In the tail end of 2014, Future released a mixtape so groundbreaking that it managed to catapult him into an entirely new tier of superstardom. I won’t front; I did not listen to him prior to “Monster.” But holy shit, I couldn’t be more happy to have made the switch to a listening experience that comes off as posh and gangster as anyone else.
With earth-shattering hits like “March Madness” and “Fuck Up Some Commas” to overlooked deep cuts like “No Compadre” and “Showed Up,” there is nothing that Future hasn’t been capable of showcasing over the past few years.
Here, ranked, are his seven best projects since he burst onto the scene four years ago.
7. “Purple Reign” (2016)
It sucks that I’m basically forced to start with this one because I was genuinely never a fan of it. I would put “Dirty Sprite” here, “Streets Callin,” hell, even that “No Sleep” tape. But those older mixtapes don’t happen to fall in line with these releases over the past four years. Having said that, it doesn’t take away from the most impeccable song that he has arguably ever released in his life.
“Run Up” is the Atlanta trapper’s true tour de force. The pièce de résistance. The magnum opus of everything he’d been working on up until this point in time, two years ago. In his own words, everything seems different when you spark a blunt up. How poetic.
Premier Songs: “Run Up (by a mile),” “No Charge,” “Perkys Calling”
6. “Beast Mode” (2014)
You might ask yourself, “What is this guy thinking? ‘Beast Mode’ appearing on the list prior to its latest follow-up?” And my answer is a simple, resounding yes. As infatuated as I’ve been with the hard-headed intro, “Oooooh,” over the past three years, the tape has never managed to grasp my eardrums anywhere near as much as the rest.
The project, which was curated and crafted by the ever-so-talented Zaytoven, is packed with memorable moments, from the first 15 seconds of “Real Sisters” to when he capitalizes on the hate in “Forever Ever.”
Premier Songs: “Oooooh,” “No Basic,” “Real Sisters”
5. “Beastmode 2” (2018)
This was obviously the most recent addition to the list, but with great reason! Its tracklist is filled to the brim with raw emotion on cuts like “Racks Blue” and “Red Light” — the latter of which is my personal favorite song simply because of how natural he is at gliding across the top of the hook (“Awwwww, they ain’t think I’m gettin’ my bag aye / Ran it up and gave ‘em a sad face”).
On the vigorous intro, “Wifi Lit,” he boasts with a passion through name dropping countless brands (“I got Gucci socks on me and money in every pocket / I got Burberry seats, the color teriyaki”). He takes it around the globe on “31 Days,” as he “took a few Pakistanis to lunch” and “feel in love with this girl, came from France.” Needless to say, Zaytoven and Hendrix took this one as seriously as the original.
Premier Songs: “31 Days,” “Red Light,” “When I Think About It”
4. “What A Time To Be Alive” (2015)
All right, picture this. It was 2015. Future and Drake took over nearly every sense of 2015, Kendrick Lamar aside. I spent late nights for weeks at a time just trying to get to the bottom of when this tape was going to release. And then the OVO Sound Radio episode that it unnecessarily debuted on aired at the exact time I was scheduled for work. At McDonald’s, nonetheless.
How ideal. This is my life. It got so serious that I asked around to get my shift covered, and even when no one could, I still considered not showing up for work. All in all, I genuinely hope this story manages to put together how much this 10-track masterpiece resonated with me upon its release. I can’t even describe the sheer octane running through my veins when I would listen to “Digital Dash.” Well actually, I think that does it just right.
Premier Songs: “Digital Dash,” “Diamonds Dancing,” “Plastic Bag”
3. “Super Slimey” (2017)
Had this magnificent staple of a collaboration between two of Atlanta’s most lucrative, compelling artists not come in to fruition, the order of this list would be nearly as scattered as the remnants of my life that cringe at the sheer thought of this project not existing.
“Super Slimey” was Future’s third project of 2017, and luckily for fans of everything that is good in this world, it was also the project that infinitely cemented his chemistry with Young Thug. The synonymous style of the two made up for a ridiculously lavish set of songs. On “Real Love,” Thugger is willing to bet that this woman loves him. On “4 Da Gang,” Future’s vocals swirl around the eerie production and make for one of the many stand out tracks that their collab had to offer.
Premier Songs: “200,” “Feed Me Dope,” “Real Love”
2. “Monster” (2014)
“Monster” was the first Future project that fully caught my attention, as with many others with my lack of intelligence and a solid scouting eye for such a massive talent. “Codeine Crazy” is not only one of the most impressively lush, purple-paced cuts to date, but it’s genuinely the most compelling symphony since the dawn of time.
There’s also “Gangland,” where he goes absolutely ballistic. On “Fetti,” he warned us to not make him go and get the Wraith, which I’m positive he ended up doing regardless of force. And I don’t even have to mention “Fuck Up Some Commas,” as it’s spoken for itself since it blessed the public.
Premier Songs: “Fuck Up Some Commas,” “Gangland,” “Codeine Crazy”
1. “56 Nights” (2015)
As one of the most pristine mixtapes that has come into fruition since the turn of the decade, any shade of doubt about “56 Nights” would automatically eliminate you from the conversation. Future managed to mythicize himself through incongruous flows, bizarre ad-libs and countless instances of extreme drug use. “Cool and sick, right boys?” responded all the douchebags who took this as a rite of passage to start popping pills for no reason. But it is cool; I guess they help prove my point in the sense that this project has songs so significant to the massive stretch he’s been going through.
The gravitational pull that he had at this point was unmatched, placing him among the top tier of artists who can drop an album so polarizing that literally everyone and their mother would hear it and have their own opinion about it. Oh well, everyone’s a critic.
And although it sounds like nothing more than a disheveled month and 26 days, he managed to make it the sharpest sonic experience of his career. “56 Nights” isn’t just crazy, “56 Nights” is absolutely insane.
Premier Tracks: “Never Gon Lose,” “Diamonds From Africa,” “56 Nights”