Label: Epic/Sony Records
Released: February 24
Much has been written about the bifurcation of Future’s artistic self as displayed on the two albums he dropped back to back in February. Where FUTURE is the rough, raw, and rugged trap-leaning collection of immensely hummable jagged edges, HNDRXX is the smoother, more polished, radio-ready collection. Only problem is we’re talking about Future. Conflating artistic output with one’s supposed private life is dangerous because, in reality, who really knows what’s going on behind closed doors? But we’re talking about Future. The guy who told us this is the album is he wanted to make his entire career. The guy who went through one of the messiest celebrity breakups in recent memory; one that resulted not only in the loss of custody of a child, but a Jay Z lyric warning others of the pitfalls of ill-managed relationships lest you wind up like Future. So when you hear Future say “this codeine ain’t got nothing to do with my little child,” it’s easy to connect the dots.
But let’s get away from the headlines and focus on the art. HNDRXX, despite production that sounds as expensive as it does luxurious and, at times, breezy, is as raw and rugged as its companion piece. And that’s the true feat. If FUTURE details the craziness that it takes to become the person who has the houses, mountains of jewelry, and cars that cost as much of the previous two things combined, then HNDRXX is about the craziness that comes along with keeping all of it, and yourself, together long enough it enjoy it. Sure, Future is no longer in the trap house or on the block, but he’s surely reeling from the pain of love lost and instead focusing on the material possessions that are supposed to, if not numb the pain, then at least distract you from it. Things like a Bugatti with pinstripes. The emotional complexity on songs like the melancholic “Use Me” and “Sorry” is truly something to behold. Are there two Futures? No. There’s just too much Future for one album. —Damien Scott