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12/05/2012 Future - Pluto Review
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|Future - Pluto Review|
|12-05-2012 16:29 | 0 comment(s)|
| If you would have told the average hip hop head a few years ago that an artist closely associated with The Dungeon Family would be putting out a record called "Tony Montana" with a member of Young Money, they probably would have laughed it off in disbelief. But, the hip hop world's a crazy place, and far removed from the early days of Outkast and Goodie Mob. With Future's studio debut album Pluto, that statement that would have sounded ridiculous not too long ago, is now officially true.
As a member of XXL's class of 2012, it's obvious that some people, somewhere, have high expectations for Future and his career. While he's had some admirable commercial single success recently, he's also gotten his fair share of criticism too. His undeniably simple auto-tuned lyrics and pop-infused take on "trunk music" have been heavily called into question by professional critics, bloggers, and amateur hip hop enthusiasts alike. Objectively speaking, it's tough not to see the points that his doubters make, especially if you're looking through a purely hip hop lens.
Any longtime fan of hip hop will probably tell you the genre's deepest roots are in lyricism. With that said, somebody in rap has to be the worst lyricist in the industry; it's common sense. Future's name is definitely one that would understandably be included in that argument. From start to finish, there isn't one real lyrical highlight from him anywhere on this album, and quite honestly, some of his rhymes can be downright painful. You'll get plenty of head scratchers like this one on the R. Kelly assisted "Parachute", "Andele Andele/ You got me wishin I spoke Spanish/ You got me feelin' real manish."
Future's lyrical content throughout the whole project can be broken down into 4 evenly distributed and distinct categories. You've got 25% percent designer brand names, 25% drugs and hustling, 25% love, and 25% unintelligible auto-tuned nonsense. Outside of the few notable features from Snoop and Drake (his verse on the "Tony Montana" remix might his best in recent memory), there really is absolutely nothing that stands out from a lyrical perspective. If you're into music for insightful, witty, or tight song writing, there's nothing here for you.
To be fair, not all music has to be an exercise in intellectualism though. Honestly, there is something about Future's approach to auto-tune that makes it at least sound a bit more refined and respectable than when most do it. It's tough to tell if it's the engineer that helped doctor his voice inflections, or the fact that he comes a bit rougher than the small army of T-Pain impersonators that have tried to emerge in recent years. But, overall, Future's brand of music isn't as unlistenable as my admittedly harsh (but honest) criticism of the writing on this album might lead you to believe. It might sound like an oxymoron to some music snobs, but this is auto-tune done "right".
From a production standpoint, this one very closely follows the recent commercial hip hop formula of putting a pop spin on a form of traditional rap beats. As an Atlanta native, no one should be surprised that Future goes for a bass heavy feel here. But, more often than not there's a gimmicky poppish gloss over it, most likely done to appeal to the masses.
There's really not much else to say for the beat selection here either. There aren't any stand outs, or real low points. Musically, it's polished, well mixed, and engineered. The producers obviously did their jobs, but there isn't anything any different than you'll hear anywhere else in mainstream music these days either.
Overall, it's tough to recommend Pluto to anyone who isn't a strict "top 40" music fan or Future die-hard. Hip hop heads shouldn't let the Dungeon Family tattoos that Future has on his fore-arms fool them, and there isn't enough originality or freshness here to give fans of different genres a reason to grab it.
It should be said though that all isn't lost on Future's future in music though. While he definitely missed the mark on this solo album, he's one of those guys that could do some interesting collaboration and feature work later on. The "Tony Montana" remix with Drake is proof that he's got some hit potential in him. He's also dropped a single with DJ Drama, "Ain't No Way Around It" that could be rotation worthy for quite a few types of music fans, which unfortunately was a last minute cut from this one,.check it out if you don't believe me.
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