Atlanta’s very own king of misogyny, Future Hendrixx, Future Vandross, otherwise known as Future, has returned with a hefty 21 track record “High Off Life,” which is a pretty funny title knowing his past and lyrical content. It’s been a year since we last heard from Future. His last album “The WZRD” underwhelmed audiences but allowed me to go into this new record with little to no expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect seeing as Future’s buzz was starting to slow down after dropping his classic album “Dirty Sprite 2” back in 2015. Nevertheless, his status is still legendary as a pioneer of this kaleidoscopic brand of psychedelic, vibed out, drugged out auto-tuned trap. With production from long time collaborator DJ Esco along with a couple other familiar faces such as Weezy and TM88, this project gave me hope that we would be getting the “56 Nights” and “Dirty Sprite” Future on this LP.
Listening to this album the first time left me underwhelmed thinking, “Oh okay just another Future tape,” but the second listen, albeit in the car, changed the entire landscape of the album for me. I can’t say I went into this expecting a huge change in narrative or attitude from Future. Lyrically, “High Off Life” has more trappin’, stackin’ and dealin’ than any Future fan could ever want. The production along with the slew of cutthroat cold-hearted one liners elevates a lot of the tracks on this record. Many cuts on this album are really catchy and infectious tracks such as, “Hard to Choose One” where Future sounds cold-blooded while the 808s slap eerily in the back. As soon as I heard it I was taken back to 2015 listening to “Thought It Was a Drought” all over again except Future sounded better than ever, easily making this my favorite track off the album. In the words of Andre 3000, “Future makes the most negative inspirational music ever,” and this track is a strong reminder of that. The song is an earworm for sure with all the drug talk, braggadocious flows as well as cutthroat lines that make for a smash hit. It was clear that Future was really in his bag this go-around.
Even the introspective cuts on this album are compelling. Tracks like “Accepting My Flaws” where he speaks on his struggles with addiction along with lines reflecting on his current relationship with Lori Harvey remind the listener that Future is human too. I also enjoyed the song “Up the River,” another introspective piece where Future reflects on his success along with his past; lines like “Came a long way from selling dope the ice rocky/ All this platinum ice in the face feeling godly” shows how he feels in his current state as he reminisces on his days selling drugs to his current success as a recording artist. While this album was light on featured guests, it worked in Future’s favor proving that sometimes less is more. I really enjoyed the “Solitaires” track featuring Travis Scott; their vocal chemistry along with the fierce production allowed for a hit record. Another notable track was “All Bad” featuring Lil Uzi Vert, who delivered on his cut. I was skeptical how they would both sound on a record and I was pleasantly surprised. The production was fun and zippy to the point where you would think it was a Lil Uzi song featuring Future but it was nice to see that both of them brought their A-game.
Even though the writing on this is really good, albeit still pretty formulaic, the production stood out greatly to me. I felt that the “Dirty Sprite” rapper aimed for ambition on this project. There are so many songs on this record where the production is the most memorable along with the cold-hearted lyrics from Future. I really like the banjo in the background of “Too Comfortable” as it’s so unconventional but it really just highlights how versatile he is while also highlighting his ability as a songwriter. For such a hefty album I was surprised to see how many songs I really enjoyed. I could have done without at least five or six songs; I feel that there was a lot of fat on this LP that could have been cut. This album had a lot of great moments and while there are a few tracks that probably could have been left out of the record, it still holds up as one of Future’s best albums in a while.
Verdict: Future’s skill as a songwriter and pioneer of psychedelic trap music is put on display this time around. This project is packed with heat and will surprise you; there are so many good moments on this album that it is almost undeniable that Future is back and better than ever.