Linnabary: ‘Hndrxx’ splashes color into Future’s icy-grey world

March 5, 2017

“When you get high enough, you can dodge raindrops.”

Substance abuse is a journey down a dark tunnel that, if left untreated, culminates in total blackness.

Interspersed down that tunnel are rays of light, some bright, some flickering. They keep the addict tunneling deeper down.

“Hndrxx,” Future’s second album in two weeks, is a blinding sun in the darkness.

It stands in stark contrast to “Future,” a one-note Hedonistic tale we’ve heard a million times from the Atlanta rapper. This one’s bright and inviting: Future wants to share his stash, not rob the dealer.

The albums both went No. 1, making Future the first artist in history to have two different No. 1 albums two weeks in a row, so it’s only right Future sounds so happy on “Hndrxx.”

When you speak from your soul it sound like you singing.”

— Future

Sure, he kicks off the album by spinning a heartless, stalker-esque tale of “his collection,” meaning all the girls he’s had sex with … even, as he specifies, the ones he “only hit once.”

After getting that sour out of his system, though, “Hndrxx” is the most human and caring album the warbling auto-tuner has released since 2014’s “Honest,” the criminally underrated crossover attempt that resulted in Future doubling down on his trap-schtick.

Just hear him bare his soul on “Use Me,” maybe the closest he’s come to straight up R&B: “These tools are for you to use me,” he urgently assures, auto-tuned voice cracking under the strain.

Maybe Future has realized his flaws and self-absorbedness — on “Incredible,” he starts by admitting “I was havin’ trust issues/But I’ve been havin’ way better luck since you.”

Sure, he hasn’t completely ditched his old ways.

He’s still mumbling his words, still seeing the world through glossy red eyes. The songs are about the same things: drugs, sex, money — you know the drill — and they boil down to the same song structures and lyrical tendencies Future has relied on as his crutch for years.

But it’s all about the tone in which these themes are presented. If previous releases were defined by their abrasive coldness, “Hndrxx” is defined by its warmer, friendlier vibe.

It’s important to stress this is in comparison to previous Future projects. Future’s still the same womanizing drug addict — but on “Hndrxx,” he has a good day.

Final grade: B




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