For Future—who is undoubtedly one of, if not the, hottest rappers in the game right now—there is almost no wrong turn at the moment. The Atlanta MC moves as he wants and is dropping music at a rate that rivals Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne in their respective primes. Since Oct. 28, 2014, Future has released seven projects, three of them—DS2, What a Time to Be Alive, and Evol—sold on iTunes and the rest, free mixtapes that he put out.
For a rapper with the kind of buzz that Future has right now, it's pretty incredible that he's able to consistently drop that amount of music and not oversaturate his fans. And honestly, after Future released Purple Reign out of nowhere back in January, it felt like that moment of "too much new music to handle" was on the way.
This was mainly because Purple Reign basically felt like a nice collection of songs with three to four standouts that was put together because he has a tour of the same name starting this month. Looking back, it seems that Future could have just dropped "Wicked" or "Inside the Mattress" as singles and let it rock from there, and it would have had the same effect. However, that's not how Future operates, and with the results he's seen, it's hard to argue with his formula.
On Friday night, Future dropped his new album, Evol, and off a few early listens, it sounds very good. That's expected because for the most part, whatever Future is putting out right now is going to be on the level of good to spectacular. Mostly because he makes catchy and turnt up trap music that also has layers of emotion and pain that people can relate to. But herein lies the complication: Future doesn't have a quality control problem but more a quantity control one. Everything he drops is hot, but at this point it seems that he almost overshadows his own music with...his own music.
Future doesn't have a quality control problem but more a quantity control one. Everything he drops is hot, but at this point it seems that he overshadows his own music with...his own music.
He released two of the best projects of 2015 with 56 Nights and DS2, but somehow he's already dropped multiple releases since then, and though the majority of them are very solid, it's almost like he's competing against himself. With the release of Evol, it feels like a moment where Future can finally take a break and let the greatness of his past year soak in. Of course, with an artist who has a work ethic like Future, he's never going to stop recording music, and he obviously shouldn't, but with another new album out and a tour on deck, it seems like the right time to let the music he's put out marinate for a bit.
With the talk of oversaturating himself, it's worth noting that Evol came along with the announcement that Future's signed a deal with Apple Music, which we don't know the full details about yet. Maybe part of the agreement was that he was to release a new project immediately to kick off the partnership. Who knows, but whatever the case may be, Future has released so much good music in recent memory that he doesn't need to rush out any more projects and he will be more than alright in the foreseeable future.
Future's hustle-until-you-drop mentality has brought him massive success in his career, as he's continually out-worked his peers to not only build up his catalog, but also his fan base. You can't argue with the results either, as Future has seen a massive jump in chart success during this impeccable run, with both DS2 and What a Time to Be Alive debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard chart.
When you look back at the fact that Future took a lot of heat after he released Honest early on in 2014, it makes this current run seem even more unlikely. Honest was by no means a bad album, but the overall perception from fans wasn't great and the reaction cast doubt about Future as a true power player in rap. In particular, the album wasn't accepted by his more casual fans as much as his previous work, and it moved fewer than 60,000 copies in its first week of sales. There wasn't a "Turn on the Lights" to bring in attention from outside his core.
The major difference this time though is that Future has made the crossover to the mainstream, and because of that, it's far less likely that he will have a fall off type moment anytime soon. He's a top-selling artist in all of music—not just rap—who you see almost everywhere now. Whether it's on the sidelines of the NFC Championship game hanging out with Cam Newton or at NBA All-Star Weekend, Future has the draw of a top act in the game.
Because of all of this, Future has given himself a comfort zone where he doesn't have to continually drop mixtapes to stay popping. He's given fans enough for the moment, and though he could probably drop a tape every month going forward, he doesn't need to. Future's innate work ethic has brought him to the top of rap, and while his instincts will tell him to keep going, it feels like the right time to slow down and reflect on one of the best runs we've seen in hip-hop history.