If you give a mouse a cookie...

Well, we all know the tale, if one can call it that. If said mouse were a Future fan, he would have some serious health concerns from overeating. Hell, he might have gorged himself to death by now. Since ascending to forefront of rap through fresh ideas and sheer tenacity, Future Hendrix has kept up a dizzying pace of releases. Before a listener could fully digest – let alone tire of – his latest salvo, he'd be back with another one.

It was certainly a successful ploy: Future was the name on everyone's lips, how could he not be? The man has had a season-defining single every season for years now. Even when sharing a platform with Drake, it was Future's stage, and everyone knew it. It caught up with him. With nine major releases since April of 2014, over-saturation was going to be an inevitable, and fair, accusation.

Clearly, he took note. Following the release of last February's EVOL, he essentially halted the pace. Aside from the minor stumble that was the DJ Esco display Project ET, which was a Future mixtape in all but name, the man retreated from the endless grind. Of course, he stayed visible, whether on tour with Drake, essentially ignoring arguably the most blatant cloning in rap history, or popping off for a brief, fun one off EP-mixtape with Gucci Mane, the game didn't forget.

All that said, the effect was intriguing: the mouse had, indeed, been given an endless supply, and immediately the absence was felt. As Future 'finally' returns just a week over a year from EVOL, the wait has felt far longer.

If he is afraid in the least of over-saturation, FUTURE certainly doesn't show it. Clocking in at over an hour, with 17 tracks, and nary a feature, Super has not altered the formula in the least. If anything, he's hedged his bets. While this could also have something to do with the 'more is more' streaming $$ strategy that sunk Drake's Views, it feels more like a conscious laugh in the face of those who'd expected he'd learned something in the past year.

It's a bold move, but it doesn't necessarily pay off. While Future may once have felt like a niche artist when he came yelping into focus on ‘Tony Montana’, he began to hint at (see ‘Deeper Than the Ocean’) and rapidly grew into something far reaching: a bellowing, wounded beast that the world can tap into to belch out its worst vices and proudest moments all in the same breadth. A Future album done right is a night of ego-tripping to rival the best (worst?) of them, without the hangover.

There is less of that to be found here. Future has always been at his best switching between moments of glorified excess and painful self-awareness, the former moments making the latter sting all the more. In 2017, he seems less interested in self-evaluation, and more with retaining his rep as rap's depraved hit-master. Naturally, this leads to highlights aplenty, whether the delirious ‘Draco’, laid-back ‘Mask Off”, or the endless repetition of ‘Scrape’, it shouldn't work, but in a testament to his effortlessness, it blasts right off. Thankfully, it all comes to something weightier, as he opens up on the penultimate ‘When I Was Broke’. It's a nice moment – but we all know what that's going to be about from the title alone.

It's a far cry from the man who seethed and saw his addictions destroying him on ‘Codeine Crazy’. Which also isn't to say Future shouldn't be given room to evolve. When he dropped ‘Used to This’ late last year, it felt we were nearing an earned brighter phase in the artist's career, but there's little of that feeling to be found here, either. In a genre that's hard on longevity, and an era with an even shorter attention span, Future has refused to lose, time and again. He certainly doesn't end here. Yet, after a year of baited breathing, we seem to have arrived at an in-between. There's still plenty of fun to be had in the waiting room, but let's hope he has more in store for the next appointment.