Album Review: Future Comes Up Short With ‘EVOL’

 

Grade: C

After releasing a popular mixtape with Drake, and just three weeks after releasing the mixtape “Purple Reign,” Future’s latest album was one of the most anticipated albums of the new year. However, the rapper’s fourth effort, “EVOL,” did not quite live up to all of its hype.

The album, whose name is pronounced ‘evil,’ features captivating instrumentals. However, Future’s lyrical prowess does not seem to be quite as compelling as his past efforts. The autotune and production is done very nicely — Metro Boomin and Southside produce many of the tracks —  and some songs do feature the Future that fans have come to know and love. The repetitiveness of Future’s lyrics are only felt a couple times throughout the album, and this is to be expected as only one other artist is featured on the album.

The album’s title is certainly understood right at the first song: Future’s first few instrumentals are dark, yet intriguing. The first song, “Ain’t No Time,” is a prime example of the fine execution on these ominous beats, into which listeners become hooked.  

The third track of the album, “Maybach,” has an instrumental that focuses on acoustic guitar strings, a sound that isn’t heard a lot in trap music, but Future is able to make it fit well with his rapping chops. Future’s ability to hook listeners in is either done through instrumentals or through lyrics. “Maybach” is one of the few on the album in which he is able to do so through both.

After a few songs, I wasn’t sure if the instrumentals were just very similar or if they blend almost perfectly well together. Perhaps it is both. However, the lyrics, not surprisingly, focus on the normal topics of drugs, luxury and flashiness. It is not until midway through the album that Future finally reaches his stride with “Photo Copied.”  Here, Future also introduces a newer and fresher sound in the backing tracks.

The end is the best part of the album. With a reference to Robert Horry’s seven NBA championship rings and a song that features The Weeknd, Future seems to be saving the best for last. The song featuring The Weeknd, “Low Life,” is the most melodic track on the album.

“EVOL” was partly a victim of its hype. Had Future not been at the top of his game while the album was released, listeners wouldn’t be expecting as much from the rapper. Though disappointing at times, Future is still able to hook listeners in; the production and instrumentation are Future’s best tools to do so. Look for Future to continue to stay on the same level he’s been on with this album, but do not expect him to come out with the newest sound in hip-hop.

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