In kicking off last week’s Halloween celebration, Future treated his fans to a new mixtape, Monster, hosted by DJ Esco. Since announcing his mixtape back in September, the tape serves as a follow up to Future’s previous album, Honest, and establishes a more sinister sound. The Freebandz head honcho delivers a darker tone hanks to production from frequent collaborator Metro Boomin', who is enlisted as the executive producer for the overall project.

Future opens the mixtape with the titled track, “Intro,” featuring various excerpts from past interviews with industry personalities: Sway of Shade 45 who questions other artists emulating his sound, Ebro of Hot 97 who addresses his placement on MTV’s past Hottest MC’s list and Wendy Williams picking at rumors of him writing Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” single. Whether or not it was smart to begin the project in this direction, it goes without saying Future was definitely one of the most-talked about artists of this year and isn’t shy of media controversy. Following up with the opening title track is one of the most sick and twisted songs on the mixtape, “Monster,” produced by Metro Boomin' and Southside. Future seems to enjoy illustrating lyrics of him doing all the wrong things like: “I'm a young Freddie Kruger / I promote prostitution" or even “It don't fuck with my conscious, I serve my auntie that raw.”

While the title track goes to explicit extremes, "Throw Away" is bit more personal as it seems to be addressing his relationship with Ciara. Recently, the couple called off their engagement after Future allegedly cheated, and here it sounds like he's getting some things off his chest. In the two-part song, Future starts with a normal paced drum pattern with lyrics: (“I want no relations, I just want your facial / Girl you know you like a pistol, you a throw away”) possibly equating to Future not having feelings for the woman he allegedly had sexual encounters with. Proceeding into the second part of the song, the beat slows down allowing Future to transition from rapping to singing: (“If loving me in public ain't safe / You can take my love and hide it / Don't give up on me today.”) It isn't confirmed if Future is speaking about Ciara, but these lyrics say otherwise.

Where most rappers utilize mixtapes to package multiple guest verses from various artists, Future receives only one from Lil Wayne on “After That” produced by Will-A-Fool. Honestly speaking, this isn’t one of Weezy’s best verses from this year, however, the YMCMB boss still maintains hold his own with clever lines: “Ima get that pussy wet, her other nigga just dampen that.” On the song “Hardly," Future tones down from the more gritty production on this mixtape by paying homage to Freebandz fallen comrade, OG Double D, who was gunned down last year. Future speaks on dealing with drug abuse and other vices as he tries to battle with depression of losing his friend among things: “I pour my life inside these poems / My whole soul and my spirit / I'm easily agitated get intoxicated try to fight the demons / Tryna find right and my wrong, hope my legacy live on.”

Regardless of whatever controversy Future faced this year, it doesn’t stir away from his success as a recording artist. Monster proves to be one of the better mixtapes of this year and reassures Future ability to keep things interesting without over saturating himself with new music.—Jeffrey Whaley

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