Despite their completely different styles, Future's two albums in two weeks are both great successes.
A little over a year since EVOL, Future‘s last solo project, all of a sudden he’s announced and released two albums in two weeks: the self-titled FUTURE and HNDRXX, announced just days after the first album dropped. To reignite the spirit of A-level English in my excitement at this rapid succession of music, I decided to review, compare, and contrast both simultaneously.
Whilst their proximity may make it seem odd to for FUTURE and HNDRXX to be released as separate projects, upon first listen it becomes clear why. With two completely different styles, FUTURE and HNDRXX are two signs of the same coin, with the former filled with certified bangers and the latter emphasising slower, smoother tunes. If FUTURE is for the streets, HNDRXX is for the sheets. Turn up to FUTURE, come down to HNDRXX. FUTURE is for doing shots in the club, HNDRXX is for drinking alone at 4am. (Right, I’m out of analogies. On with the review.)
FUTURE is Future doing what he’s known for: bars on big beats. From the insanely hype ‘Poppin’ Tags’ to taking shots at Desiigner on ‘Zoom’ and a GOAT flute sample on ‘Mask Off,’ FUTURE is full of tracks you just can’t help but nod along to. Although he does nothing particularly new here – those who can’t stand the trap sound that he’s got on lock won’t find their minds being changed – and it’s certainly the weaker of the two, with several forgettable and samey tracks, it remains a solid project and a fun listen.
HNDRXX, on the other hand, is a complete contrast, with a far more melodic R&B-inspired sound. Here, Future comes across as vulnerable and self-reflective: “I was having trust issues / But I been having way better luck since you,” he croons (if such a thing is possible) on ‘Incredible,’ whilst on closing track ‘Sorry’ he admits – in a sad, Drake-like fashion – that his lavish lifestyle has pushed away many women he’s cared about. Furthermore, HNDRXX also makes up for FUTURE‘s lack of features with two huge ones. After the pure goodness of 2016’s ‘Low Life,’ The Weeknd rejoins Future to brush off their haters with a verse and catchy chorus on on ‘Comin Out Strong’ (“They take my kindness for weakness / Still coming out strong”). Meanwhile, Rihanna appears on ‘Selfish,’ playing off Future with some beautiful vocals for a radio shoe-in. The production and variety of beats on HNDRXX is great, showing why R&B Future is the best Future.
It’s true that the trap sub-genre is definitely not for everyone – initially, Future’s mumbling over catchy beats seemed all style with no substance, so I can’t really blame anyone for hating his sound. I, on the other hand, have been converted completely: FUTURE and HNDRXX are both strong projects for different reasons, and really display his range as an artist. Could he have cut out the weaker tracks and combined them into one album? Possibly, but that just wouldn’t be as exciting.
FUTURE and HNDRXX are out now via Epic