[A1 Recordings/Freebandz/Epic Records]
After Future announced earlier this month that he had signed a deal with Apple Music – although not much is yet known of what the deal entails – he also revealed that his next official full-length release EVOL would be dropping within two days, coming only seven months after the release of DS2 and only three weeks after his Purple Reign mixtape.
Having received its official premiere through DJ Khaled’s ‘We The Best’ radio debut on Beats 1, EVOL is the Atlanta trapstar’s fourth studio album and his seventh release in the past 15 months. Future’s game plan seems to be to remain relevant by keeping his name on everyone’s lips and timelines. But is he running the risk of over-saturating the game? In the last year, Future has gained a massive cult following with the critical success of his follow up to mixtape Dirty Sprite – DS2 – and his major collaboration What a Time to Be Alive alongside Drake. Trap fans might disagree but there is such a thing as giving listeners too much music to digest in a short period of time. The question being is it possible to release large quantities of quality music in a short space of time or is there any need? We all know the saying ‘quality over quantity’, right? Well, by the looks of it, Future certainly disagrees.
An argument can be made that Future Hendrix is simply following the trend in the rap industry of rappers being reluctant to give out free music any more, decreasing the value of the work. The industry has evolved from the hustle of artists gaining a following by giving out free music. In the age of artists being tied into 360-degree record deals they need to get that C.R.E.A.M somehow, right? With EVOL, Future sticks to his sometimes crude yet creative song title approach with some very self-explanatory track names on this project like ‘In Her Mouth’, ‘Xanny Family’ and ‘Lil Haiti Baby’. But standout tracks on the album are few and far between.
‘Low Life’ features current king of pop The Weeknd – the only feature on the album – both Abel and Future talk on their delight of being able to make chart topping music while still ‘repping the low life‘ promoting their drugged out, sexual and lavish lifestyles. Originally released at Chrismas, the Weeknd, Metro Boomin and Ben Billions-produced collaboration details the humorous consequences of a reckless lifestyle leading to turning hotels into trap houses and strip clubs ultimately ending in evictions.
Lead single ‘Fly Shit Only’, the only other major highlight of note, caps off the 11-track offering, where once again Future boasts of his ‘popping molly‘, jet flying lifestyle over impressive guitar accompanied rock-influenced DJ Spinz production; ‘Only one who’s going out the country/Gotta keep a translator for the models’ and simply being the ‘only one reppin’ fly shit only/Keep some fly shit on me‘. The hook? Future simply and hypnotically repeating the line ‘Fly shit only, fly shit only‘.
For those expecting EVOL to be an experimental project, a sign of Future maturing artistically, or for it in any way to deviate from being drug-infused auto-tuned wailing over trap-style production (what he is adored for, after all), you will be sadly let down. But if you expected Future to melodically moan about drugs, money and sexual encounters – the album title being ‘love’ spelled backwards, of course – over production from Metro Boomin and Southside that will flood social media with trimmed down Vines and memes, you can strap in and enjoy. We will be no doubt gifted with another Future project soon enough, anyway. All that can hoped for is that he doesn’t needlessly reach into his reserves and let loose throwaway tracks and instead offers a quality project.