Future Hendrix is the godfather of trap music; he officially snatched this title from Gucci Mane in 2015 with the release of his most widely celebrated album, DS2. His godsons include the un-catchable Playboi Carti, the genre-bending Lil Uzi Vert (if Uzi is Baby Pluto, then Future is Poppa Pluto!), and every other auto-tuned all-star that rap has to offer. With his newest album, High Off Life, Future sets himself even further apart from his contemporaries. He takes the formulas modulated from his two 2019 projects, Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD and SAVE ME, and perfects them on his newest LP.
If Drake is Michael Jordan, then Future is Scottie Pippen. A one-of-a-kind, All-NBA player who does things that others simply can’t; they might attempt to, but they won’t ever have the natural appeal that Hendrix does. It’s an intuitive thing, his toxic charisma. He connects with his listeners on a personal note through his honesty on tracks like “Throw Away”, “Kno the Meaning”, and “Solo”. This is an intriguing combination with the separation he creates with his listeners on all-out extravagant tracks where he brags about crocodile Burberry bags, his relationship to Emilio Pucci grails, and his addiction to HiTek. However, his drive, ambition, and ability to motivate anybody who’s willing to decipher his lyrics is perhaps his most outstanding talent aside from his intoxicatingly raspy vocal register.
High Off Life is layered with upper echelon lyrics celebrating high-end fashion. Everywhere the listener steps on the album, they’re destined to run into a Jimmy Choo, Maybach, or penthouse reference, and that’s just “Touch the Sky” alone (one of the two 10/10 tracks on the project).
“Trapped in the Sun” (8.9/10)
Future missing on an intro track is like LeBron James missing a wide-open dunk on a fast break - it just doesn’t happen, and if it does, then it’s a shocker (see “Thought it was a Drought”, “Never Stop”, “Radical”, “My Collection”, “Ain’t No Time”, “Digital Dash”, “Never Gon Lose”, “All Right”, “Rent Money” and “WIFI LIT”). “Trapped in the Sun” is much like a lot of Future’s other tracks; a celebration of how far he’s made it in the world while also elaborating on the recipe that’s gotten him to his position as an A-list artist and Drake’s most successful collaborator.
“HiTek Tek” (8.2/10)
A catchy club-tune with a sporadic high-key piano instrumental, courtesy of ATL Jacob, as a worthy background to Future’s demonic flow.
“Touch the Sky” (10/10)
One of my two favorite tracks on the project. From the moment I heard the “Southside on the track” tag, I knew that it was over. That’s not to say that every Southside beat is a success, but Future’s delivery over this one in particular is a healthy reminder that if he ever peaked, then he’s still riding that wave.
“Solitaires” featuring Travis Scott (9.3/10)
Future brings the best out of Travis. Scott sounds 10x more under the influence every time he hops on a track with Future (“3500” he’s on mass amounts of ecstasy and adderall, “First Off” he’s clearly a 2-liter of promethazine deep). That’s not to say that I’m rooting for Travis to continue his drug-riddled life considering the fact that he’s the father to Stormi now, but sometimes drugs do benefit art.
“Ridin Strikers” (8/10)
Reminiscent of the delivery on his self-titled album FUTURE. “Tell me, how am I supposed to be sober in my interview?” and, “Won’t enjoy life if it ain’t toxic,” plus a Game of Thrones reference with a nod to the intolerable King Joffrey. Who the fuck would’ve imagined that Future had the attention span to sit through all of GoT? I wonder how he felt about the last two seasons. I prefer the first half to the second, where his tone doesn’t necessarily fit the somewhat melancholy instrumental. It sounds like somebody who was really drunk stumbled into an abandoned movie theater.
“One of My” (9.1/10)
I have an important question that comes with this track… HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE SUPER FIRE FIRE MARSHALL FUTURE HENDRIX THE WIZARD? It’s tracks like these that remind you of the modernized mob life Future is the head of. He’s Henry Hill without the snitch gene. Michael Corleone with the omertà.
“Posted with Demons” (8.4/10)
A sequel to its predecessor track, “Came off the block, I was posted with demons, you ain’t did the shit I did.”
“Hard to Choose One” (10/10)
THIS. THIS IS THE ONE. Much like my response to “Touch the Sky”, I knew this track was going to be an all-time adrenaline rush when I heard the “808 Mafia” tag. What I didn’t know was how simultaneously smooth and hard Hendrix’s flow was going to be. He effortlessly spits some of the best bars of his career throughout the track. You can tell that the day he recorded this was one of those days where his shooting was Klay Thompson-esque. 16/19 from the field, 8/10 from three, two dribbles max, and only 28 minutes of playing time.
“Trillionaire” featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again (8.1/10)
I don’t condone any YBNBA content, but Future put him on the track, so whatever. Decent track. My work is done here.
“Harlem Shake” featuring Young Thug (8.9/10)
I have never, I repeat NEVER, heard Thug’s voice at this register. I’ve heard his high notes scrape the ceiling (pretty much every track), and his chopped-not-slopped, slow-mo voice (“Love Me Forever” on the Slime Season 2 deluxe edition), but I have never heard what seems like his most life-like register. And I fucking LOVED it. This track would’ve earned itself a 10 if Future could’ve matched that shock factor.
“Up the River” (8.5/10)
This is one of those songs that belongs in the “songs that could make rappers cry if they all listened to it while congregated in some sort of hip-hop temple” category.
“Pray for a Key” (9/10)
Same ^, but for totally different reasons.
“Too Comfortable” (8.7/10)
The classic acoustic guitar instrumental that should totally be the background to an episode of Rick Dalton’s Bounty Law, but is instead snatched by Future for toxic purposes. You truly gotta love it.
“All Bad” featuring Lil Uzi Vert (9.1/10)
I was pretty disappointed in Future’s appearance on Uzi’s “Wassup”, but I’m thankful that the two came back together for this magic track that simply makes me smile. I wish they’d collaborate more because I need more Uzi lines like, “Got a bitch look just like Rih Rih”.
“Outer Space Bih” (9.7/10)
WOAH WOAH WOAH.
“Accepting My Flaws”: 9.8/10
Much like Future’s consistency with his intro tracks, his outro tracks never fail to hit either (see “Kno the Meaning”, “Sorry”, “Codeine Crazy”, “Love Thy Enemies”, “HATE THE REAL ME”). An excellent closer to the album, and a great place for Future leave to his loyal followers at.