May 23, 2022
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Life & Culture

Review: New Future album finds itself stuck far in the past

Notorious for his womanizer tendencies and promiscuous lifestyle, Future has established himself as the pinnacle of toxic masculinity. The Grammy Award-winning artist knows exactly what his fans want from him: tracks simmering with his signature toxicity just in time for summer. His most recent project, “I NEVER LIKED YOU,” truly delivers great beats, quotable lyrics and a versatile composition, but also proves lackluster at times. 

When asked what fans should expect from the album, Future told GQ, “I’m putting myself out there. Sharing my lifestyle with the world. Sharing my pain with the world. Sharing my ups, sharing my downs with the entire universe.” With a stylistic range different from his other releases, “I NEVER LIKED YOU” does just that. Ranging from slow, emotional croons like “LOVE YOU BETTER” and “BACK TO THE BASICS to more of his trademarked raunchy bars like “MASSAGING ME” and “GOLD STACKS,” Future proves his versatility as an artist while also staying true to the saucy persona his fans know and love.

With 16 songs and clocking in at only 48 minutes and 43 seconds, “I NEVER LIKED YOU” lays out Future’s past relationships and sexual endeavors. Featuring some big-name artists like Kanye West, Gunna, Kodak Black, Young Thug, Tems and Drake, “I NEVER LIKED YOU” has a few truly notable tracks that are catchy with solid lyrics. 

Future opens with the track “712PM” and goes off hard with bars about his world of Mercedes-Benzes and Cartier watches while paying tribute to his criminal past, “Let the door swang, swang the door open, smell cocaine/ Trafficking drug money and trap out this one lane.” Kanye absolutely steals the show and stands out on the album with his verse on “KEEP IT BURNIN,” rapping with intensity and emotion. The cheeky “FOR A NUT,” featuring Gunna and Young Thug, offers some vulgar and quite shocking, almost comical, lyrics from Young Thug about butts and diamonds. This line sparked an array of memes on Twitter, with users ranging from feeling hysterical to disgusted. While the track itself isn’t terrible, the cringey hook that Future opts to play on loop makes the piece a bit painful to listen to.

Drake and Future come together for two songs: “I’M ON ONE” and “WAIT FOR U,” featuring Tems. The pair rarely misses, and their chemistry in both of the pieces rings true. “WAIT FOR U” also included female Nigerian artist Tems’ smooth vocals. Fans of Tems were worried that the beloved artist would become tainted with Future’s toxic image and lyricism, but Tems’ verses are actually quite clean and melodic. “WAIT FOR U” stands out among the other songs with pleasing vocals and fluid bars and is a more emotionally centered debut from Future, with lines like “You pray for my demons girl/ Every time I sip on codeine, I get vulnerable.” This reveals a softer side of Future typically absent from his previous drops, toning back on the abrasive toxicity.

Apart from the slower, sleepier trap songs, there are a few hype tracks that are doused in that signature Future scent. In “GOLD STACKS,” Future flaunts his lavish lifestyle and hookups. While the beat is catchy and the flow has a vibrant energy, the lyrics are just lazy and borderline cringey, like: “Just stepped up her swag, now she’s all buss down/ I’m a rich junkie, yeah, all these drugs I buy.”

The album is exactly what listeners have learned to expect from Future, but it is starting to feel overdone. At 38 years old, how long can he serve this toxic, gameplaying, misogynistic character and still be taken seriously? Overall, though, “I NEVER LIKED YOU” is not a bad record. It offers a few replay-worthy tracks and notable bars but also cheesy lyricism and a redundant sound. Future may want to reconsider diverging from his toxic lover-boy script for once in hopes of offering fans something new.