Saturday, March 28, 2015
FUTURE, YOU THE REAL SADBOY!
I ain't sayin he's Pharoahe Monch, but people underrate Future's skill as a rapper and lyricist. And as much as I'd like to, I can't cast blame or name names on that oversight. Though one of my favorite rappers of recent memory, I can only understand maybe 75% of what he says through all the autotune and mumbling. Everything is steeped in an abstruse ATLien argot, which can make it hard to tell what's a non-sequitur and what would be intelligible to an insider. For once, I can't hate too much on the shortbus jockeys over at Rap GED. Future's world can be disorienting.
Monster and Beast Mode were received with a strange lack of enthusiasm, but their best parts hinted at the pervasive darkness of 56 Nights. "Codeine Crazy" is an addict's diary, even if lazy listeners just read the title and assumed it was another love song to purple drank. Ain't sure if Yams's last tweet was referring to that joint, but Future is one of the few voices honest about the costs/benefits of the candied heroin.
Future always made music for the night: now his nights are bleak. The sadboys made depression into a zany lightweight meme, but Future's subtle way of redeploying old tropes makes 56 Nights more than coffee-house whining over 808s. Although he raps about the same fast/high life shit, he consistently undercuts the lifestyle with the kind of surprising insight that established him as writer of uncommon emotional complexity. He ain't really enjoying the rock-star life anymore, the pursuit of stimulation having now hardened into monotony and dependence. In the quaint days of Astronaut Status he was braggin 'bout havin a bitch in every city, but ya mans ain't swashbucklin like that no more. It's a record of self-disgust and morning-after regrets. If I was a therapist I'd say, "Yo, Future, when you bonin all these skeezers, I think you're really trying to plug the hole in your soul," then I'd look up from my notepad with my eyebrows arched in a provocative manner, a pen resting on the corner of my creepy smirk like a phallic symbol.
The title track is the apotheosis of 56 Nights' jaded self-destruction, a litany of dissolution wherein our narrator fucks 56 crazy broads in one month; gets "too faded" off Xanax, drank, and molly; hangs out with crack babies; and rides in the back of a paddywagon feeling numb. There's more to it than this, but the downer raps of 56 Nights capture a very specific break-up fallout: when you're going out every night getting wasted and you wake up in a bed with a stranger whose name you can't remember and shame coursing through your veins and you know you're destroying your mind and body but nothing really matters anyway so you keep punishing yourself to see how far it can all go before the inevitable day of reckoning. Rejoice, Future has made a record for that! Fans of brevity and producer-driven albums will also be pleased. 10 tracks, an intro skit, laced mainly by Southside's bleak industrial soundscapes.
4/5 Crying Van Der Beeks