Future’s seventh studio album “Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD” serves as a celebration of everything he has accomplished over the last decade. This reflective theme is appropriate, as the album fulfills Future’s record deal with Epic Records.
The rapper, who is nominated for two Grammys this February, uses a diverse array of sounds with 808 drums to form the album’s foundation. While it starts off lyrically strong, the album never quite delivers on its potential because of its repetitiveness.
The album serves as Future’s first album since his 2017 releases “Future” and “Hndrxx,” which dropped in consecutive weeks, making Future the first artist to top the Billboard 200 with two different albums in back-to-back weeks.
Since the release of those two albums, the usually prolific Future has maintained a relatively low profile, only releasing unconvincing collaborative mixtapes with Young Thug and Juice WRLD and the underperforming mixtape “Beast Mode 2.”
The Atlanta native, however, has matured more in the past two years than the typically raunchy content on his songs suggests. Future lamented the impact on the youth, especially with his glorification of the recreational drug lean, in interviews with Rolling Stone and Genius in 2019. During these interviews, Future revealed he had stopped consuming lean but was too scared to tell anyone because his fans expected him to be doing drugs.
Future is following the trend of modern hip-hop zeitgeist where artists like Lil Pump, Smokepurpp and J. Cole have all advocated anti-drug stances in the past year. The latter most notably described the pitfalls of drugs in his 2018 track “KOD.”
This maturation is evident throughout his album “The WIZRD,” which mentions drug abuse and drug dealing, though to a much lesser extent. Future instead opts to shift the focus to his successes in the music industry since his selection to the XXL Freshmen list in 2012.
The album’s weak point, atypical to its entire first half, is the opening track “Never Stop.” The nearly five-minutelong cut effectively introduces the victory lap nature of the entire project but soon overstays its welcome as Future maintains a monotone delivery that quickly becomes boring. However, the album establishes itself with the next six tracks, each running less than three minutes, and prepares the listener for a celebration of Future.
Tracks like “Jumpin on a Jet” and the lead single “Crushed Up” see Future rap about his successes with references to diamond-covered chains and 14-passenger jets over slick production, replete with psychedelic hi-hats and other eclectic sounds that cultivate the consuming nature of the LP.
Future has always relied heavily on a small team of producers to formulate his trademark sounds. Yet Future takes advantage of newer producers on this album, notably Memphis’ Tay Keith and Atlanta’s Wheezy.
Frequent collaborator Metro Boomin, however, is notably absent from the album — an unfortunate consequence, as his production is some of the most cutting edge in hip-hop today. Nevertheless, the beats are seamless and carefully produced to fit the psychedelic yet triumphant mood of the entire project.
The latter half of the album is where the project begins to slow down. Tracks become less memorable, almost as if Future is trying to pad the track list to reach the one-hour mark. Few tracks in the latter half are anything more than standard Future songs, with boastful bars about wealth and influence over rattling and powerful production.
Future rarely utilizes features on his LPs, choosing instead to focus on his own style and versatility — or lack thereof — and “The WIZRD” follows this formula, with only three features throughout the twenty tracks. “Unicorn Purp” sees Future and Young Thug show off the chemistry that pervaded their 2017 collaborative project “Super Slimey.” However, the Gunna feature on the back end of the track sounds like a retread of Young Thug and adds nothing of substance to the song.
The Travis Scott-assisted “First Off” is one of the lone bright spots on the latter half of the album. The track, which is dominated by the refrain in which Future brags about being on the Forbes list and making more than NBA legend Dwyane Wade, sees Scott continue his run of success dating back to 2018’s “Astroworld.” Scott’s staccato flow is punctuated by his ad-libs, which add some much-needed flavor to the track listing.
With Future, consistency is vital. The sound and atmosphere of “The WIZRD” are carefully cultivated and produce good results, even if the track list is repetitive and unfulfilled potential pervades the album.
Serving as a celebration of Future’s undoubted musical legacy, “The WIZRD” is an apt culmination of the most important phase of the rapper’s career thus far. Now that this chapter has closed, fans will await the rap superstar’s next musical moves.