Future opens up 2019 with ‘The WIZRD’

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     Future opened the year with a 20 track album “The WIZRD,” that sticks to the same Atlanta-based vibes his fans have grown to love. With tracks like “Never Stop,” Future gives his textbook lyrics a deep-rooted appreciation with a free-verse style that shies away from the normal hook-verse-hook structure of most rappers.

     With all this breathing room, Future uses “Never Stop” to express the agony the streets brought him in his come-up. This harsh intro (with a tingle of grief) sets polar contrasts between the life he used to know and the fame he has now. The track follows a softer bass set than the typical Future song, but it does so to reflect the drastic life changes he’s had.

     Track 4, “Temptation,” presents the boldness in his contrast. With Producer Tay Keith working the booth, the artists collaborate for a track that gives a familiar smooth bassline. The lyrics tie into Future’s struggle to fight his temptation for drugs and other vices. The instrumental rides lyrics made to diss those who were less than hopeful for him as he rose in relevance. The song fades out with a sample from his 2014 work, “Honest.”

      In track 17, “First Off,” Future’s bombastic attitude is merged with Travis Scott’s signature vocals. The lavish end of Future’s contrast lies faithfully in this track; he and Travis Scott rap about multiple brands of clothes, cars, jewelry and strains of marijuana. A faster paced instrumental with the same restraint on the bassline gives way to a cool melody that comes off as smooth and counters the raspy lyrics that come from the exhausted rappers.

     The closing track, “Tricks on Me,” pays homage to the Geto Boys’ track, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” a song well respected in the hip-hop community for how it speaks about the lingering paranoia that resides in someone who made it off the streets. Future mimics this behavior, as his chorus begins with a sense of reluctance and self-questioning that stains the rest of the track. Nineteen85’s production sticks to the restrained nature the rest of the album has relished in and the higher tones in the instrumental maintain a pleasant key to match Future’s voice.

     With “The WIZRD,” Future has shifted away from the typical rap album simply by laying off on the unnecessariness that rap can sometimes be and hones his focus to present a work that is both enjoyable and has some replay value. Future still sticks to himself with his freestyles and the free verse structures that made him big. Future then tops it off by giving insight on how dynamic his character has been through the years, including the changes that fame and fortune have brought him.

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