Release: Monster (2014)
Producer(s): TM88

Future’s been cast, with varying degrees of success, as a romantic, a villain, a pop star, a monster. His best song, “Codeine Crazy,” finds him correcting those notions: “I’m an addict and I can’t even hide it.” He traces the circular nature of addiction (“Reminded myself when I used to get loaded/ Reminded myself that I’m still getting loaded”), he pours up while he’s driving, he links Actavis to suicide.

“Codeine Crazy” is so potent that it leaks into the rest of his work from this period, rendering ridiculous the notion that his partying and over-indulgence from other songs was meaningful or helpful or a metaphor for healing or whatever. Life can be overwhelmingly, oppressively dark, and here Future puts that in plain terms. Beyond that, the song brings up the uncomfortable discussion about what it means to peer in and draw pleasure from someone else’s pain, the process that leads people to say dumb shit on Twitter about hoping an artist gets back on drugs, or that he or she breaks off a romantic engagement. It feels voyeuristic to listen. —Paul Thompson