The ‘Future’ of music is here with ‘Purple Reign’

Mason Schweizer, Staff Writer

Few artists are carrying as much momentum into 2016 as Future, the syrup-sipping spitter from Atlanta. Coming off a successful mixtape, “56 Nights,” second studio album, “Dirty Sprite 2” and surprise collaborative album with Drake, “What A Time To Be Alive,” Future is currently one of, if not the single most popular rapper today. It didn’t take Future long into 2016 to regain the spotlight, as he dropped the anticipated “Purple Reign” on Jan. 17.

Future’s fervent fan base, known affectionately on social media as #FutureHive, praised the tape as the record of the new year less than a month in. I am personally not the biggest Future fan, casually playing his music from time to time, but know that his influence on hip-hop today is supreme. Naturally, I had to check the tape out and see if it lived up to the hype.


Though he has achieved an exclusive level of fame, Future is not thought to be an elite lyrical talent by any means. He has perfected the auto-tuned crooning style of rap first popularized by Lil Wayne and blended it with the hottest Atlanta-inspired trap sounds (and by trap I don’t mean the mixes your favorite DJ plays off his Macbook).


“Purple Reign” is executive produced by DJ Esco and Metro Boomin, two producers sure to make even the casual fans list of top producers in the game today. One can distinguish the familiar 808 and synth heavy styles of the producers almost instantly, and as I listened to the brief intro and finished the opening song, “All Right,” I was excited for the bass to bleed through my speakers for the next.


Though the intro and opening song are nothing special, Future Hendrix has his first banger of the tape with “Wicked.” He warbles a repeated hook of “wicked, wicked, wicked” over again in a way that not many rappers can actually make sound interesting. But to be honest, anyone could say anything over the Metro Boomin beat and it would sound good.


The hits come back to back, as “Never Forget” boomed so loud I couldn’t help but nod my head and jump around a bit. The dark, ominous strings create a unique sound with the heavy drums and synth sounds, and the bass is so intense it measures on the Richter scale.


“Drippin How U Luv That” (what a title) was a snoozer, but the symbols and keys on “Inside The Mattress” woke me back up, if only for Future’s lyrics, or lackthereof, to get me drowsy again.
I continued my near-slumbered state of consciousness through two more songs before arriving at “Bye Bye.” Zaytoven joins Metro and Esco on production for this one, and man does his presence pay off. The song sounds similar to an early-era Gucci Mane song (#freegucci by the way). The difference is the raps are no vintage Gucci bars, but rather catchy, bouncy croons from Future.


The last four songs of the tape were all average as well. Many bloggers and fans have highlighted the final song, “Purple Reign” as an instant classic, but by that point I was pretty much done with the tape.


“Run Up” was different, using percussion more in line with African bongos rather than Atlanta trap beats, and it kind of meshed well. Maybe this is a hint towards a new style?


All things considered, the finished product is what fans should have come to expect from Future–a man who sipped too much Actavis turning his autotune up and screeching over some of the hottest beats in hip-hop.


Future did have a surprising 2015 to put him at the top of most hip-hop fans list, but his act is already getting boring. “Purple Reign” was just more of the same. If the Atlanta rapper wants to keep this level of notoriety and large fanbase, he will have to adjust and continue to improve.


His popularity will also depend on the direction rap heads in 2016. With big names such as Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa and Drake already slated to drop albums in the next couple of months, the newer style of trap music Future has brought into the limelight could be just another fad.