On the dark and moody, Metro Boomin’ assisted, Monster, Future displays himself first as an artist with a tremendous ear for production, and as a “loose cannon,” fraught with troubling paranoia.
Part of Futureâs appeal lies in a musically indefinable existence. While bothÂ Pluto (and the 3D version) andÂ Honest became somewhat of a set template for artists like Travi$ Scott, Future himself is a blend of the past, some not so distant. Given his early tutelage under first cousin Rico Wade, of Organized Noize, whom Future credits with âmastermindingâ his sound, the strength of his consistent, and developed ear will likely keep the MC(?) relevant beyond this current era of âall trap everything,â if he can make it out alive.
Heâs a rapper, that typically isnât ârappingâ along any traditional, or recognizable, bar structure â an originator of sorts, within this context. In fact, the only familiar rap motif is the utilization of trunk rattling trap production, which end up becoming long wave carpet-bombings of neighborhood blocks. He blends the sonic overbearance, with typical drug-monied bombast and unnecessary misogyny (if we are being frank.) In those contexts, Monster could be considered more of same, except Future presents yet another dimension: a survivorâs post trauma stress and paranoia.
Monster explodes before take-off, beginning with a low point, on the boring, run of the mill âRadical.â Starting in earnest, âMonsterâ comes with arguably the longest hooks in rap history â mentioning, alongside the frightening misogyny, he would serve family members, if given the chance. (More on this later.) Following a funny (and slightly racist) skit, a celebratory Future proceeds to âFuck Up Some Commas,â where he demands a âmoney shower.âÂ Nard & B production âThrow Awayâ dives into the depths of the low end, features spacey keys for juxtaposition. The mixtape, to this point, feels typical, if a bit darker than usual. However, on the second part of the track, we get some nuance, where we get some semblance of true feeling. It is clear heâs abused the trust of the woman he obviously loves, but heâs too proud to give in and express regret, or offer an apology. This stunted emotional understanding remains present through out the mixtape.
TheÂ Lil Wayne feature on âAfter Thatâ stands out, with Tunechi snapping off with humor: âAinât looking good like cataracts.â Ode to the lost ones, âMy Savagesâ pushes the shield of Futureâs alpha sensibility aside with certain passages. Stark truths peek through the womanizing gloss: âYou think Iâm still not depressed(?)â Future provides a personalized tale in street banger âGangland,â on top of a vicious Bobby Kritical and DJ Plugg track. The paranoia of his past is clear: âThe karma coming back from when I was getting it in.â After intimating heâll start trapping in Europe, he explains that âIâm planning on saving my soul.â Just not right now.
Another exceptional, more heart-felt track, âHardly,â continues on the paranoia train, as he swallows the Zanax with syrup: âHope it take away all this damn painâ; He has the sound of a man hoping karma treats him nicely, but knows better. Wunderkind and trap genius Metro Boominâ, the mixtapeâs executive producer, puts his foot into the bouncy âWesley Presley,â give the mixtape its best show if rapper/producer synergy. âShowed Upâ and âMad Luvâ sound like a leaned-out bizarro version of the Scarface âmountain of cokeâ scene, where heâs definitely going to get caught up.
On the mixtape's finale, the slowed-upÂ TM88 production, âCodeine Crazy,â Future Hendrix provides more insight: âI been tryinâ to have some patience/Told my momma she should pray on it.â Itâs critical to note that heâs not himself doing it himself â his mother has to pray on his behalf. This is to say that heâs too far gone, mired in the paranoia and guilt of his past, on top of what his experiences with fame have done to both edify and damage him. The tracks also marks the best lines on the mixtape: âI might get after Madonna/get the crack in the summer, trap in the âLac and the Hummer/Frontinâ a pack to my partner, so all this lingo got her panties to dropping.â
Ultimately, Atlanta lyricist completes some of his best work here, with Metro Boominâ putting his stamp on the trap scene. The mixtape is, at times, both sonically exhilarating, and (if we are to believe heâs as truthful as he always claims) very disturbing. Some of the last bars on the mixtape actually plainly show Futureâs main problem: âFuck the fame, I'm sipping lean when it dropping/All this cash here and nowhere to hide it/I'm an addict and I can't even have it.â To cash, or the lean, which are both mentioned in equal amounts?
Monster is real-time peek into the other realities of a very specific survivorâs celebration and remorse. He's made it out, in spite of his circumstances and himself.Â The overwhelming emotions have created the need to handle via drug use, perhaps to the point of dependency. The obvious irony is that he likely got into rap to get away from the drug hustle, and is now quite possibly turning into a different sort of dope fiend. Perhaps the lean infusion (somehow) makes for impressive music, but beyond Future, what is it doing to the artists flying this Activis flag? Does it really matter? Do fans even care, as long as they get what they want?