Releasing new albums in consecutive weeks isn’t typically a conventional way to put out music. But then again, nothing about Future’s career path has been conventional. Just a couple of days after the release of FUTURE, there were rumors beginning to swirl that there was another album on the horizon coming a week later. Those rumors would be confirmed when Future would post a picture on his instagram account revealing the album cover and title of the upcoming album, HNDRXX.
Whereas FUTURE was an album made up of braggadocio raps and an unflinching ego, HNDRXX has Future challenging himself as an artist in ways that he has only attempted to, and succeeded, in small dosages. Since the release of his sophomore album Honest, Future has only shown real vulnerability and a sense of humanism on a handful of tracks during this marathon he has been on with the release of nine projects in a span of just under three years. On Monster there are the amazing tracks “Throw Away,” and “Codeine Crazy,” hidden in the midst of a project of declarations of savagery. “Throw Away,” is the first time since his well documented split with Ciara that Future opens up emotionally and tells his side of the story, and even if the song isn’t specifically about that failed relationship Future does a damn good job of making you believe it is wit how sincere and hurt he sounds. “Codeine Crazy,” is Future attempting to drown out that pain and hurt with Codeine. “Perky’s Calling,” on 2016’s Purple Reign even offered a glimpse into Future’s past, with him baring his soul about how life has changed for him, from apartments to having “a crib big like Wal-Mart.” Other instances where Future tries to let his guard down and even be romantic don’t come off as sincere and possibly silly, see DS2’s “Rich Sex.”
HNDRXX has Future not only more willing to show more than the perks to being a rap superstar or caricature of machismo, but it has him showing the trials that come with it and his struggles in his own skin. The opening to the album “My Collection,” has Future questioning the validity of a current woman he’s dealing withs claim to being an angel. Her past interactions with some of his peers and current dealings with other high profile celebrities makes Future apprehensive. Even claustrophobic to an extent possibly. It’s this look into his mind that gives you a more real sense of what makes Future tick, whether it be misogynistic or not, this is who he is.
When Future channels his emotions on a song and decides to lay it all out that is when he is at his best because his voice is perfect for bringing those emotions to life on a song, he genuinely sounds hurt. This happens on “Use Me,” where Future is talking to a woman that he cares for, showing concern for her in the form of lines such as “who piss you off baby? Tell me what he do? I’ll call your ex if you really want me to.” He’s giving her the tools necessary to use him in her favor, to be there for her.
Songs such as “Incredible,” “Fresh Air,” and “Testify,” aren’t typical Future records but that is a good thing, and it shows him stepping out of his comfort zone but also his versatility as a songwriter. “Turn On Me,” sounds as if he is touching back on his relationship with Ciara, even potentially taking jabs at Russell Wilson. “Once I give you this game you should never let a lame hit it,” could be a general line but it seems aimed particularly at his ex, as well as the lines “I’m the one took all the blame for it, I had to look at this lame happy had to figure out then why I aint happy.” Right or wrong, no matter how petty or bitter, this is his truth. Feelings that are often hidden under a hardened exterior and heavy codeine usage.The closing track “Sorry,” has Future apologizing for all of his wrongs, whether it be to victims of his drug dealing or failed relationships.
Though HNDRXX is a departure from the hyperactive bodies of work Future has released over the past couple of years it may be the body of work that is held up at the end of Future’s career as his best. It comes off as a more polished version of his sophomore album Honest (an album that has a worse reputation than it deserves) which ironically was supposed to be titled Hendrix. Being guarded and reserved are good qualities to have, but opening up and being able to show emotion is a sign of true strength and humanism, that’s where Future is at his best. HNDRXX is him at his best.