On DS2, the third major label album from Atlanta's Future, the rapper makes things clear from the outset: "I just f---ed your bitch in some Gucci flip-flops," he announces on opener "Thought It Was a Drought." He then admits to drinking so much codeine-laced "dirty Sprite" that it colors his urine, declaring, "Bitch, I'm a choose the dirty over you/ You know I ain't scared to lose you." There's no civility to be found here. A year after splitting from singer Ciara, his ex-fiancee/son's mother with whom he's still publicly feuding, Future is defiantly marking his allegiances -- and they're not to any genteel sensibilities. DS2 is a heavy dose of medication as entertainment, and it's not for those with a low tolerance.
DS2 is short for Dirty Sprite 2, his 2011 breakthrough mixtape, but it's not a sequel as much a course correction. Future's first two studio albums -- 2012's Pluto and last year's Honest, recorded during his courtship of Ciara -- were thick with A-list guests and songs that vied for crossover success, pushing shiny, happy roles he played well but never quite relished. He even released a gleaming love song ("Real and True") with Miley Cyrus in 2013. But now? "Tried to make me a pop star and they made me a monster," he rhymes on "I Serve the Base," a droning oath of fealty to street life. "They should a told you I was just a trap n----."
In the past few years, Future has become one of the most influential, recognizable voices in rap, singing hooks for Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj and paving the way for artists like Fetty Wap with his starry-eyed, Auto-Tuned warbling. But here, following the lead of his recent mixtapes (Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights), Future retreats back into lean-filled Styrofoam cups, eschewing pop duets and focusing on internal monologues of regret, ultra-conspicuous consumption and a grinding work ethic. Future's delivery, which drunkenly swings in the dark spaces between Meek Mill's urgent yelp and The Weeknd's forlorn balladry, is put to discomforting effect.