Dissecting the success of "Monster" on its five year anniversary.
This morning, Future announced that his beloved 2014 mixtape, Monster, was added to streaming services. In an Instagram post, he wrote, "I’ve always spoke through my music and the people championed my trials and tribulations wholeheartedly with no regards." It's a confusing message that is incredibly Future-like. While on the surface it may seem pretty obvious what he's trying to get across, when you try to break it down, some questions arise. Is he leveling an accusation at his fans or is he expressing gratitude for them? People championing Future's music is what led to his ever-increasing success since Monster's release, but then you realize he specified that they championed his "trials and tribulations," and it all becomes a bit bleaker. For fans to devote themselves to Future "wholeheartedly" is also commendable, but he almost-paradoxically follows that descriptor with the phrase, "with no regards." When you put it all together, Future is summing up the phenomenon that led Monster to be elevated to legendary status.
Monster resulted in Future's pain being identified as valuable resource to be burned and converted into blistering tracks. The tape is strong from start to finish, but it's arguably hailed as a masterpiece due to the two opuses that serve as its pillars: "Throw Away" and "Codeine Crazy." These songs swirl like the dark sludge from which the creature on Monster's cover emerged. They both span over five minutes, presenting listeners with a complete portrait of the persona that Future painted in blood on this project.
"Throw Away" is a two-parter that consists of the party and the comedown. The first half is Future at his most villainous, vowing to never submit to another woman's whims again. "I won't ever tell you anything your heart desires," he raps at the top of the first verse. Even though Future starts off sounding like he's cackling at the top of a building as lightning cracks open the night-sky, he makes a dramatic pivot to the wounded victim once the beat switches up. "Mark my words, I'ma ball without you" is an iconic line that he nearly whines. It's a promise and a threat that Future has stayed true to ever since he uttered it on this song. On the second half of "Throw Away," he's transparently lashing out because he's been hurt. The fact that he acknowledges he'll be balling to compensate allowed his character not to sink into corniness, but be glorified as a martyr.
"Codeine Crazy" shows Future pulling this same trick of weaponizing his vulnerabilities. The self-destructive tendencies that became the most common theme in Future's discography were distilled into a definitive anthem. While lean-sipping is often referenced as a playful trope, Future highlights it as a vice. However, even after mentioning the deterioration caused by the substance, he oscillates to a flex. His own suffering quickly morphs into the suffering of others. "Drownin' in Actavis, suicide / When I hit the scene, it's homicide." He depicts this vicious cycle again when he jumps from "drying [his] eyes" to bragging about "water drippin' on [him] like a faucet." If we're guilty of championing Future's trials and tribulations, it might be because we were invited to play a game in which this was laid down as the primary rule.