Written by Craig MacDonald
The best rapper alive, the best rapper in the past decade, the most consistent rapper of the decade; these are some of the titles used to describe Future and his current standing in the game. After over 23 projects spanning across a decade and dozens of broken records, Future has solidified his spot amongst the all-time greats and I’m here to give him those flowers. On first listen of I NEVER LIKED YOU I knew it was a special record. From ignorant trap bangers to soft R&B, Future gave us a taste of all of his different styles in one project.
The intro “712PM” (prod. TM88, Wheezy and more) starts with a chilling buildup leading into a bass drop that set the tone for the album. The song mainly samples a Japanese artist by the name Aura Qualic, which is heard in the instrumentals background vocals. Future’s energy in his verses and in his tone of voice sound hungry and motivated like he’s still on the grind. He continues to find new pockets and flows over beats, and really flexes his rapping ability all over this song. 712PM left me with a permanent stank face that would last the entire album, he never misses on intros. “I’M DAT *****” (prod. Southside and more) immediately continued where the last song left off. The way Future approached the fast-paced instrumental made the song sound so smooth. The main message of this song is that Future is HIM, and he’s got more money, cars and hoes than you. “KEEP IT BURNIN (feat. Kanye West prod. ATL Jacob)” was originally released on Kanye’s Stemplayer during the Donda 2 rollout which was never fully finished. The song was a demo and completely unfinished with empty spots for verses and mumbled verses from Kanye. They ended up repurposing the song for Future’s album, tweaking the beat a little bit and finishing the verses. I really like Kanye’s parts on this track in certain areas, especially the hook, but his verse at the start feels a little off. Meanwhile Future was in his element, sliding like usual. The instrumental gives off insane vibes, without the drums it’s like a theatric experience that adds a layer of intensity. “FOR A NUT (feat. Gunna & Young Thug prod. ATL Jacob)” is the fourth song featuring this legendary Atlanta trio greeted by another crazy beat from ATL Jacob. “PUFFIN ON ZOOTIES” (prod. Nils, TooDope & TM88) is one of, if not the best song on this album and one of the best songs of the year by any artist. The long chorus transitions into both verses seamlessly without even noticing. Future slowly progresses from a slow, soft, laid-back flow into a passionate, higher-pitched tone pushing his vocal range to the max. The beat is nothing short of mesmerizing, it compliments Future’s flow as they both progress to a climax. When Future switches from his first flow to his second, the beat also adds extra strings to compliment the energy shift. “GOLD STACKS” (prod. DMC Global) the first two lines of the song “step on a ***** in some all white ones” reference 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s “Steppin on ******” from their most recent collab album Savage Mode 2. This is a very fast-paced track that Future eats up like it’s nothing. “WAIT FOR U” (feat. Drake & Tems Prod. ATL Jacob, 1SRAEL, Sonic Major, FNZ & Tejiri) first off, I’d like to acknowledge that Tems vocals on this song are actually sampled from her own song titled “Higher” released on her 2020 album For Broken Ears. Future tweeted out “Soon as I heard the Tems sample over ATL Jacob, Instantly connected to my soul”. And soulful the song was, it can be described as what people call a ‘deep cut’. Future and Drake open up about their complicated relationships being superstar rappers always being on the road, in the studio, or working on other things. The song quickly became a worldwide hit as it went #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 4th and is now 2x platinum as of July 27th. “LOVE YOU BETTER” (Prod. ATL Jacob, Jayla Darden & DNZ) Future really hit us with back-to-back R&B deep cuts.. On first listen, I was in shambles. He got in his singing bag and turned in one of the best performances on the album. The hooks just sings out in a beautiful cry, “You tellin’ me you fallin’ out of love with me”. If you’ve ever been in love, or in a relationship, this song immediately puts you right back into those feelings. Reading this you might think I’m the one in pain but I’m sure more people can relate. When I saw Future perform this song at Rolling Loud Miami it was like I just got hit by a truck. I need another full album of R&B Future, he continues to prove how versatile he is with the genre. “MASSAGING ME” (Prod. ATL Jacob & Bonesxspitta) The album quickly transitions back to his classic ignorant trap sound with another fast-paced, hard-hitting instrumental. Future brags about his sexual experiences, jewelry, jets, clothing and the usual. “CHICKENS” (feat. EST Gee prod. Wheezy & Dez Wright) Future and EST Gee trade crazy verses over this insane beat made by Wheezy. This is one of my personal favourite songs on the album, the replay value highlights this one. EST Gee is an amazing upcoming rapper who has a lot of potential and being on this Future album certainly helps his case. “WE JUS WANNA GET HIGH” (Prod. Southside & ATL Jacob) Fire, fire, fire. Future is RAPPING all over this album, put some respect on his name. The slight addition of the flute really gave it that classic Future sound. You can’t not bob your head to this shit. “VOODOO” (feat. Kodak Black prod. Southside & Henney Major) Future recruited Florida legend Kodak Black for this melodic track backed up by vocals from Kaash Paige. Kodak talks about Demons and Angels in the chorus as he says, “he came in girl form, so pretty, I fell for it, it felt like I known her. I pray to the angels but the devil is stronger.” “HOLY GHOST” (prod. ATL Jacob) is probably one of the hardest songs on this album with hard-hitting bass and intense beat progressions. You can hear synths being added, and then choir vocals in a build-up type progression which gives the song an experience and a few extra layers. The song is just one full verse of Future rapping his ass off. “THE WAY THINGS GOING” (prod. TM88 & DaanMakesBeats) is another addition to the melodic side of this album, with a smooth instrumental and an emotional Future flow. He reflects on his difficult past, and the journey it took to get here, then flexes his current superstar lifestyle. “I’M ON ONE” (feat. Drake prod. Torey Montana) is the second song on the album featuring Drake and it’s the complete opposite of the first one. This song features Future & Drake broadcasting their love for drugs, women, and jewelry or a fast-paced, 808-heavy, trap beat. “BACK TO THE BASICS” (prod. JOY., Bass Charity, Dre Moon, Wavy & A1) is the outro of the album and it’s perfectly placed. It’s another slow, vulnerable song from Future that hits you right in the gut. The line that stood out the most was this one, “after I fuck you, let me cry on your shoulder”. He opens up again about his past relationships and heartbreak, a topic a lot of rappers don’t like to talk about. It’s nice to hear someone like Future use his music as therapy and get those feelings out into his music.
This album is living proof of Future’s longevity in the rap game and a testament to his long-time consistency. Its replay value has held up for months now, and it gets better every time I listen to it. It will be highly regarded on Album of The Year lists to close out 2022, especially on mine.
712PM – 10/10
I’M DAT ***** – 9/10
KEEP IT BURNIN (feat. Kanye West) – 8/10
FOR A NUT (feat. Gunna & Young Thug) – 8/10
PUFFIN ON ZOOTIES – 10/10
GOLD STACKS – 9/10
WAIT FOR U (feat. Drake & Tems) – 10/10
LOVE YOU BETTER – 10/10
MASSAGING ME – 8/10
CHICKENS (feat. EST Gee) – 10/10
WE JUS WANNA GET HIGH – 10/10
VOODOO (feat. Kodak Black) – 8/10
HOLY GHOST – 9/10
THE WAY THINGS GOING – 9/10
I’M ON ONE (feat. Drake) – 9/10
BACK TO THE BASICS – 9/10