Back on One: Future’s EVOL is a Return to Form

Future's EVOL suggests that Purple Reign was nothing more than a slight hiccup.
By    February 10, 2016

Deen‘s memorized MJ’s Hall of Fame speech.

Despite the constant internet hyperbole and Future’s seeming insinuation, I think it’s fair to say that while he’s had one of the most creatively and commercially impressive runs in rap history since he dropped Monster back in fall 2014. Of course, not every single effort has been of premium quality. One could argue that between the largely undercooked Canuck Trap Karaoke exercise from last fall and Future’s first salvo of 2016, Purple Reign, we finally experienced something resembling a lull in the quality of Future Anikulapo Kuti’s output. That’s not to say either project was bad per se, but I imagine most objective observers would agree that both projects were a step below the standard Future Hazel set throughout the run. The speed with which the unmemorable Purple Reign came and went suggests that the man himself might concur with at least half of that claim.

But with the sudden release of EVOL last Friday, it’s more than fair to say that this alleged lull is well and over. At this point in time, I imagine most of the folks that traffic in expressing written opinions about Future Davis Jr.’s work have probably run outta superlatives to apply to his music, but if he can maintain his prolificness then there’s no reason why we can’t match him. That said, EVOL is more of the same shit we’ve heard over the last year plus. There are a few new producers in the mix but outside of that, Future Oakley essentially applies one of MJ’s best drinking buddies’ wisdoms to his work: “if it ain’t broke, don’t break it.”

More trunk and ass rattling beats, more savagery, more drug consumption, more shopping, occasional paranoia, and the usual assortment of quotables. Shit, I’m pretty sure I even heard a line that sounded a lot like yet another snipe at his most famous ex.

Where EVOL distinguishes itself from the rest of Future Horry’s music is in the slightly tweaked sonics he chooses to rap over. His most common recent collaborators (Southside, Metro Boomin, and 808 Mafia) keep things sparse but the beats seem to move a little faster, and as a result, sound a little brighter than usual, in spite of the album art that suggests otherwise.

DJ Spinz provides two of the more polished sounding efforts in the form of “Lie To Me” and “Fly Shit Only” (complete with what sounds like a sample of the 90’s Bulls intro music —ed. note: “Sirius” by the Alan Parsons Project) and The Weekend and co. fashion popcraft by default on what most probably thought was destined to remain a loosie in “Low Life,” a song that probably counts as the best of any of the collaborations Future Solo has indulged in since his run started.

The only slight misstep on this admirably lean project is the proto-Rick Rawse triumph of “Lil Haiti Baby.” Far from bad, it certainly sounds out of place amongst 808 Mafia sirens and sped-up snares. Nonetheless, EVOL, when juxtaposed with its predecessor, seems to make it obvious that Future Obrist knows exactly what works and what his A-material is, which in turn suggests that the man might continue to be THE man for as long as he feels like it, since we don’t seem to be close to getting bored with him at all. You really can do what you want when you poppin’.

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