DS2 (Deluxe)

DS2 (Deluxe)

The hiss of liquid poured over ice, an eerie Metro Boomin guitar line, and a hypnotic rhyme—“Dirty soda, Spike Lee, white girl, Ice T, fully loaded AP”—that sounds like an arcane magic spell: That’s how Future opens his exquisitely toxic third album, right before he casually drops the year’s most twisted footwear-related flex. DS2 was released during the peak of summer 2015, back when the rapper’s buzz had never been bigger, thanks to the runaway success of his recent mixtape trilogy (Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights). The triumphant DS2—announced the week before its release—would serve as the capstone of Future’s antihero’s journey, one that he spells out on the fiendish “I Serve the Base”: “Tried to make me a pop star/And they made a monster.” The paradox of DS2—short for “Dirty Sprite”—is that it’s an album of wall-to-wall rippers dedicated to all sorts of depraved pleasures, over the course of which one begins to suspect its protagonist is having very little fun. “Best thing I ever did was fall out of love,” Future croaks on “Kno the Meaning,” an oral history of his comeback year. And while heartbreak has clearly done wonders for his creativity, the hedonism seems to be having diminishing returns: Never before have dalliances with groupies or strip-club acid trips sounded more like karmic punishments. As a result, the lifestyle captured on DS2 is better to listen to than to live through, thanks to massive-sounding beats from a murderer’s row of Atlanta producers—including Metro Boomin, Southside, and Zaytoven—that range from “moody” to “downright evil.” Still, whether or not Future sounds happy on DS2, he does have plenty to celebrate: After all, in less than a year he’d flooded the market with enough top-shelf music to sustain entire careers. As he points out during the conclusion of “Kno the Meaning”: “My hard work finally catching up with perfect timing.”

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