Album Of The Week: Future Honest

April 24, 2014 12:47 AM

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The first words Future says on Honest are a half-conscious mutter, but that doesn’t make them any less heartfelt: “Be bold. Smell me?” As if to show and prove on those four words, the music underneath him is not what you might expect from the intro track to the new Future album. It’s a warm, reverby, full-bodied guitar loop, and the first time I heard it, I assumed it was a Fleetwood Mac sample or something — mostly, I suppose, because it reminded me of the circular grace of the Fleetwood Mac sample on Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Wind Blow.” But no, Future’s sample comes from Amadou And Mariam, the blind Malian guitar virtuosos. And when he’s rapping on it — feverishly, frantically — Future sounds like he’s declaring intentions of epicness. He’s earned the right. Future has spent the past few years dragging the entire rap mainstream into his zonked-out headspace, to the point where his voice, at its most strained, is about the most exciting sound you can possibly hear in a nightclub right now. (If you haven’t seen a big crowd lose its mind to “Sh!t” or “Bugatti,” I would argue that you are not experiencing rap music in the right ways. Adjust.) Honest is Future’s first album since becoming a straight-up star, a known quantity, which means that it can’t conjure the same weird magic as its predecessor, 2012′s incredible Pluto. Because of the baroque intricacies of the present-day rap industry, established rap stars have more trouble getting their albums released than unproven upstarts do, and we’ve already experienced many of the songs on Honest over the past year or so, so the new album ends up feeling half like a new album and half like a greatest-hits collection that only covers the past year or so. And yet the Future of Honest still does what he advises you to do on the intro. He is bold.

In the several years I’ve been writing this column, my greatest regret is this: I didn’t give Album Of The Week to Pluto. Instead, I gave it that week to Spiritualized’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light. Sweet Heart Sweet Light is a great album from a band that I’ve always loved, and its greatness was immedi...

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