Past, Present, or Future?

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DJ Akademiks tweeted out a video today with a caption that led to my heart sinking into my chest.

“Fewcha cooking up some new hits….Y’all still on EVOL or ready for another album? “

Two observations as I read this tweet. 1. Why spell Future like that? Come on, Akademiks. 2. MORE Future?

The dimly-lit studio video accompanying the tweet features a hand adorned with enough diamonds to buy a 2016 Nissan Altima vibing out to what sounds like a new track from Future.

Let’s be honest, does he even need an introduction at this point? Future Hendrix. The King. The Messiah. He’s been ripping tracks up since 2010 but really securing his place in mainstream hip-hop in 2012 with his debut album Pluto, a captivating album that acts as both a coming out party and experimental project to find what works best in terms of creating his sound.

And he found it.

The warbling Future’s famous for is what’s been prominent in his catalogue since then. 2014 gave us Honest, with what I think has my favorite Future track to date; its title track, Honest. After this album is when his second wind kicked in. October of that year he dropped the first of his terrific mixtape trifecta: Monster. Soon after, Beast Mode and 56 Nights came. 56 Nights bringing with it the smash hit March Madness. And boy what a song it was. Actually still is. My SECOND favorite behind Honest.

In a short period of time, he’d given us four projects of fire that to this day I still listen to. Everything from Savages, Lay Up, Where I’m From, to title track Monster still get regular rotation play during my daily commute. Repeated play if that. This five month stretch began the Purple Reign of King Future. He rained down a mighty lean induced fury, washing over every other prominent rap figure in 2015. He was on top of his game. There wasn’t a place in the world you could go and NOT hear Future. Or at least his influence at that. Something about the hard-hitting beats combined with the autotune’d muddle he’d given us was clicking on all of the right levels. Everybody wanted him on a song. The Future Hive went crazy with hilarious memes. What a time for Twitter.

Over time the Future Train made it clear it wouldn’t slow down. It even sped up the pace. DS2 came in July of 2015 and Then What a Time to Be Alive in September. Both projects were solid additions to this new Future’s catalogue. His goal was clear, keeping the dust out of your speakers. Pull up to a stoplight and nine times out of ten you’d hear “Blow a Bag” in the distance rattling the trunk of someone’s car. So much Future! And he kept it going. Pushing. His hard work was admirable. Giving us first Purple Reign in January followed by EVOL in February something strange began to happen.

Even though the Train still hurtled at full speed, somehow people were getting off. They were getting fatigue from being on so long. Myself currently, I’m teetering on the edge, but I find myself thinking of other things that I can be doing instead of being on the Train.

The announcement of new music yesterday in the works lends to that point. And I pose the question here. Is there such a thing as too much Future? He’s an amazing artist, but he hasn’t shown the ability to craft strikingly different songs throughout an entire body of work, let alone multiple ones. Don’t get me wrong, his music is amazing when taken at face value. Reading it beyond that is where the problems start to begin. Most of his vocabulary is recycled to the point where I’m surprised there’s not a Future song generator online to come up with something similar to what he says. His beats are his saving grace. The perfect marriage of trap and musicality. Metro handles most of it and excels at it. The piano touches on songs such as previously mentioned “Where I’m From” hit home in ways that add to its replay value. And this replay value is what separates Future’s trendy music from others. Lil B’s music popular in the “Based” times we went through in 2010 stayed in 2010. It bled over just enough for him to receive entrance into XXL Magazine’s Freshman Class of 2011 but it never reached true mainstream status. Lil B was the running joke of hip hop. His music was the punchline of the aux cord, what you’d play to elicit laughs from friends and people outside a like. A reminder of the faux serious nature of hip hop at the time.

Future’s music sounds good. It will be played in 2015. 2020. But which out of his catalogue will it be? There’s so much Future to digest. After DS2 would have been a great place to take a breather. Maybe stretch out his releases. But he didn’t. He feeds his fans and that’s to be respected. But at the same time, one must know when to let the child digest what to eat to see if they’re full. They’ll always be hungry later.

I say this. When your mother makes Spaghetti on Monday its damn good. Tuesday its still great. It’s tolerable Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But Saturday and Sunday? Then next Monday again? You want something different right? Now what if she made it Monday and didn’t make it again until next Monday? You’ve savored the taste and have it in the back of your mind. That way next time you see it, you’re excited and anxious to taste it. I couldn’t help but wince at the thought of new Future. At this point, is he still the Future? Or is he becoming past? With his carbon copy Desiigner out looking to slowly hop into this spot, does that mean Future will fight harder than ever?

My advice to Mr. Nayvadius Wilburn; take a step back, enjoy your throne. You’re safe where you are. You’re dangerously close to over saturation and the best thing to do would be to let your work speak for its self. Give us a chance to breathe and listen again. I know people who still listen to March Madness faithfully. I’m one of those people. Take the Jay Z approach. Give us enough to have us salivating for your next project. Have us anticipating your guest features and appearances. With so much music out, we can’t properly digest any given project. I’m still not fully invested in Purple Reign or EVOL. Maybe Future’s beginning to realize his mortality in rap’s prime spot. The Purple Reign could be headed to a fiery end. To preserve it, I think it best to slow down before people tire out and move onto the next new thing.

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