Look beyond the purple haze.
While Future is seldom touted among the lyrical elite, the man boasts a near unparallelled eye for imagery. Now, the Altanta legend has delivered his brand new studio album, titled Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD. While it's still mere hours old, early analysis of the lyrics point to yet another character study in the making. Of course, Future has always been one for leaving breadcrumbs, encouraging those astute listeners to piece together their own conclusions.
In that sense, he may very well be the most enigmatic man in hip-hop. Yet some elements of his character become evident within the album's opening moments. Despite keeping relatively low-key where his own spirituality is concerned, Future deftly embodies the characteristics of a sinner, who all-too occasionally flirts with the idea of chasing sainthood. Sadly, his hedonistic impulses continue to drive his rational urges, and thus, he’s all but doomed to remain in the mire.
I done got rich and it cursed me
Ever since I got successful, they envy
Tryna shake the devil, on promethazine
Tryna show you love but you don't feel me
Is Future truly a romantic as he once claimed to be? He seems to covet true love, though he himself might admit ignorance toward its true definition. Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, he seems content to feed his harem illicit substances, fuelling their aggression and dependency, though it may be slowly killing him from within. To say he wears his heart on his sleeve would be an oversimplification, as one must dig deep to truly discern his sincere intentions.
I just took an AK to a dinner date
I just put some VVs in a Richard face
And the presidential is a day-date
Hit 'em with that chopper first, Ray J
I'm a well-known nuisance and my bitch bad
Pop one Perc', then you lean like kickstand
Skeleton AP, that's a wristband
All these n****s shaky, might as well dance
I don't trust him, we gon' dust him, that's some Taliban
Ollie Millington/Getty Images
Future is well aware of his reputation. In a truly characteristic display of preference, Future blends his violent proclivities with a touch of exotic sexuality, drug-fueled at that. Some might balk at his continued indulgence in self-destructive behavior, but such is the conundrum that makes his music so theoretically appealing. Like DMX before him, caught between the world of darkness and light, Future’s continuous war-on-self provides ample material for a character study. Though his “punchlines” and “metaphors” are rather light fare, his depth of personality ensures his place alongside the game’s most compelling figures.
I got two blonde snow bunnies
Sendin' me pics to the 'Gram
I got some bitches, they linin' up
They wanna fuck me just 'cause who I am
I fucked them gold digging bitches
I never will love her or trust her, but pay her
Lookin' out for her, but ain't takin' care of her
Future comes off as somewhat of a sex addict. Many have tried to examine his attitude toward intimacy, only to run away in various states of distress. Yet Big Future makes no secret of his womanizing ways, which often blossoms into nothing more than mild fondness at best. Yet this is, after all, a man who recently stated: "I'm misunderstood in the fact that how much I love love. I love the thought of finding real love. I love the thought of loving somebody that love me just as much.” Perhaps it truly is the concept of love driving his fantasies, rather than the feeling itself. He does speak often of the inter-harem dynamics, often using the thought of preferential treatment as a motivator. Hardly the behavior of one chasing true love, but rather another case of self-destructive behavior that he seems to revel in.
I'm god to you n****s
I worked too hard just to spoil you n****a
You need to pay me my respects
Your socks, rings, and your lean
The way you drop your mixtapes, your ad-libs and everything
Damn, that's crazy, but it's true
Of course, a God Complex is no surprise, given the magnitude of Future’s influence. On “Krazy But True,” Future takes a moment for self-awareness, asserting his dominance as a driving force in the ongoing cultural zeitgeist. Even his detractors cannot deny that their favorite rapper likely has respect for HNDRXX. In fact, the song might be the closest we’ve come to an unclouded moment of judgment from an oft-unreliable narrator.
I was gettin' 30K a show, I was the ghost behind the page
I freestyled every day
I never depend on none of these rappers
They bitin' me anyway
Damn, that's crazy, but it's true
Who a bigger influence than me in fashion?
And I ain't kissin' asses, far from social media happy
Prince Williams/Getty Images
The notion of Future indulging in freestyling drills to better his technical prowess may appear foreign to some, though consider that one does not achieve hip-hop longevity without mastery of one’s craft. Yet once again, he spills the compass back to his own romantic confusion, in what might arguably be the album’s most intriguing bout of writing. It’s difficult to view Future as a victim in any sense, given the impression of near-constant dominance he puts forth, but every so often, the cold-exterior thaws a little. True, he’s once again putting forth a possessive attitude toward women, as we’ve previously seen in “My Collection,” but in the same measure, he’s professing the futility of his own life in the grand scheme of things. Once again, we’re left wondering, who is this man?
I don't do side bitches, they all my bitches, I ain't tryna hide bitches
I don't need the media in my business
Damn, that's crazy, but it's true
I've been abused by struggle
I don't know what's real
I'll die for you
Die for you
The following track finds Future in a reflective state, while quietly paying homage to pair of early game hip-hop icons. Once again, Future showcases his deft mastery of imagery; the notion of Future buying and interacting with a “pink poodle” is borderline absurdist comedy. Especially when it’s sandwiched between reflections of the hustling days, whereupon Future’s office was a Cadillac, with no room to spare.
Servin' Killa, bought a new toy
This that Juelz Santana, rockin' them Gucci bandanas
Bought a pink poodle for a stack, gave it to shawty for her birthday
Had her posted up on the runway, I'm gettin' like Floyd with the grandé
Lastly, Future reserves the album’s closing track for a dose of therapy, which benefits from a close reading. Throughout the course of The WIZRD, Future provides a smattering of clues, inviting us to draw our own conclusions. It’s possible to say he’s driven by a constant sense of fear, forsaking intimacy as a defense mechanism. Perhaps he’s simply too far gone, his soul long corrupted by his darker impulses. In any case, the eternal battle continues to rage on, doing untold damage on his psyche and mental health.
Murder murder, broad day, I got tears, I can't let 'em out
I can't take it, I can't take it no more, I'm 'bout to spaz out
I'm good on deposits but I gotta have a stash house
I see you bein' greedy and I gotta work my ass off
Yet somehow, he seems to draw strength, or at the very least, creativity, from the misery. Resentment seems to fuel him, with betrayal revealing hidden emotions many thought dormant. What are the tears he professes to cry? Perhaps he truly is Dracula, destined to reign over the rap-game for centuries, unloved and all-powerful.