Future‘s highly-anticipated sophomore album Honest is finally here courtesy of Epic Records, but not without many delays and changes. Originally titled Future Hendrix, the project was renamed when the Freeband Gang capo released his incredibly well received single of the same title. Featuring plenty of songs you’ve likely already heard such as “Move That Dope,” “Karate Chop,” “Covered N Money,” “I Won,” “Honest,” “Sh!t,” and “How Can I Not,” how much more does Future have in store for us?
Read my song by song review and find out whether the Atlanta rapper delivered with the follow up to his 2012 effort Pluto. With guest appearances from the likes of Pharrell, Lil Wayne, Andre 3000, Drake and more there is definitely plenty to cover. I tell the truuuuuth.
Future kicks the album off with a song he recently performed at SXSW titled “Look Ahead.” Not a bad way to start the project, this hustler’s anthem features an enchanting chorus and helps get you prepared for what is about to unfold. Solo Future is often the best Future and he certainly didn’t need much help on this one. Paying homage in his lyrics to some of history’s most notorious gangsters from Don Corleone to Frank Lucas, this intro delivers a message to rise above and “make it out the slums.” Look ahead we will.
Continuing with the solo theme, next up is a song we didn’t hear prior to the release of Honest and no wonder it was kept under wraps. On “T-Shirt,” Future unloads some of the hardest bars I’ve heard from him in a while (or maybe even ever) over a fine beat selection from Nard & B‘s catalog. This one really reminds me of “Dirty Sprite” era Future. One hustler’s anthem leads into another… and another…
“Move That Dope” featuring Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino
Future‘s Mike Will Made It-produced “Move That Dope” single found immediate success when it graced the internet earlier this year, but I nearly had a stroke when they released the video without fellow FBG member Casino in it. Fortunately a few days later they added his footage and verse via an extended cut. Still Future, don’t play with my heart like that, Casino‘s Frank Matthews mixtape was too nice. Pharrell and Pusha T fit great together as per usual making this song reminiscent of some early Clipse material.
“My Momma” featuring Wiz Khalifa
Future gives credit to his mother for raising him to be the man he is today on this standout Wiz Khalifa-assisted cut, which is also produced by Mike Will Made It. The Pittsburgh rapper is currently readying his new album Blacc Hollywood while his “We Dem Boyz” banger, which recently received the video treatment is steadily climbing the charts. On “My Momma” the Taylor Gang General continues to impress in 2014 by assisting on one of Honest‘s best songs. No doubt this one will be turned into a single so expect visuals for “My Momma” soon too.
The title track from the album is so good it caused Future Hendrix to rename his project. This open confession will have you belting struggle falsettos out in just about any setting where it comes on. Future paints an image of pure transparency that represents fantasy more than reality and his ideologies seem difficult to live up to. Either way, you can shed a few thug tears to this before you call your girl and confess all of your wrong doings.
“I Won” featuring Kanye West
Kanye West assists Future on “I Won,” a special (or at least objectifying) song for their significant others Ciara and Kim Kardashian as well as ladies across the world. Personally I wish they had of went with a slapper along the lines of “Disfunction” but this is still a substantial collaboration. I’m disappointed with both the song and the video (Kanye and Future don’t even appear in the same frame once) but the girls will like it. If you want to keep your chick this summer, treat her like a trophy. And yeah, Hype Williams fell off.
“Never Satisfied” featuring Drake
It was nice to see these two artists working together after their short feud last year that resulted in Future filing a lawsuit against Drake when the Canadian rap superstar tried to kick him off his tour. Short and sweet this song offers enough to leave mainstream fans smiling but it certainly doesn’t have me “satisfied.” Hey maybe that was the point and we are getting some more new music from these two soon, but for now they end the track in a way that makes you feel a little ripped off. All in all this joint needs more, but it comes and goes so quick people thought the free album stream version was a snippet. It seems like this one was to just have Drizzy’s name on the back of the disc; he really didn’t contribute very much.
“I Be U”
On “I Be U” Future takes an opportunity to express his commitment to be there for those who need him no matter what. His loyalty is unbreakable to those he loves and you can pull that from how he lyrically romanticizes in this love letter to the listener. I’m not normally known for enjoying soft tracks but this is the type of song that makes you want to stand on a mountain and confess the love you have for your significant other. If you are attending any weddings this summer don’t be surprised if “I Be U” comes on at some point during the reception. The concept of being so into someone your lives meld together might be a little creepy, but if anyone can pull it off it’s Future. Who needs Rihanna to write a loveeee song?
“Covered N Money”
“Covered N Money” is another single we got to hear before the release of the album but this repetitive track doesn’t do it for me at all. There are a handful of other selections that could have made the final cut and I’m really surprised they decided to add this one to their promotional campaign. Not the worst song I’ve ever heard but at this point Honest is firing on all cylinders and “Covered N Money” just doesn’t keep up quality wise. Future really could have done more with the instrumental Sonny Digital provided.
“Special” featuring Young Scooter
Here is an incredibly pleasant surprise that didn’t appear on the free album stream for some reason or another but thankfully landed on the final version of the disc. Future teams up with FBG affiliate Young Scooter on a painfully relatable track about having unmotivated people in your circle. This duo has been working together for years and on the adequately-titled “Special” we finally see the fruits of their labor. This seems like a mixtape joint that was so good they couldn’t leave it off his for-sale project, which is supported by the fact they didn’t even want to give you a free listen before the project dropped.
“Benz Friendz (Watchutola)” featuring Andre 3000
Give the man his million dollars. Future enlists the services of legendary Atlanta rapper Andre 3000 for much more than a rare verse on “Benz Friendz (Watchutola).” This track is a call for women to step their game up, provide for themselves and not rely on a man to give them the materialistic lifestyle that they desire. Future managed to link up with Andre through his cousin Rico Wade, a member of production group Organized Noize who crafted every beat on OutKast‘s debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Just incredible.
