Best 7 Projects of the 1st Quarter of 2017

Future – HNDRXX

Written by Eyeless // Twitter @EyelessSilas

Stream HNDRXX via Apple Music

An ominous warning in the form of two tweets at the top of 2017 served as a precursor to the madness that would ensue. Starting off the New Year with such harsh brevity left many fans wondering what would be in store for the months to come. New features? New loosies? New mixtapes?  After a quiet month-long moratorium, Pluto re-appeared on February 17th when his eponymous studio album invaded our speakers and headphones. FUTURE, his 4th retail project in a row to debut Number 1 on the Billboard 200, provided some context to the true meaning behind his tweets from early January.

Also foreshadowed by his appearance on Drake’s, Future’s, Drake’s 2016 single “Grammys,” (I don’t want to talk to you has-beens // I don’t want features from nan them // I don’t want features or nothin’ // You can’t even get on my guest list), a rejuvenated Future had 17 Trap-style tracks without any features. The result: a solid collection of new favorites such as “Draco,” “Mask Off,” and Feds Did a Sweep,” that will be remembered amongst fans for years to come. Unannounced drops have been the exceedingly popular trend of late in the music industry. A 60+ minute project of new material, especially one with the consensus of favorability, is usually enough to keep die-hards satiated annually.

Picture Source – A1 / Freebandz / Epic

However, with the celerity of an Astronaut breaking through the Earth’s atmosphere at Mach speed, Future shocked the hip-hop world by releasing HNDRXX, exactly one week after his self-titled CD hit the streets. He actually dethroned himself from the regal position of Number 1 on Billboard for his 5th straight chart-topping effort. January’s cryptic tweets served as a cautionary reminder and a pre-emptive strike to those trying to bite his one-of-a-kind sound. There are many imitators that try to emulate Navadius‘ aural aesthetic, but there will only be one Future. With these projects dropping back-to-back, he rightfully reclaimed his spot atop the throne of Atlanta, the epicenter of Trap music.

With FUTURE and HNDRXX, all aspects of Trap’s distinct and particular sounds are covered in a collective span of 2 hours. While aggressive and debaucherous raps filled up the majority of the former, a more honest, reflective, and emotional side was evident in the latter. HNDRXX, the stronger project of the two, is a testament to Future‘s versatile approach when it comes to recording: he can devastate with a blitzkrieg flow as a spitter then seamlessly transition into an auto-tuned crooner whose vocals will pierce through your stereo. A majority tracks on HNDRXX feature Future, the singer, leading many to classify it as his twist on a RnB album from yesteryear.

He effortlessly vacillates between traditional rapping and conventional RnB which, in turn, creates an extremely intriguing finished product. The man’s ear for beats is another asset that he has in his overwhelming arsenal. Teaming up with usual suspects such as Metro Boomin’, Southside, and Dre Moon provided Future with a wide-ranging, familiar, yet updated Trap soundtrack for him to roam across. “Hallucinating” is an ethereal production that truly captures the essence of the title. If Purgatory had one song playing on a continuous loop, it’s most certainly this.  Standout hits like “Coming Out Strong,” featuring The Weeknd, “Lookin’ Exotic,” and “Incredible,” are sure to be frequented on millions of playlists for Summer Seventeen.

But the transparency displayed in “Damage” and “Sorry”  are the major highlights of the album, showing his full display of his range in artistry. Yes, problematic drug use and other vices are prominently included in both, but realizing that they are a detriment is a sign of his gradual maturity. After sparse memorable moments from a lackluster run in 2016, Future bounced right back in 2017, sounding revitalized and more focused than ever. Rumors about album release for the 3rd consecutive week in February were dispelled as quickly as they were raised. That’s not to say that Future Hendrix doesn’t have more material that he’s sitting on. It’s only the end of the First Quarter; who knows, he may have several more projects in store for the remaining 3 Quarters.

Yeah, ain’t really mean to hurt you
Sorry it’s gotta be this way
Ain’t mean to try to desert you
Sorry, tryna be this way
Ain’t really mean to hurt you

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