By Kristyna Ramirez
Atlanta rapper Future fully embraced his alter-ego “Toxic” in his latest album “I NEVER LIKED YOU.”
Future’s commitment to being the “Toxic King” is what sells his brand and makes his streams go up. However, it may be making his music stale and boring.
Over the past decade, Future has consistently perpetuated toxic masculinity in his music where he raps on the regular about women, substance abuse and the benefits that come with a luxurious lifestyle. Future delivered just that in “I NEVER LIKED YOU,” not that anyone was expecting anything different.
The album starts off with “712PM.” Future opens the track by rapping about sitting inside a luxurious vehicle with under five percent window tint, while he and his crew are scheming to traffic drugs. He throws in the verse “Oh, she don’t like girls, bet this money make a b—- so gay.”
Often on these tracks, Future seems to go through various emotions in one verse, blurring his reality and fantasies. Although it may be confusing to new listeners, since the lyrics are all over the place, his core fanbase gets it. It’s not like they listen to the lyrics anyways, they are mostly there for the turn-up joints and the beats that come with the production.
Speaking of beats, this album would not be the same without the help of valuable producers like Kanye West, Wheezy and ATL Jacob, to name a few. Not to mention the feature collaborations including the talents of Drake, Gunna and Young Thug. Every time they hop on a track together, they are in their bag and deliver nothing but “slaps,” a term used by today’s generation to describe when a song qualifies as excellent or amazing.
One of the best songs on the album is “WAIT FOR U,” featuring Nigerian singer Tems. They slow down the melody to deliver a heartfelt track that revolves around a twisted relationship and drug abuse. Fans on social media were skeptical when they saw the track list from this album because Future’s toxicity does not match with Tems’ soothing and therapeutic voice, but somehow they made it work.
Something special happens whenever Future decides to slow down a track and get vulnerable. It’s ironic that the title of the album is “I NEVER LIKED YOU” when it’s clear in tracks like “WAIT FOR U” and “LOVE YOU BETTER” that he did, in fact, like them at a certain point.
Whenever Future opens up and accepts his emotions, that’s when his fans connect with him on a deeper level since he’s usually pushing the narrative “f— b—-, get money.” It shows that he is human and emotions get the best out of him sometimes, and that’s okay.
“It’s my love from my grandmother make me gentle when I care for you. Tell me you fallin’ out of love, it’s breakin’ my heart in two.”
In this verse from “LOVE YOU BETTER,” Future is expressing how genuine his love is towards his partner. He compares loving them with the same type of love that he has for and was taught by his grandmother. A grandmother’s love is one of a kind and knows no distance. For Future to compare such pure forms of love, it proves that he indeed has a soft side and is not afraid to show his vulnerability with the right person.
Tracks like these are impressive from an organizational and melodic standpoint because, for the most part, mumble rappers, or autotuned rappers, do not know how to make great songs. Future is the opposite of that.
At first impression, “I NEVER LIKED YOU” isn’t anything new. Fans knew what to expect from Future with his toxic bars and gaslighting lyrics. After a few listens, however, this album has the potential to grow on people especially in the right setting.