Future Dirty Sprite 2 Epic / Free Bandz
Home has been a recurring theme in the major hip-hop releases of 2015. It has manifested itself in a range of forms. Kendrick’s pilgrimage to Compton gave rise to the communitarian ideals of To Pimp A Butterfly, Vince Staples dug deep into his memories of summertime in Long Beach for his stunning debut LP and Drake craftily mythologised Toronto as “the 6”. So far, the trips back home have been tributes. If Compton is Kendrick’s salvation and Toronto is Drake’s battlefield, then Atlanta is Future’s only vice. He’s shaved off the major-label excesses of his 2014 album Honest and turned in his most focused and troubled work to date. He’s moved back to Atlanta.
A heady diet of drugs and the cocktail outlined in the LP’s title dominate. Every stage of the binge plays out on DS2. The anxious questioning of Where Ya At, the bullheaded highs of Groupies and the fleeting clarity of Slave Master – a song which ends with the line, “Long live A$AP Yams, I’m on that codeine right now”. Future celebrates his new single life with a bruised, exhausted delivery. It’s the same juxtaposition that plays out on the record’s opener – on one bar he’s flexing about sex in Gucci flip flops, two lines later there’s promethazine in his urine. The blowout and the fallout are crystallised into one distressed whole.
Like the countless dichotomies and contradictions of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, the demons of DS2’s maker are what makes it so totally enthralling. A sprawling hedonism that leaves Future gasping for breath but never quite drowning. A distorted reminder that you can never take the city out of the kid.