Album Review

Like many hip-hop heads, at one point in time, I was a practicing Future hater. His slurred auto tuned flow didn’t do anything for me, his subject matter was uninteresting, and back in the day I even used to detest trap. Thankfully, most of these things have been reversed, as if I still got hung up on trap beats and generic lyricism, I’d have missed out on some awesome mainstream hip-hop over the years. However, up until this year, I still just didn’t care for Future, but honestly the turning point was his feature on Vince Staples’s “Senorita”, and it’s still one of the best hooks of the decade. Next came his appearance on Meek Mill’s new album, and song by song I began warming up to him, and now find myself utterly excited whenever he appears on an album or releases new material. So, when this new record dropped, and hearing the internet music community go fucking nuts over it, I was pumped. But while there is some really great stuff on here, to my ears this isn’t exactly the game changing classic everyone has been so quick to label it as.

To note the positives first, this album starts off very strong. Well that’s kind of a lie, the first song isn’t very good, mainly due to the ridiculous vocal inflection Future takes on the hook. However, tracks 2-5 are just out of this world good, from the menacing “I Serve the Base”, which features one of the best beats of the year, containing a fucked up vocal sample that sounds like a bird being strangled to death (love it), to the no new friends anthem “Where Ya At”, with Drake, to the bangs so hard it almost hurts “Groupies”, to “Lil One”, which is a very solid trap flavored rap song. These deliver on the trap classic I was promised and represent the best things about the genre, as the beats bang hard as hell and show a lot of creativity with the synths and samples on “I Serve the Base” and the thumping and gritty bass drum on “Groupies”. Future also comes through with some impressive rapping as well, and what makes his performance so good is that he makes no attempts at a ballad or a slow and soft track. As he says on “Lil One”:

“Fuck that pussy shit, we sellin’ dope.”

And while his lyricism is nothing groundbreaking, he delivers his words with tons of conviction. Case in point: “Groupies”, where the chorus is simply him celebrating the fact that:

“Now I’m back fuckin’ my groupies.”

Not an eye opening, gritty, introspective hip-hop sentiment, but with the aggressive tone of voice he takes over the wild beat, he had me like,

“Yeah Future! Fuck your groupies man!”

All in all, these four songs kick ass, as Future delivers some impressive rapping over incredible trap production. (And Drake just does his thing on “Where Ya At”.) However, this extremely high level of quality just is not sustained throughout the project.

That’s not to say the rest of the album is bad. In fact, “Fuck Up Some Commas” is a certified banger, and “Kno the Meaning” is an incredibly emotional track in which Future actually gets very introspective. And nothing else here is offensively bad, it just gets monotonous. The downfall of trap rap is that so many beats sound the same due to the drums having such similar timbres, so on an 18 track album, it gets kind of hard hearing the same drum sounds with limited variation in pattern, and while Future still is pretty good on the mic, he doesn’t exactly come with the same fire or lyrical detail he did on the first part of the album. This all leads to “Dirty Sprite 2” sounding boring for long stretches of time, and just kind of being there instead of grabbing my attention and forcefully holding it like it did at the beginning of the record. Maybe it’s just me, because I’m sure the crisp drums and well produced synths will make a trap aficionado jizz everywhere, but I’m left feeling empty from a lot of this album due to the repetitive nature of it.

Overall though, “Dirty Sprite 2” is a decent effort. When it’s on, it’s really on, with some of the best beats trap rap has had to offer recently, and at times, Future proves to be an impressive MC. For too much of the album however, it slips into the background due to how samey the whole album is. So that leaves me with this:

A message to the hype-machine: “Slow down there. This is not one of the very best records of 2015. Sorry.”

A message to Future: “Nice job.”

3 stars

Standout Tracks: “I Serve the Base” “Where Ya At” “Groupies” “Lil One” “Kno the Meaning” “Fuck Up Some Commas”

 

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