When Future released his FUTURE album, I wrote in my review how the Atlanta rapper had disappointed. After an 8-month break, to come back and release that mediocre of a project had signaled to me that Future had lost his grandeur and was trending downwards.
Then, a day later, the rumors poured in that he would drop a second LP that Friday. I wasn’t too surprised (I mean, it is Future after all), though when the reports said that this new album was going to feature more rhythmic and radio-friendly songs I started salivating. After going in a street-heavy trap direction with FUTURE, the decision to switch it up couldn’t have been a better one on the surface. Once HNDRXX dropped, the move was validated, as Future shows off his hitmaking ability while also crafting one of the most lit love albums of all time.
Future has always been known for his lean raps. However, perhaps his best music trait is his ability to bring emotion into tracks filled with hard-hitting atmospheres. Sure there are some bangers on here, but the real power on this album comes from the vulnerability he brings into the songs. Tracks like “My Collection,” “New Illuminati,” and “Neva Missa Lost” highlight Future’s ability to take concepts already done (Stunting on ex’s, loyalty) and give them new life, either with his signature auto-tuned crooning or fresh lyrics.
Part of what makes Future so special is he so easily straddles the line between trap and pop. The latter takes center stage this time around, with the 33-year-old displaying his prowess at making accessible pop rap, particularly with catchy, radio-friendly choruses. “Incredible” and “Testify” are DJ Mustard-like in their bounciness while “Fresh Air” takes Future’s voice and makes it as airy as the title suggests. The two features on the album are heavy hitters, with Rihanna and The Weeknd lending their vocals on “Selfish” and “Comin Out Strong,” respectively. Both have strong hooks that are ready for radio, and don’t be surprised if one of them (or both) end up high on the charts.
While the rumors flew that Future would release another album, he dismissed it as just that; a rumor. A pretty good move, as another record would surely dwarf the excellence of this one. An album that highlights his many strengths perfectly, the future still looks bright for one of the breakthrough stars of the latter half of the decade.
8.1 – 10