Album Review: DS2
Future is an artist I've never been the biggest fan of, which is a shame considering the vast amounts of praise he gets from fans of trap music. His music did not bore or annoy me like it does for some who despise all things trap, but it simply left no impact on me. Despite this, I continued to try his music. Eventually his 2015 essential, DS2, grew on me, to the point I can call it one of my favourite trap albums, and my favourite project I've heard from Future thus far.
The album has a great opening with 'Thought It Was a Drought'. While the instrumental is nothing special compared to the more colourful production heard later on the album, Future has some hilarious lyrics and he sounds so alive with his performance. It's not the most impactful opener I've ever heard, but it sets the tone and establishes the album's sound perfectly.
This is followed by one of my favourites on the album, 'I Serve the Base'. The instrumental is one of my favourite in trap music, with distorted 808s over a gritty and harsh bassline, and faint samples of screaming underneath. This is followed up by 'Where Ya At', featuring Drake. This is one of the album's low points. Though it isn't outright terrible, it's mediocre compared to the songs around it. Future has such a tired, lazy delivery which does not interest me at all. Drake's feature on the back half of the track doesn't engage me either as he maintains that same careless tone of voice. The hook comes off as monotonous and, overall, the album would have been stronger with this song cut from the track-listing.
After that low point, the album picks back up and an amazing run of tracks follow. The eight track run from 'Groupies' to 'Colossal' is incredible. On 'Groupies', Future sounds so passionate, almost shouting over the heavy bass and wailing synths. The repetitive hook is hyped up by the adlibs in the background, making this such an energetic track, unlike 'Where Ya At' where the hook comes off as irritating.
'Lil One' is another song in contention for my favourite on the album. I love the softer, spacey production which builds and builds as the hook repeats. The repetition of "Lil one!" in the background is so catchy and hypnotises me in the song's sound. It's an excellent track with perfect production, great lyrics, and another impassioned performance from Future. All the same praise goes to the next track, 'Stick Talk', which may not be as strong lyrically, but his energy over the grand production is phenomenal.
'Freak Hoe' has such spacey production with synths layered each other - it sounds like a beat Playboi Carti could use perfectly, but Future handles it well. 'Rotation' isn't as exciting as the tracks prior, but it's still a solid track. It's not one where I have many aspects to criticise; rather, I just don't have enough things to praise about it.
'Slave Master', again, is solid enough, but the instrumental and lyrics don't impress me as much as the album's best highlights. Conversely, 'Blow a Bag' is another great track, with Future using these strange vocal inflections in his voice on the hook which add to the song's hypnotic sound. 'Colossal' is also great, with layers of piano, bass, adlibs, and 808s creating such a dense and memorable instrumental.
While the album originally ends on the decent 'Blood On the Money', the deluxe version carries on with five more songs. One of the standout tracks is 'Kno the Meaning', where we hear Future at his most emotional and personal on the album. The sombre piano production adds to the tone as he describes when his friend DJ Esco was jailed for fifty-six nights in Dubai, resulting in Future losing the hard drive containing all his new music and forcing him to start the album process from the beginning again.
The deluxe album ends on an incredible high with 'Fuck Up Some Commas'. It's such an addictive banger with an infectious hook and loud production with blaring horns. It's the perfect track to end the album, sticking in my head for hours after and reinforcing how great Future's music can be.
At its best, DS2 is as colourful and detailed as its album cover, with abrasive production, impassioned vocals and addictive hooks. The low points are few and far between, with the only notable tracks which left no impression on me being 'Where Ya At' and 'Rich $ex'. However, the highlights of this album far outweigh the low points, with amazing tracks like 'I Serve the Base' and 'Lil One' showing just how amazing Future's music can be. If the album were trimmed down by a few tracks, and if some of the shorter tracks were a little more memorable and unique, this would be perfect. But as it is, DS2 is still a great record, and one I'll continue to listen to over and over.
Fav Tracks: I Serve the Base, Lil One, Stick Talk, Colossal, Fuck Up Some Commas