“Future” Secured for Future
By John Kim
In the current paradigm of hip-hop music, Future is quite the anomaly. Today’s charts are dominated by the younger generation of aptly named “mumble rappers,” like Lil Baby and Kodak Black, as well as the “old-heads,” the older generation of rappers still releasing music, like Eminem and Jay-Z. Despite being part of the younger generation, Future exemplifies lyrical sophistication that trendy rappers often lack, while also being able to appeal to the commercial mass with his prevalent use of auto-tune. With the recent release of the mixtape “WRLD on Drugs,” in collaboration with Juice Wrld, Future’s release of “Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD” on Jan. 18 had listeners excited to hear what he was bringing to the table.
“Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD,” which is available on Spotify and other streaming services, is composed of 20 songs. The most notable tracks on the album include“Unicorn Purp,” featuring Young Thug and Gunna, and “First Off,” featuring Travis Scott. “Unicorn Purp” does not disappoint, with Future and Young Thug showing off their flows in a catchy song that is otherwise pretty shallow in its meanings. One thing that is noticeable in this song right away — and for that matter, the whole album — is how clear Future sounds. Future has always had a muddy, synthesized voice that worked in its own right, but the song’s use of auto-tone in conjunction with Future’s “clear” voice is definitely a joy for the ears. Like most Future songs, “Unicorn Purp” isn’t anything extraordinary from the first listen, with not much standing out aside from its catchy chorus. However, the magic of the “wizrd” is only cast on the second, third, and following listens. Only on the later listens can you appreciate the vocal exchanges between Future, Gunna, and Young Thug. The experience is akin to watching a well-choreographed rhythmic dance, exemplified by the masterful timing at which the three switch in and out of the song. The ad-libs on the song also enhance the casual flow, something that Migos is known for.
Having Travis Scott on your song is almost a guarantee for a hit song, and “First Off” is not an exception. Future opens the song by riding the flat beat with his trademark auto-tuned low-toned voice. The song builds up to Travis Scott on the chorus, whose audio-manipulated sound blends well with Future. The song is also highlighted by the auto-tuned ad-libs, making the listeners want to sing along. While often criticized for heavily auto-tuned and manufactured sounds of his songs, Future has always been a solid lyricist who can write catchy and well fitting verses in his songs, and he shows that off here. He sings, “Point 'em out, then turn around, that's how we let 'em in/ Paranoid, one conversation, then I switch the SIM.” The rhyming of “in” with “SIM” again demonstrates the casual lyrical genius of Future, who shows once again that just because his songs are catchy doesn’t mean that they have to be shallow.
My personal favorite of the album is probably “Call the Coroner.” Future alludes to how invincible and victorious he feels, saying to “call the coroner” for his dead adversaries. Future muses that he has to “call the coroner” for “girls gettin’ their toes tagged” since he “kill[ed] ‘em dead at Hermes.” Future could be implying that the girls are “drowning” in Hermes and other high-end fashion bags that he gifted them with that he has to call a coroner for them.
Overall, “Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD” will be a pleasant surprise for any Future fans. While not the most versatile album, Future shows off his strengths of riding the beat. Listening to this album is akin to eating McDonald's chicken nuggets: if you know what you are getting, it is as good as it gets and will surely provide a fun experience for just about anyone.