'The Wizrd' : Future - Album Review

Nayvadius Wilburn's seventh studio album serves, in more ways than one, as an answer to the numerous critics anticipating a long-awaited solo project from the Atlanta superstar. In just over an hour, Future plays it relatively safe, sticking to his big guns track after track. The Wizrd, as expectedly solid as it is, just isn't as ambitious, nor stylistically creative as classics like DS2, Beast Mode and FUTURE/HNDRXX.



Since Friday's rollout of the largely-anticipated The Wizrd, i've stumbled across numerous reviews, critiques and "first reactions" of the project. Like any other student of the industry, I feel as though few things pale in comparison to the importance that surrounds inspecting/sharing ones opinion in the music community.

One review in particular struck a nerve in me. Yoh Phillips, a journalist for the widely popular DJ Booth, summarized Future's newest creation in one glorious sentence. Upon his initial digestion of the album, Phillips said:

"The WIZRD completes the trio started by FUTURE and HNDRXX. The third addition walks the thin line that kept the previous two releases separate."

After much analysis, Phillip's big "realization", in my eyes, is up for heavy interpretation... but not in the way you would think.

Allow me to reiterate what some of you may have missed me saying in my review's feature paragraph:

I DO NOT dislike this album.

As a matter of fact, I enjoy it quite a lot.

Having said that... I want each and every one of you to stop lying to yourself.

Log off twitter, put your phone down, and listen to this album through one more time.

I'll wait.

Done? Ok, try looking at me with a straight face and tell me this is one of Future's best bodies of work.

Now that we've addressed the elephant in the room, let's revisit that quote from Yoh Phillips - a sentence that will help define my own personal analysis of The Wizrd:

"The WIZRD completes the trio started by FUTURE and HNDRXX. The third addition walks the thin line that kept the previous two releases separate."

Notice the two words I bolded: "thin line". In the context of Phillip's largely positive review of The Wizrd, the album serves as a well formulated combination of the stylistic contrast between FUTURE and HNDRXX - a polished conclusion to what Phillips considers a trilogy.

I very much agree with the statement Phillips made. Like I said before though, it's a pretty general statement. This generality is where I form my differing opinion. Let me explain:

The Wizrd most certainly "walks a thin line" between the sound and sonics that help define the foundations of FUTURE/HNDRXX.

A paper thin... no, razor thin line. A line so thin it feels like it could break at any point over the course of The Wizrd. For much of the album, Future elects to revisit already recognizable styles in a much weaker fashion.

The painful, tearjerking lyrical themes that line the shelves of HNDRXX are here, but they seem significantly less sincere - it's like Future is beating the shit out of an already heartbroken, dead horse.

The codeine-drenched, layer heavy trap instrumentals that fill the pages of FUTURE are also here. Unfortunately, they're "here" the same way Derrick Rose is still wowing the NBA: is he putting up 6MOY numbers? Most definitely... but, as much as we adore this seasons performance - it's not the Windy City Assassin.

There you go, the perfect analogy:


(The Wizrd) = 6MOY Rose

Both are deserving of the award they are slated to receive (or have received). Both can score, and both are universally loved... but one is so clearly better.

With that being said, let's take a look at the positives.

"Jumpin on a Jet", one of the album's pre-release singles and the projects 2nd track is an unavoidably catchy boast by Future - where, over the course of around two minutes, explodes into the listeners headphones with an upbeat, unique tone of voice and flow. This is without a doubt one of my favorites from the body of work.

On "Talk S**t Like a Preacher", Future flips his assault rifle to rapid fire, shredding apart a menacing trap beat without taking a second to slow his wildly-aggressive pace.

"Promise U That", the album's 9th track, sees Tay-Keith dragging his 2018 winning streak into the new year with an infectious instrumental, constructing a beat that allows Future to switch between his trademark cadences with relative ease.

On the back half of The Wizrd, Future conjures up a monster track with "Faceshot". The track's evil, almost industrial synth line is layered under an uptempo drum loop - leaving way for Future to massacre the song from start to finish.

Last, but certainly not least, are the features. Travis Scott kills it. Young Thug kills it. Gunna kills it.

That last positive leaves me with a huge question, however; why in the world weren't there more features? Throughout his long and largely successful solo-discography, Future has largely thrived without a large feature presence.

His relatively consistent independence on his albums has more than certainly worked to this point, but at this point in his musical career, it feels like the Atlanta superstar has less and less to prove each day

This completes the circle that is the outline of my biggest complaint with The Wizrd: the (lack of) inventiveness, the (lack of) experimentation and the (lack of) creativity. We all know without a shadow of a doubt that Future has pretty much mastered the sub-genre that is "new-age trap". That in itself, is one of the reasons why The Wizrd was a little bit of a disappointment.

The Astronaut Kid has staked his claim in a widely popular corner of the world of rap music, conquering psychedelic trap anthems, heart-wrenching R&B ballads and beat-flipping, baby-kicking bangers.

All these elements that make Future great are present on The Wizrd, but they are as repetitive as they are shallow when compared to his best albums to date.

As always, music is subjective, so maybe i'm missing something?

Maybe my ears are clogged.

Maybe, just maybe, i'm having a stroke (slick Chris D'Elia reference).

I just checked though, and my ears are most definitely not plugged, nor is half of my face numb, so my opinion stands: The Wizrd is, more times than not, a watered down extension of the Atlanta mainstay's more memorable albums. As enjoyable as it is, The Wizrd opts to "please" rather than "wow" consumers.

So, what does the future hold for... well... Future? I, for one, am a firm believer in Future's musical talent, which is why The Wizrd was one, 20-track groan for me. Before it's all said and done, I hope we get some more musical experimentation from Fire Marshal Future - a move that i'm certain will cement his legacy.

-Carter Ferryman-