Future - Purple Reign (Mixtape Review)

It's undeniable that the three rappers who ruled 2015 were Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Future. In 2015 Future finally took what made his mixtapes successful and translated it into his highly successful album DS2. A mixture of woozy lyrical flow and trap production came together perfectly on not just that album, but also on a couple mixtapes and a collab album with the above mentioned rapper, Drake. Future is starting 2016 off by showing his reign over the sound with the mixtape, Purple Reign (the title is no doubt a nod to Prince).

So what Future delivers on Purple Reign is another slice of the sound he has perfected. Love it or hate it, the sound is undeniable at the moment. It's something that people want and Future is continuing to deliver it in high quality doses. Production is handled by a few different producers most notably Metro Boomin, Southside, and Zaytoven. Metro Boomin and Zaytoven are easily becoming the go to guys for this sound. Young Thug, OG Maco, and a slew of other rappers are putting out high quality tracks produced by those guys. Those beats alone help create half of the Future vibe people are clamoring for and they deserve a lot of credit for this sound that is sweeping hip hop. Future on the mic delivers, like he did in all of 2015, by basically being the king of this style. He honestly does it better than almost anyone. I wonder how long he can keep doing this before the sound gets old, but if this mixtape is any indication that time may not be for a while. The title track on this album showcases this perfectly. It's somber, emotional, and braggadocios all at the same time and it just sounds very authentic and fresh. It's definitely a standout song for Future and it's probably the best song on the mixtape. I really like the woozy, hypnotic, and repetitive chorus: "Purple reign, purple reign, purple reign. Purple reign, purple. I just need my girlfriend. I just need my girlfriend. I just need." Honestly it might even be a top 10 Future song for me.

I can understand the criticism that is coming from some about Future's sound. I also understand the idea that if it isn't broke then don't fix it. If something works really well at the moment you aren't going to take it apart to see if anything is broken. Future is keeping the machine running. Also it's easy to note that commercial experimentation hasn't always worked for him. After a few tries on some of his previous albums, before DS2, when he tried a few commercial influences and gimmicks most of those fell flat with his core fanbase. Some of those songs just lacked the sound and overall swagger the mixtapes had. The 2015 Future marathon really showed people that the sound could be successful with a mainstream audience without all the major label commercial gimmicks. Despite the critics it just continues to work. I think Purple Reign continues the trend. There isn't anything missing. It's a strong mixtape and I don't have any doubt that the majority of Future fans are going to be satisfied. I think a time might come when he has to find some new tricks but that time isn't now, in my opinion.

Purple Reign like DS2, Beast Mode, 56 Nights, etc... all succeed on the charisma and style of Future paired with the charisma and style of the producers who provide the beats. Neither let up so both win big. Purple Reign is not just a good mixtape; it's a statement mixtape. I think it shows the music listening audience that Future isn't just content with being dominate in 2015 and watching as another rapper claims the throne in 2016. I think he's showing listeners that he intends to keep the train rolling and that he wants to have as big of a year in 2016. He's off to a strong start. Rap can be fickle and shift dramatically depending on who comes out of the woodwork or rises to the top at any given moment. That being said this mixtape, to me, shows that Future hasn't reached his ceiling yet. Honestly this an album quality mixtape and I enjoy it pretty much all the way through.

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