At this point, the only way that Future can miss is if he deliberately chooses to stop shooting the ball. It’s over half a decade since the Atlanta trap diplomat has catapulted himself into hip-hop’s circle of upper-class superstars and things haven’t been the same since. With his unfathomable work ethic, he has been able to become one of rap’s most revered artists and a prophet for the genre’s chauvinist community. Love him or hate him, but you can’t deny his artistic ability to produce what Andre 3000 has concluded to be “the most negative inspirational music ever.” With his latest album High Off Life, the 36-year-old superstar shows that he has nothing left to prove to anyone that said he was running out of gas. This isn’t another album to represent one of his personas but a celebration to each one of them that’s made his sound so archetypal. This project is a well-deserved salute to his journey and the strained past he’s left behind.
Setting the tone early, the album’s intro “Trapped in the Sun” depicts the rapper as a Thanos looking over the horizon and reflecting after the battle has finally been won. The menacing instrumental is reminiscent of the struggle-filled times he’s endured in order to sit at his throne. Every high-end watch and luxury you see him flaunting is a reward for all the nights he spent down bad. The commemoration of everything he’s paid a price for is a constant theme that plays in the album’s first few songs.
“Ridin Strikers” is a vivid tale that dives back into his days as a street capo atop of a ruan, commonly known as a Chinese guitar, filled with enough adrenaline to commit a felony. While the lyrics tell a story of their own, the production done by Southside and ATL Jacob is one of the album’s highlights. The track’s second half has a beat that is nauseous enough to make you poke your lip out and make a stank face once the transition’s made. Opening up with a news interlude, Pluto bounces and crosses the promethazine dipped beat to propose performing a stickup at a bank.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a classic Future project without its moments energized by toxic masculinity. Since he first made a name for himself, he’s managed to remain remorseless towards audacious life that he maintains. It’s tracks like “Hard to Choose One” that reminds the listener that his playboy spirit runs so deeply within him that providing a commitment to someone is easier said than done.
Standout track “Too Comfortable” alone sounds like Sunday Service at the St. Hendrix AME Church of Misogyny (let the church say amen). Preaching over a beat cold enough to freeze hell over, Pastor Pluto extends the warning that we’re all too nice to tell those we’re romantically involved with. Each bar is scripture pulled from the Book of Future chronicling the platinum rapper with a heart of stone and knack for changing women as often as he changes clothes. The track also provides more understanding as to what makes the man behind the mirror. While you may consider Future’s ways to be unhealthy, the daily trials and tribulations he encounters are what’s responsible for what makes him ruthless.
Gotta light another blunt, yeah, I’m not a publicity stunt, yeah, I done been through more shit this month than a nigga been through in a lifetime
The project has a respectable amount of features and each of them holds their own weight. One that instantly gained traction since it’s release is the exhilarating club thumper “Solitaires” with Houston rapper Travis Scott. Another standout is “Harlem Shake”, a satisfying collaboration with fellow Atlanta rap megastar Young Thug that leaves you craving a Super Slimey sequel *cough cough*. The linkup on “Trillionaires” with Louisiana spitter NBA YoungBoy easily sounds worthy enough to draw comparisons to Bron and Wade playing alongside each other during their Miami dynasty years.
High Off Life is a testament that although Future is living the life he’s sought after for so long, it’s not the day at the beach as many would imagine. All in all, the album is a noteworthy release for the year and is worthy of the champagne glass raise that it paints itself out to be.
Standout Tracks: “Ridin Strikers”, “Too Comfortable”, “Harlem Shake”