If you were to take a poll of most rap fans and ask them who has that #1 spot in the game right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find an answer besides Future.
And while Future sits comfortably atop rap’s Iron Throne, it took a failed pop crossover project and personal trauma for him to realize his place among the genre’s best artists.
After releasing his second studio album Honest in April of 2014, Future went through a chaotic public breakup with his ex-fiancee Ciara.
The combination of releasing a project that didn’t hit the exact notes he wanted and the pain of a protracted breakup caused Future to go on a musical run equaled only perhaps by Lil Wayne in the late 2000s.
Between October of 2014 to March 2015, Future released three mixtapes, Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights.
While Honest seemed like a sort of half-baked attempt for Future to make a pop-rap record, these three mixtapes pulled no punches. They were mixtapes exclusively for the streets. Future was very much back on his bullshit.
There were no more love songs, no more pop features, Future was on a mission to take over the game one cup of Actavis at time.
Future teamed up with Atlanta’s best trap rap producers on these three mixtapes; Southside (most of 56 Nights), TM-88, Zaytoven (for all of Beast Mode), and Metro Boomin to reshape his sound away from the pop charts.
The series of mixtapes seemed like an active attempt to distance himself emotionally and stylistically from Honest, which isn’t a bad album at all, just a project sort of stuck in between worlds.
Future grabbed the attention of the rap world back with three powerhouse mixtapes in five months. Then in early July 2015, Future announced that DS2 was coming, tweeting “I think the world ready for me to drop my album.”
I think the world ready for me to drop my album
— FUTURE/FREEBANDZ (@1future) July 7, 2015
The world was ready, indeed.
On this day two years ago, our ears were blessed with those first notes on “Thought It Was a Drought.”
Metro Boomin’s ominous instrumentation set the tone for Future’s vengeful return to form.
This vengeance seems twofold. Aimed both at his ex-fiancee “I’ma choose the dirty over you/You know I ain’t scared to lose you,” and at the music industry, “tryna make a popstar and they made a monster.”
DS2 is an almost perfect rap album. One executive producer (Metro Boomin), one feature (Drake), and Future handles the rest, knocking out verse after verse of slurred rhymes about his groupies, his vices, and, at times, his emotional pain.
While Future has had more successful projects, he recently became the first artist in history to debut back-to-back number 1 albums with FUTURE and HNDRXX, DS2 was the culmination of a virtually unmatched musical run that would define an artist that himself defined the genre of contemporary rap music.
It isn’t hyperbolic to say that Future and DS2 have simply set the standard and style of rap music for the last couple years.
Happy DS2 day everyone. May your ears be treated to Metro Boomin synths and your cup runneth over with the dirtiest of Sprite.