“Blood, Sweat, Tears”
Future delivers an uplifting track in “Blood, Sweat, Tears” as he describes the various struggles along his rise to fame. This joint features a goosebump rendering chorus and some incredibly introspective lyrics. If this doesn’t inspire you to go out and get more for yourself I don’t know what song will. Send this to radio immediately, this is the 2014 “Turn On The Lights.” “Blood, Sweat, Tears” is also the final track on the standard edition of the project, but the fun doesn’t stop there.
“Big Rube Speaks”
Getting started with the deluxe edition bonus tracks, a skit really wasn’t what I was looking for after getting amped up from “Blood, Sweat, Tears.” Regardless, Future enlisted the services of Big Rube (known for intros for the likes of Bubba Sparxxx, Goodie Mob, Killer Mike, OutKast and more) to set us up for the remainder of the project.
“Side Effects” is the type of record that if you play it too many times around your female friends you might end up with a new girl and not even know how. Future really dedicated this section of his album to the fairer sex but men can still be thankful for some new tunes to help them pick their game up when they are getting it in.
I’d pay the extra money for this incredibly catchy song.
“I’ll Be Yours”
Another poppy track from Future in “I’ll Be Yours” didn’t feel like what should come at this point in the project but it’s saving grace is how different it is than the other love ballads. Diversity seems to be the name of the game. Nothing substantial here but a nice listen regardless.
“How Can I Not” featuring Young Scooter
How can you not love this song? Future links up with his partner in crime Young Scooter once again for a Metro Boomin-produced collaboration we previously heard via DJ Esco‘s exceptional No Sleep mixtape. I was already blasting this at insanely high decibel levels and I can’t see how I’m going to stop any time soon. The only thing that could possibly make “How Can I Not” better is a video.“Sh!t”
“Sh!t” was one of the first offerings we got from Honest, its video being released last September. From what I remember there wasn’t a single person displeased with this banger and the heavily remixed track even got some extra verses courtesy of Juicy J and Drake. Despite having heard this song in excess of 100 times prior to the release of Honest, I still think it was only fair to include an effort of this caliber on the tracklist, as a bonus record or not. The title definitely doesn’t describe this Mike Will Made It-produced single.
“Karate Chop (Remix)” featuring Lil Wayne
Last but not least is another familiar track “Karate Chop” featuring Lil Wayne. This is a perfect way to close out your local drug dealer’s new favorite compact disc. He’s already been moving packs to this one for months but once you cop the LP you can feel bad ass like you’re riding around chopping bricks like karate too. It would have been nice to see a couple new verses thrown on top of this but I really can’t complain as is. These two also appeared on the incredibly popular “Love Me” single with Drake early last year, watch the video for that here.
So there you have it a 18-track album with a diverse variety of material. Although Honest may not appeal to mainstream listeners on every single track, Future does a great job of catering to two markets. Whether it’s in the streets or on the radio you are likely to hear a lot of songs off this album around your city for quite some time to come. I’m a big Future fan but I admit I’ve put his studio debut Pluto on the shelf in favor of some of his less poppy projects, however Honest fills in some of the blanks and carries a lot more replay value from start to finish. An early contender for album of the year, Future‘s sophomore effort will likely finish somewhere near the top of many lists regardless of what else the rap game has to offer in 2014. When it’s all said and done, you must acknowledge how overwhelmingly talented Future is.
Pros: The incredible beat selection and variety of guest appearances leaves everyone with something they can enjoy. Future giving a nod to Casino on his album speaks volumes to the faith he has in the up-and-comer’s music, tossing the FBG representative into the limelight amid a bevy of big name features. On the same song, Pharrell spit some completely out of character fire, adding his appeal to a somehow even wider audience. There is plenty of good material on Honest making it hard to predict which tracks we will see turned into singles next. “My Momma,” “Benz Friendz,” “Never Satisfied,” and “Special” all pack a hard enough punch to do well on their own and when you put them together you get an album that stands out in all aspects with plenty of crossover appeal. After allegedly making bold claims that his music affects people more than Drake‘s, Future definitely delivered an emotional project and his ear for writing hits goes unparalleled in 2014. Less is more this time around and Honest‘s simplicity is likely to help it commercially.
Cons: Surprisingly I find myself missing Future‘s now, projectless single, “Real & True” featuring Miley Cyrus and Mr. Hudson. Miley had a bit of a run at the end of last year and I thought the song was strong enough make the final cut. Perhaps a little ahead of its time, I’m really puzzled why they bothered crafting it at all if not for this album. Most people would see this is a pro, but we’ve already heard the track and seen the video so why not include it? Apparently Miley didn’t go over as well as she had hoped.
The lyrics can be repetitive and simple at times throughout Honest but the incredibly melodies are hard to pass up. Although it isn’t likely to be a classic, Future‘s sophomore attempt is still a nice progression from previous efforts and makes me excited for try number three.
Buy Honest via : iTunes / Amazon
Follow Future via: Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud
I put my “Blood, Sweat, Tears” into this album review and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave a comment with your own assessment of the project. No one ever agrees with a review 100% but I’ve always thought that the beauty of music is that people CAN interpret it differently… I was just being honest.
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Additionally, congratulations to Future and Ciara who are expecting their first child very soon. Hopefully this one moves enough units to cop a golden baby rattle.
BONUS: Win (2) free tickets to see Future at Sound Academy in Toronto.
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More Honest Reviews: Consequence Of Sound / The Boom Box / Complex / Rolling Stone / Pitchfork / Spin / Nappy Afro / HipHopDX