Looking back on Future's "DS2" four years after its release.
“I like all types of women. I accept them as they are when they come into my life… But I’m not a romantic. I’m just up-front,” Future told Complex in 2015 -- a statement that essentially encapsulates everything about DS2 and the entity that is Future. Art imitates life in the case of Future and DS2 is a testimony to that, as he embraced his own villainy and dove into his hedonism head first. Off the top, Future boastfully brags that he “fucked your girl in some Gucci flip-flops” -- a line that not only lives on as one of the most savage flexes but could also be credited for birthing the rise of Gucci sliders in the rap game. But that’s another story. DS2 turns four today and even years later, it carries the same magic it had in the summer of 2015.
Before jumping into the greatness of DS2, it should be noted that the album concluded an epic mixtape run that included Beast Mode, Monster, and 56 Nights. But that run only came after his highly publicized relationship with Ciara began to crumble in the public eye. “Best thing I did was fall out of love,” Future raps on “Kno The Meaning,” a song exploring the story behind DJ Esco’s incarceration in Dubai over weed possession. That bar in and of itself sums up Future’s career post-CiCi. He was locked in more than ever but even after his break-up, he found himself facing more setbacks. He only became a hotter entity from there, not only solidifying himself in the realm of hip-hop but in the overall face of pop culture. Honest was filled with incredible records that further showcased Future’s pop sensibilities but his subsequent run showcased his ability to mesh both his commercial appeal and ability to speak to the streets.
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His unapologetic tone comes out throughout the project. He indulges in lean, percs and Xanax as if trying to prove to the late Salvador Dali that he is actually drugs. “I just did a dose of Percocet with some strippers/ I just poured this lean in my cup like it’s liquor/ I Just need a whole lot of drugs in my system/ I just tried acid for the first time, I feel good,” Future raps on “The Percocet & Stripper Joint.” There have been a ton of rappers who’ve compared themselves to Jimi Hendrix -- Drake included -- but Future might actually be the closest to being there. He indulges in his vices -- from drugs to women -- as you’d imagine a rockstar in the 70s like Hendrix would’ve done.
Behind the drugs, women and the money hides a man filled with pain and sorrow. Maybe that’s why he openly shares characteristics of a sociopath in his music but it still sounds like more of a coping mechanism. That pain isn’t necessarily heartbreak but issues that stem from the bleak reality of the streets. A trapper who’s managed to escape the fate of death or incarceration but is still feeling the residual effects of his experience in Lil Mexico. He often reflects on that pain while juxtaposing it with vivid details of his hedonistic and luxurious lifestyle. “I been taking Molly, rockin’ Tommy/ Tom Ford, n***a, walkin’ like a zombie/ Standing in the trenches screaming “murder!"/ You need to take that n***a off and try to serve him,” he raps on the Zaytoven-produced, “Real Sisters.”
Future’s DS2 was a culmination of an entire year’s worth of heartbreak, setbacks, and pain. Even if it is celebratory in nature, the inner-torment of Future peaks out in unconventional ways. But it captures Future in his most real and honest form. He holds no bars across the album and even with all the madness surrounding him, he's found a place of comfort within it. If Future is the captain of the City Boys this summer, DS2 is the soundtrack.