FUTURE - Monster
In case some still have doubts about why mixtapes are so great, or if they wonder why rappers give for free what, actually, are real albums, they should have a close look at Future's career. Twice, he's been the herald of a new evolution of Atlanta's trap music based on Auto-Tune raps and vulnerable lyrics, a subgenre at the very core of the 2010's. By 2011, True Story and Streetz Calling had paved the way to Pluto, his first album. And after his second opus, Honest, hadn't met expectations, the rapper went back to the mixtape format, with a series of releases respectively titled Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights. Altogether, these had restored the critics' faith in Future, and helped DS2, his third album, collecting rave reviews.
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Thanks to the decisive help from the great Metro Boomin' and a few other figureheads of Atlanta's rap production like Southside and TM-88, Monster, the first of the series, might have been the most remarkable. The title, the cover art, and the release date – by Halloween – had clearly announced that, with this release, Future would show his most tenebrous face. On it, he went back to his rawest, using some mantra ("all this shit radical", on "Radical") to pretend he was, indeed, a radical, or bragging about his spontaneous approach to his lyrics ("Fuck up Some Commas"). By the end, also, on "Codeine Crazy", he claimed he recorded his music as if it was a demo. And that was exactly what made him successful.
The rapper, also, did what he was famous for: he exposed his pains. That was the case with the heartbreaking "Throw Away", a track about the sore end of his relationship with Ciara. Obviously, this was still an open wound, which the rapper exposed crudely. His voice was full of ache, his throat hurt, his loss overwhelmed him, when he claimed his persisting love for his former partner. That being said, Future was not exactly a romantic and a sentimentalist: he had absolutely no regret for his infidelity. In an overly sexist way, he wondered why his adultery with a woman he had no passion for, could have damaged his relationship with a Ciara.
Actually, Future's genre was still trap music. He enlarged its scope, true, but some its key components were still there: the braggadocio, on an opening track stating why the rapper was so crucial to his time, and on "After That", with Lil Wayne, the only song with a guest; the (dead or alive) homie anthems ("My Savages", the sublime "Hardly"); some unapologetic misogyny ("Monster"); and a great deal of drugs, in his lyrics, like with the concluding and eerie "Codeine Crazy", as well as, less explicitly, in the erratic and stoned way he had to deliver his haunted raps.
Monster was, more or less, a new manifesto for a rapper who, with the subsequent releases, would be well positioned to become the most significant of the 2010's.
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