive body of work that looks to elevate a sonic landscape" or "propel a manufactured artistic trope," or any other hackneyed reasoning an artist gives for taking multiple years to relinquish any new music (while, let's face it, many fail to do so any way,) Future asks "for what?" He would rather continue his story on his own terms, risking over-saturation, for the chance to deliver his already loyal hive with autobiographical accounts of his current positioning; an auditory glimpse into his famed dystopian reality and the demons that haunt it.
After Future's antagonistic Twitter blast earlier in January, when he aired his grievances with his ex-fiancé Ciara and their custody issues involving their son baby Future out publicly, fans were expecting something momentous from the brooding Atlanta artist, whose mastery lies in his affinity for honing his pain and crafting it into street anthems. We heard the syrupy requiems on Dirty Sprite 2 and know what Future's menacing drug-infused emotions are capable of. It didn't come however, with the delivery of Purple Reign, (a hasty mixtape that the Freebandz general has since stated as being a product of his superstitious nature, as Hendrix released Beast Mode a year prior, a tape that kick-started his most monumental year yet.)
But once the rose-singed cover-art by Polish photographer Szymon Świętochowski was revealed just a week before Valentine's Day, it became clear that Future's fourth studio album EVOL would be the exultant delivery fans were waiting for. Future's public breakup with the pop-diva acted as a catalyst for his return to his former pre-Honest trap roots on DS2, as he bluntly stated, "The best thing I ever did was fall out of love." But Future is putting an end to the narrative surrounding their relationship all-together with his latest work. Love spelt backwards – Future's heart and bond with Ciara are burned to a crisp. All that's left is ashes and the celebratory bass to blow it all away.
But accompanying the post-love chronicle, Future offers up a surprise twist. Yes, the 11-track album consist of bottomless-bass with keyboard loops and snare-heavy ratcheting hi-hat trap beats provided by consistent collaborators Metro Boomin and Southside. Yes, Future's codeine-mumblings and drug-fueled story-telling of luxury spending and sexual conquests are supported by contagious melodies and raw emotive delivery. His intensity is consistent and his affinity for recognizing his fans favor is respectable. He doesn’t change things up much sonically (apart from the post-grunge guitar riff of 'Fly Shit Only' and more multi-layered production from Moe Goonie on 'Lil Haiti Baby,') which is a welcomed critique. ("I'm tryna fuck the DA lady in her mouth though," is the new "I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip-flips.") But personally and professionally, more than conventionally, the album marks a progression for the artist, a trap-centric opus defining the renowned cliché, the best revenge is success.
In addition to the album, it was announced that Hendrix has signed a deal with Apple Music, on which the album was released during DJ Khaled's inaugural We The Best Radio show. Here, he stated that EVOL is also short for "evolving," proof that Future is moving on from past rhetoric that clung tight to his music and the pain that dwelled there. He's enjoying his fame again and the perks that come with it. He may still be a low life, but heartbreak won’t change him. And propelled by a bigger machine behind him now, Nayvadius Wilburn is moving on as the same old Future.
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