Review: Future’s “Pluto”

Review: Future’s “Pluto”

Future releases his hook heavy debut LP, Pluto. With help to spare - check out the Atlanta album launch footage, featuring Big Boi, Young Jeezy, T.I., & Gucci Mane

It would be lazy, bordering on irresponsible, to run with the “future of rap” motif when looking at the hotly anticipated debut LP from Atlanta’s, Future.  Fact is, the latest in a long line of talented ATL rappers, has a sound that’s not so much futuristic, as it is transcendent.  Future has been open about simplifying his lyrics, but these simple hooks are so infectious, you might think the man is a genius for ‘dumbing things down’. Cousin, mentor, and Dungeon Family founder, Rico Wade has shaped the Georgian’s style and sound, and the result is something the rapper describes as “melodic astronaut music”.   This isn’t your uncle’s hip hop.

From Goodie Mob to Outkast, The Dungeon Family has been producing new wave hip hop since the early 90s, but this 15 track (12 previously unreleased) album is simultaneously unique and tailor made for club consumption.

Surprisingly, there’s only one Dungeon Family guest spot, which is reserved for poet Big Rube in the intro.  The R. Kelly lead ‘Parachute’ gets the party started with Middle Eastern sounding synths slithering through the tune.  Kel is at his best in this sure-fire club hit, exclaiming that his “voice is back”.  Future complements him well (make no mistake this is R. Kelly’s track) with playful lines like “you compliment my mojo, you stroking on my ego”. The next certified banger is the single ‘Magic (Remix)’, featuring a just-released from prison T.I., followed by the dream-like ‘Trippin’ which blasts off with Future rapping celestial “woke up, saw a UFO”.

Things slow down at the mid-way point of the album with “I didn’t wanna lie to you, but it sound more fly to you” ‘The Truth Gonna Hurt You’ and ‘Neva End’ which are ballad-like efforts. With washing percussions and thumping bass ‘Neva End’ has an 80s synth feel, “it’s lightning, it’s thundering, it’s frightening, got me wondering.”

The Drake-featured Tony Mon-tan-nuh (‘Tony Montana’) gets the album back in banger-mode.  Followed by Future going acapella and rhyming without the aid of auto-tune; and this is where the rapper truly shines.  In one of his more introspective verses, he talks about his “rollercoaster” career over a Space-Invaders-for-Atari-sounding sample on ‘Permanent Scar’.

Expect kids in the club to gobble up the Sonny Digital produced, and criminally catchy ‘Same Damn Time’.  The ATL talent foregoes auto-tune and his voice is extra throaty as he makes proclamations of his hoodness.  We’re even treated to a threatening Snopp Dogg on ‘Homicide’, “catch a plane from ATL, layin low in a cheap motel”.  Future goes hard on the triumphant ‘You Deserve It’ to close out the album.

Many take exception with Future’s use (or overuse) of auto-tune, and while he does come off crisper without the voice modulation, you can’t take exception with his ability to craft club classics with sounds ranging from airy to ominous.  While he’s deposited enough hits on ‘Pluto’ to carry him into 2037, look for this savvy blunted, boozey, pilled-out rapper to provide a plethora of otherworldly tracks well into his non-linear future.

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