By: Papa Minnow

It wasn’t always this good for the man known as Future Hndrxx. Despite having back-to-back number one albums in 2017, it appeared as though Future’s music had peaked, reaching an oversaturated state that many listeners had simply dismissed.

Beast Mode 2’s nine song surprise drop a week after Scorpion‘s debut, didn’t do much to move the needle. It had its hits in the form of 31 DAYS, RED LIGHT, and HATE THE REAL ME, but it couldn’t leave it’s mark on the culture like it’s predecessor Beast Mode did.

Four months later, Future was back in the mix with the help of Hip-Hop’s hottest new act Juice WRLD. The two combined to create WRLD on Drugs; a joint project that amassed hype strictly based off the potential of hearing a young rising star join forces with an established veteran.

Unfortunately that potential never flourished. Juice WRLD’s lack of substance, and the shortfall between the two artistic styles equated to songs that rarely found their stride. WRLD on Drugs devolved into Future’s most forgettable project.

Rumblings emerged. Was Future on the decline? And were other artists doing what he did better?

His answer emerged in the form of music: Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd, an album that culminates every element of Super Future Pluto Hndrxx. And with it, a reminder of just how talented he is.

The WIZRD marks the apex of Future’s growth as an artist, while at the same time serving as the closing chapter of Future’s rockstar lifestyle that fans have known. Through 20 songs, Future delivers a range of performances that illustrate the peak and versatility of his sound.

For good measure, the 35-year-old rapper introduces some new elements that elevate his artistry. Most notably on F&N and Baptiize, Future incorporates beat switches that give listeners another layer exhilaration on each play.

F&N’s beat switch gradually glissades into a new song as Future rides into the switch  with a new flow, and deeper vocals that bring about a darker tone on the second half.  Conversely, the switch on Baptiize resembles a DJ’s set in that; as the transition from a floaty beat takes place, Future’s vocals become wispy and are backed by the instrumental of Slave Master off Future’s 2015 album DS2.

That switch then transitions into a remixed version of I Got The Keys and ramps the song’s energy to 100. It’s well done and brings fans a great sense of nostalgia; making Baptiize one of the best songs off the album.

Other notable elements include outros found on Temptation where Future’s former hit Honest closes out the song, and an unreleased record that concludes Promise U That. Additionally on Overdose, Future compliments his flow with a chuckling ad-lib in a way we haven’t seen before, and on Krazy but True we find him using a plethora of different flows in unorthodox ways.

It’s a refreshing take on Future’s sound.

The Atlantan also displays some humour through his music with lyrics such as “I just took an AK to a dinner date,” and “I made more than Dwyane Wade baby!”

The one fault of this album does come about in it’s structure. At 20 songs long, a single play through is can be a bit overwhelming. However, Future limits the monotony with short but adequately timed songs.

Furthermore, with his versatility comes the need to display it in several different ways, which creates filler tracks that are just there for the sake of showing that range. The end of the album also tapers off a bit in quality in comparison to the start. Ain’t Coming Back would have served as a better final song than Tricks On Me. 

While the album does display some form of good sequencing, specifically Servin Killa Kam into Baptiize and Promise U That into Stick To The Models, there are times where songs transition too abruptly. Talk Shit Like A Preacher’s transition into Promise U That is not too kind.

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Features are limited to Travis Scott, Young Thug, and Gunna. They all hold their own on their respective tracks, however Gunna’s verse was forgettable, with only Travis and Thugger adding value. It’s still apparent that Future is at his best when appearing solo and that remains this case on this album as well.

Producers Wheezy, Southside, Richie Souf, ATL Jacob, 808 Mafia, TM88, and Tay-Keith are phenomenal and at their peak on The WIZRD. This is the crispest Future’s vocals and sound have ever been processed by the human ear.

In the past, the main critique of Future’s albums has been the repetition in sound throughout each song. However, what’s found here is a wide variety of beats that mostly differ from song to song, and lack the lull of repetition found in the past.

Production is boosted by little elements that just add a certain “je ne sais quoi” to songs. Take for example the clinking sound in the background of Rocket Ship; as the ominous synths crescendo behind “I’ve been poppin’ since my demo b**ch!”

It’s those details that take this album to another level.

While 2018 wasn’t a strong case for Future’s musical career, time and time again he’s proven why he’s the king of this trap wave. When it comes to a collective body of work, Future’s solo albums consistently deliver to his audience. The WIZRD is a perfect close out to an incredible run and all that remains is what Future’s future holds next.

15-out-of-20

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