By Joshua Jackson
Although his music may not be for everyone, Atlanta-based rapper Future’s dedication should be admired. After the release of three well-received mixtapes, he returned to the retail market with the release of his third album DS2. After the surprisingly poppy sophomore effort in Honest, Future has worked relentlessly over the last year to return to the trap roots he was popularized for, and while the sequel to his mixtape Dirty Sprite may drag a bit, at least he’s back to the formula that works for him.
There’s a hint of irony in this album not being named Honest, as it is arguably Future’s most transparent project. He knows what he knows about the world and for him, that world is a little dark, unforgiving and irredeemable.
As is expected with a Future project, the beats and production are top of the line. Rising producers such as Metro Boomin and Zaytoven lay the groundwork for Future to build off of forming a stable building of synergy between artist and producer. Many of the tracks could serve as the theme song for a party or a night on the town, which is all a part of Future’s repertoire.
There are a copious amount of drug references on this project. There are more than 60 drug-related lyrics made on DS2, which isn’t bad in relation to the 18 songs on the album. But I don’t say this to slight Future or say that things sound repetitive. I say it because the cleverness in how he delivers these references is impressive.
What’s more impressive is that in his last four recent projects, Future has allowed one feature to appear onto DS2. Three mixtapes and not one collaboration up until this last effort shows how deep Future’s library of tracks goes. The one feature? None other than Toronto’s Drake on “Where Ya At.” Even then, Drake ends up sounding more like Future on the track, which says a lot about Future’s influence.
Unfortunately, DS2 does fall short of the bar set by his most recent mixtapes. There’s no one song that can serve as the song that makes people place Future in their top five on this album. If he wasn’t in a listener’s list of favorite artists before, this project won’t be the one to propel him to that level. While everything that should be there is there, the spark that came when he released “Same Damn Time” or “Move That Dope.”
But the man is smart. He speaks on his life post-Ciara and everything else that has happened in the last year of his life. It may be uncomfortable to some, but this trap rapper had a chip to get off of his shoulders with DS2.
Nothing on DS2 really has the five-year longevity one would truly search for in an artist’s project. When the songs come on, they’re nice, but no one is searching for these tracks.
Still, Future is comfortable in his own skin, and that can only lead to better releases after this one. We now know who Future is and how he views the world. We know of his control over trap rap and the Atlanta scene. He has his dedicated fans and a solid discography. What he does now with these facts moving forward will determine just how far into the future people plan on listening to Future.