Future – DS2
So, what’s the point of all the praise that’s been heaped on Future, exactly?
Let’s be serious here for a moment. Atlanta’s Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn is about as meat and potatoes as you can get in hyped-up hip hop. He’s a man of simple pleasures. Like A$AP Rocky, he’s all about pussy, money, and weed, although with Future you replace the weed with lean, a southern cocktail made out of codeine-based cough syrup and soda. He’s also a man who’s gritty from the streets: he came up from poverty, cooking crack and slinging it on the corner to fund his original mixtapes (such as 2011’s Dirty Sprite, with which DS2 shares a name). So what, though? Most middle-tier and entry-level rappers rap about women, drugs, and platinum whips, and most of them claim to be from some form of grind or hustle. Pretty much any of them could have written a song like “Trap Niggas” or “Rich $ex”, or especially “Slave Master” (’cause he’s got a new whip, geddit?). His flow isn’t particularly interesting, especially when you take into account that he doesn’t change it up from song to song. He puts a light AutoTune on his voice, making it glitch underneath; it’s interesting at first, but “at first” was two albums ago. T-Pain actually called him out on not using AutoTune correctly (!) back in 2013, and very little has changed since then (except that a whole host of aspiring mixtape rappers are doing the same thing).
Young Metro’s production doesn’t add much value either. It’s straightforward trap music: tension in the kicks, clattering hats running under everything, simple samples, menacing atmosphere. It’s what damn near everyone is using for hip hop right now, meaning that, combined with Future’s straightforward lyrical content and flow, DS2 sounds like everyone’s mixtape, minus the DJ signatures. “Kno The Meaning” manages to drop the beat here and there for some moody piano passages, but that’s one track out of 90 some-odd minutes; the rest follow the same pattern of moody, no-frills flow over moody, no-frills beats. It was fun and novel four years ago, but literally every up-and-coming rapper has done it to death now.
For me, DS2 cements Future in my mind as a singles rapper. Any of these songs would make a decent individual track, but put together as a whole they become oppressive and honestly boring. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a dozen mixtapes this year that sound just like it, and Future’s seeming inability to come up with memorable hooks kills it quickly. He’s like Bad Company or Sham 69: after a couple of tracks, you’ve heard everything, so why bother?