Future’s EVOL Both Fulfills and Disappoints

Paul carbonella

In just a couple of years, the Georgia-born rapper, Future, morphed from a promising Atlanta trap artist into one of rap’s most prolific tastemakers. 2015 was the biggest year of Future’s career; he released the critically-acclaimed DS2 in July, followed by his Drake collaboration What a Time to Be Alive in September, which produced the song “Jumpman,” Future’s highest charting single to date. This is not counting the several mixtapes he’s put out between those records. His fourth studio album, EVOL, is a demonstration of the consistency that made the Atlanta rapper a star, but it sometimes lacks the depth of his past work.

Future recently released his latest album EVOL (AP photo)
Future recently released his latest album EVOL
(AP photo)

The first track, “Ain’t No Time,” begins with an eerie chorus of synth bells, erupting into a stumbling bass line. It’s an excellent opening track because it highlights many of the stronger elements of the record — Future’s excellent beat selections, catchy hooks, and the intensity which has allowed him to redefine party rap in the last year. EVOL isn’t one of Future’s more inward-looking records. It is instead preoccupied with the external obsession with relationships and fame. But this isn’t always a weakness, rather, it focuses the listeners’ attention on the more visceral aspects of Future’s music, using its own raw energy alone to guide listeners.

There are no bad songs on EVOL, but the record has the feeling of being disjointed. “Xanny Family,” for instance, with its crooning bass and hypnotically repetitive hook, sounds like it may have fit better on January’s Purple Reign. “Lil Haiti Baby” is an excellent banger and one of the strongest standalone tracks on the album, but recalls Astronaut Status-era Future just a little too much for this project.

“Low Life,” featuring The Weeknd, is the best song on EVOL, and one of the most likely to receive mainstream success. The two artists work off of each other nicely, Future’s gravelly, low voice complementing the power and brightness of Tesfaye’s.     It’s one of the only tracks which really manages to command much emotional power, with The Weeknd’s voice entering and exiting at the perfect times. I wish there were more moments like this on the album.

Overall, EVOL contains several very good songs, but lacks the continuity or focus as records like DS2 and Honest. It also feels like more of a mixtape than a record, focusing on powerful bangers than the disillusionment of Future’s past studio records. Fans of Future will enjoy this record very much and gather some new favorite songs from the artist, but it feels like one of the more inconsequential releases of his in a while.