After a year-and-a-half spree of acclaimed releases — a thrill-soaked bombardment that’s garnered several Billboard chart-toppers and a co-headline on the highest-grossing hip-hop tour to date — Nayvadius Wilburn fell silent. The play screamed counterintuitive to the streets and the heavens above, considering Future’s astronomical rise after a lukewarm reception to his pop makeover on Honest; he resorted to giving us the monster we crave, perhaps in a dosage even he could no longer stomach in spite of such focus. The noise of his stardom, paired with the hype of his perils — divorce, rumors, losing friends we’ll never meet — warranted a return to the shadows.
Future, the self-titled album he announced last week and dropped days later, is the product of that silence. It’s an album that’ll remind you more than surprise you, but gives you precisely what you desire: Glossy, full-throttle trap with a few ballads tucked in the folds. There’s a skeleton of a narrative this time around: We have the Cap City skits that pop out occasionally, podcast spoofs in response to his contemporaries, noting Future’s self-awareness in bearing witness to the derivatives of his stylistic innovations. On the contrary, we hear snippets of dialogue from the trap spot and the police kicking down the door and firing during a raid. The album’s a testament to the real-time reflexiveness that’s allowed Future to sustain long enough to grant himself several opportunities for reinvention.