For as impressive as Future’s releases and accolades are, what does this all really mean? Between his self-titled release last Friday and the release of HNDRXX today, he has released 34 songs in two weeks with just 2 features (shout out Rihanna and the Weeknd). The internet is praising his work and Future himself tweeted he has the number 1 AND 2 albums in the world right now….and that’s coming straight from the almighty Billboard.com. But how amazing is this accomplishment, really?
For starters, he will become the FIRST ACT EVER to have the number 1 and 2 spots on the Billboard 200 if all holds as it is now. He moved a nice 150K units (or their equivalents) in his first week with FUTURE and I wouldn’t doubt if his first-week numbers for HNDRXX reach similar figures. His work ethic is right up there with Kobe and Bill Gates. However, you have to wonder how long this will last.
Take Migos for example, who just released their highly anticipated album, Culture. The album is sticking to the charts. Their single, “Bad & Boujee”, has basically been in the top 5 of the Hot 100 since its release 14 weeks ago. The other 9 singles from the album also charted on the Hot 100. Let’s fast forward to now. “Bad & Boujee” is the only single still holding its own and only 1 of the other aforementioned 9 still sits on the chart. Culture debuted three weeks ago at number 1 and has since dropped one spot per week, currently sitting at 4. The project, though still hanging on to the top 5, will undoubtedly be forgotten by the start of the NBA playoffs. So how will Future’s albums take?
I’d say more of the same. Hip-hop nowadays is about volume, unfortunately not quality. This shows. It’s the “seeing what sticks” mentality that is dominant in hip-hop because the consumers want more, right now. So is Future’s double release impressive? Extremely. How could you not be in awe of his ability to tie TWO projects together in consecutive weeks? It’s almost jaw-dropping he could find enough content to write 34 songs with just two features sprinkled in. Try to find a weakness with this strategy in today’s climate; it’s difficult. However, as a passionate student of this industry, I have to wonder where we draw the line between the hype and his content quality.
Future is a club figure. His music is for dancing with the girl throwing ass and angrily yelling his lyrics at overcrowded parties. It’s for pregaming at your crib before you get hype to his music at the club. Because of this, regardless of content, he will be listened to. Because of this he is a superstar. His credibility is unrivaled in this manner, but this isn’t my argument.
In an era where volume heavily outweighs quality, my argument is about longevity; and not just in the way of an album’s sustained popularity. My question is, will you still be listening to these albums next year or 5 years from now? Will these albums, which paired up at 1 and 2 on the charts, be favored over his other projects? Bottom line; no. Future had little to no competition on his release dates, so it’s only natural listeners gravitate toward the guy who has released mountains of music in the past 12 months. It’s basic math to figure he will have a shot at history by releasing back-to-back albums during the music industry’s slow season. Regrettably, I don’t believe this is his best work. I think it’s just opportunity brilliantly taken advantage of. These albums will not be discussed for their music; they will be remembered as numbers, specifically 1 and 2, that made history. They will not be talked about in 5 years or a decade from now. They will simply just be a benchmark for someone else to top.
Let’s get this straight; I’m not dogging on Future here, it’s just the nature of the beast. He has built an empire and pioneered a sound, possibly an era. He is from, and resides in, the hip-hop capital of the world and fully embodies all that hip-hop is. Unfortunately for Future, it’s an era where what will live on is traded for what will work now.
But what do you think?