Dirty Sprite 2: Defining Music’s Future

18 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 songs you need to listen to on Future’s new album, DS2.

Future has already had a strong 2015 – he released two mixtapes, Beast Mode and 56 Nights — but now comes his new record, Dirty Sprite 2. Let’s start by stating the obvious: “I Serve the Base” is so crazy that the path of destruction soon to be left in its wake probably means that there won’t be an Internet for you to read this on. “Rich $ex” is so luxurious that the country is about to go into a champagne drought.In addition to his hit “F–k Up Some Commas,” songs like “Groupies” and “Thought It Was A Drought” seem to be getting the most replay love so far. Posters and life-size images of the man of the night and Styrofoam cups affixed with the Freebandz logo were in abundance as guests filtered into the Three Sixty°, a modern 30,000-square-foot space complete with panoramic views of the city. Anyone who has ever enjoyed turning up to Future—which is anyone who has ever heard Future—will find something to appreciate on his new album, DS2.

And whether you’re a recent convert to the faith of Future the Redeemer or a longtime member of the Real fans for the Advancement of Codeine and Kilos in Song (R.A.C.K.S.) the release of DS2 feels like a celebration, a joint accomplishment, an opportunity for hearty back patting all around in recognition of ushering in this moment. The photo reportedly belongs to Tošić, who has a series of similar images on the site. “I’m 110% it’s mine,” Tošić told Fader. “I’m selling these images on stock sites. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that this week we successfully sent a probe past Pluto for the first time: All of us, whether we have Facebook friends who work for NASA or not, are embracing our collective Astronaut Status. The Atlanta trapper, real name Nayvadius Wilburn, made a grand entrance, followed by a double-digit entourage that made their way to a VIP section roped off with plush seating.

This picture was sold last month.” Tošić – a Slovenian artist who hadn’t heard of Future until she was contacted about the art by Fader – said she made a percentage of the sale. It is an undeniable victory lap for Future, the cap to an incredible run of three mixtapes and the hit singles they organically spawned—a period so fertile that songs like “March Madness,” which, with millions of views on YouTube, would be a defining hit of any other artist’s career, haven’t even warranted a commercial release and will probably end up as footnotes in Future’s career as a result. Shutterstock’s Rachel Ceccarelli – a communications manager – didn’t say whether the image was actually used for DS2. “We can’t confirm it’s our image, as we have a non-exclusive relationship with our contributors and they can contribute their work elsewhere,” she explained. That might ultimately be this album’s most important legacy: It offers a cohesive commercial product that captures Atlanta’s lush current sound, and, whether it fulfills everyone’s expectations or not, it’s an undeniably definitive work that happens to come at Future’s creative and commercial peak.

There’s a trend in the standout songs on DS2: each breaks from Future’s intentionally sleepy and low-key demeanor. “Colossal” deviates from that again, with quick spitting over flittering piano keys. DS2 has been positioned, along with the three mixtapes preceding it, as a return to form, a reintroduction to Future as the street artist who made tapes like the original Dirty Sprite.

It certainly never feels like anything less than exactly what Future wanted to make: While pretty much every song on it has a decent shot at being a hit on rap radio (good luck to the rest of Atlanta getting on Hot 107.9 this summer), there’s nothing remotely verging on pop crossover. His beats are lusher and more substantial than ever—once again, thanks to Metro Beethoven, Sonny Debussy, et. al.—and he raps over them with more agility and musicality than ever. The project progresses with a gutter tone as Future brags about his shooters and plugs (“I Serve the Base”) and formulates a flawless anthem for those well-versed in finessing and hitting licks on the daily (“Trap N***s”). The grand melodic forays of Pluto and Honest and Future’s pop songwriting phase have, whether fans appreciate them or not (I happen to, immensely), undeniably sculpted him into a smoother performer.

He even pens a track dedicated to his two favorite past-times (“The Percocet & Stripper Joint”), while sharing the spotlight with lone feature, Drake, on “Where Ya At.” Future may not be the most lyrical, but there’s no denying that dude can craft a hot hook. The way he’s rapping, voice dripping in Auto-Tune, on “Codeine Crazy,” off of last year’s Monster, for instance, is so fast and sophisticated and in tune with the sound of Atlanta and innovative that it’s arresting.

It’s clearer than ever that he’s in a rare echelon of comfort with the tracks he’s on (note how effortlessly he synced up with his musical forebear Andre 3000 on last year’s “Benz Friendz” if you’re looking for a point of reference). However, the only problem to nitpick at DS2 is whether the non-singles will actually relate to the masses as likable, chart-climbers like his previous work. As good as they are, past classics like “Itchin’” and “Same Damn Time” sound like nursery rhymes compared to the operatic fluidity of present day Future. And that version of Future is fascinating: The pain that was palpable in songs like “Permanent Scar,” of Future grappling with his circumstances, has been turned inward, to Future grappling with himself. It’s yielded the torment of songs like “Codeine Crazy” and “Throw Away” and “Just Like Bruddas,” where Future is a raw, open wound, teetering on the edge of total self-destruction.

But Future’s gift, the thing that puts him far beyond the vast majority of his contemporaries, is that he is emotionally honest to a fault, even when it’s distasteful. Cole, who purport to offer vulnerability but always do so with a sort of posturing, self-aware attitude that expects to be rewarded for it, Future seems to do so out of a spiritual imperative.

Listening to Future over the past few months has felt a little like being in a secret club of people who realized this. (The chief reason for recent backlash against new fans is above all, I suspect, a reaction to the idea that Future is suddenly worth caring about because of the hype, a stance that ignores the reasons for the hype in the first place.) Songs like “Throw Away” don’t necessarily reveal their profundity until they line up exactly with the type of catharsis the listener is looking for. I’m not sure that’s as true for many of the songs on DS2, which are more straightforwardly hard tracks on the whole than any of the mixtapes that preceded DS2.

There’s far less of a sense of Future collapsing in on himself than there is on say, 56 Nights’ “Purple Comin’ In.” If there is a critique to be made of DS2, it’s that it verges at times on being an over correction, as if Future was so focused on catering to his base that he misread his appeal as a masterful communicator of human emotion. Even though it has its arresting moments of pained revelation, particularly on “Blow A Bag,” which lists out Future’s dead friends who would be proud of him, and on “Kno the Meaning,” which dives into the pain of being separated from his best friend DJ Esco, it’s for the most part more explicitly narrow in its focus. As much as the narrative of recent Future has encouraged the casting aside of that period, it’s reductive and wrong to suggest that it didn’t yield some great art. Although DS2 is still concerned with grappling with the emotional challenge of navigating a breakup (publicly no less) and being a father as a touring artist and trying to reconcile being a pop star with an identity tied to the streets, and it does so deftly, it is often less empathetic than Future has been in the past.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Dirty Sprite 2: Defining Music’s Future".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site