Is Future's Sprite a bit too muddy, or did he deliver as expected on "Dirty Sprite 2"?
Future has been overwhelming us lately, yet he still remains in-demand. Despite giving us back-to-back releases of three monstrous mixtapes (Beastmode, Monster and 56 Nights), the streets were literally salivating when news broke that he was dropping Dirty Sprite 2. True Future fans have been joined by the ever-expanding group of trap trolls known as #FutureHive, which have helped maintain a constant stream of memes illustrating Future's firm grasp on the trap sound, while also giving Future and non-Future fans alike a good laugh.
With the announcement of this third album, only a week prior to its release date, Future fans were eager to be served more drugged out, high-life raps about a life they probably don't live. The pre-order gift, "Blow a Bag," reveals the day in the life of a man committed to working hard and playing even harder. Also on the project are previously-released certified club bangers, "Real Sisters" and "Fuck Up Some Commas," which find Future in true form, flexing his melodic intelligence and replay value.
The first three tracks entire project is a reminder that Metro Boomin and Future are an optimal pair for creating a club soundtrack and audio painkillers-- Metro Boomin had his hand in basically every song off DS2, perhaps a reason that the sound is so cohesive. "Thought It Was A Drought" is the opening record and a defining track for the rest of the album, with the main focus being Future's sleepy vocals and Metro's uncanny ability to wrap a track around them (or perhaps it's the other way around, Future's knack for enveloping his vocals around Metro's trap-dripping production?). The lyrics are sharp and raw with Future crooning, "I just fucked your bitch in Gucci flip-flops/I just took a piss and saw codeine coming out"-- it's safe to say that Future's got a plethora of quotables suitable to your social media needs.
The heavy drug presence is established from the beginning, but as the project progresses one must wonder if his casual drug use has actually hindered the ATLien's artistic growth. The general sound of the project is familiar to his two previous releases, showing continuity, but at the same time, a lack of inspiration. Even so, the quality of the songs on DS2 are a step up from what must have been some of the throwaways littered on his past three mixtapes.
The one and only feature spot goes to Canada's natural treasure, Drake, and the collaboration does not disappoint. The two MCs berate the haters and newcomers with a chorus that asks a simple question, "Where was you at?" It's another incessantly catchy hook from Future, and the hollowing jingling production from Metro Boomin is the icing on the cake, despite the song being repetitive as a whole. By this point, we've realized that Future has created a formula to keep heads bopping, and part of that formula appears to be: creating a melodic hook and providing quotable, short phrases to repeat. We haven’t heard Future bring out the staccato rap flow since "Magic," so it was nice to hear that pop up again on "Where Ya At."
Tracks like "Lil One," "Stick Talk" and "Rotation" fill up the middle of the DS2, however end up being forgettable in the grand scheme of things. "Groupies" is a stand-out, with Future turning up the energy in his raspy-voiced bars on one of his favorite subjects, women. Future delivers his usual lyrics, but the production moves this track into the top five of the bunch.
It is clear that Future is unapologetic about his drug use, his spending habits and his choices in women, but it doesn’t sound like he is ready to commit to anyone other than the Actavis, which puts his former relationship with Atlanta sweetheart, Ciara, into perspective. After listening to DS2 it's evident that Future had goals to achieve with his music-- goals that a relationship with Ciara seemingly hindered.
The latter half of the album sees a climax in records; "Slave Master," "Blow A Bag" and "Rich $ex" reassert Future's mastery of all things hard-hitting. The latter two are bona fide club anthems where we hear Future sounding a little less druggy and a lot more boastful about his current success, and that which is to come. Day one fans would be proud to see where he is at, at this point in his career, however newer fans may be asking "What else can he do?" This album is a reaffirmation and a reminder of Future's dominance of the Atlanta trap sound; a reminder, as it recalls Dirty Sprite, and a reaffirmation, because he kills it in the wake of new ATL rappers that are popping yet borrowing from Future (Young Thug, RHQ, Rico Richie etc, there's no lack of them). Nonetheless, a lot of the records bleed into one another in sound and content-- a con for some, and a pro for others.
The closing records, "The Percocet and Stripper Joint" and "Kno the Meaning" give the listeners a glimpse at the possibility of more sophisticated Future, someone that is more contemplative, vulnerable and relatable than the pill-popping rock star we saw for most of the album. The slowed down pace and mock West Coast synth sounds are an unexpected but welcome change of pace.
Dirty Sprite 2 is a formal declaration of Future's dominance of Atlanta trap, but nothing more. It is clear he is at the top of the Atlanta trap game and is not concerned about competitors in the least. He is not interested in creating a forward-looking effort, rather, cement his place amongst the greatest of the ATL. There’s enough material for listeners to call this release a success. Future may have elevated the sounds of the strip club and the trap, but he did not take too many risks in this project. Perhaps, this is what the streets (er..#FutureHive) asked for. Nonetheless, with a solid release behind him and a burgeoning fan base, it would be nice to see Future evolve his sound, but until then may the #FutureHive continue to strive and prosper.