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The 50 Best Albums of 2012 (So Far)

15. Future, Pluto

Label: Epic
Released: April 17th

Known for the high-minded hip-hop of OutKast and Goodie Mob, no one expected Atlanta's Dungeon Family to produce a goofy gangster record like Future's 2011 hit “Tony Montana.” Aesthetically, Future (the cousin of Organized Noize producer Rico Wade) may be cut from a different cloth, but his surprisingly excellent debut album Pluto proves that he perfectly represents Dungeon Fam's most prized principle: originality.

With the soul of a pop singer and the heart of a trap rapper, Future's unique sound falls somewhere in between inspired and ignorant. He's never without his Auto-Tune, but his strained voice and stunted enunciation make him sound decidedly raw, more in line with rugged reggae crooners like Mavado than T-Pain.

While “Magic” and “Same Damn Time” prove he's adept at making bang-you-in-the-head trap anthems, Future's biggest strength is in laying down sentimental pop melodies over booming 808s, as heard on standouts like “Straight Up” and “Astronaut Chick.” His lexicon may be decidedly low-brow, but he gives glimpses at a more bluesy introspection on “Truth Gonna Hurt You” and “Permanent Scar” that suggest Future is just starting to discover his abilities.

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