Late last year, Future released his 9th mixtape in five years, with his Halloween inspired Monster (the followup to his second studio album Honest). Less than three months after Monster comes Future’s next project, titled Beast Mode and produced entirely by Atlanta producer Xavier “Zaytoven” Dotson. While Future brings the same emotion to Beast Mode as with previous projects, this mixtape (in large part due Zaytoven’s production) has a different feel and theme than Monster, although Future does not abandon his sound that makes his singing very appealing and catchy. Although Future and the ‘Versace’ producer have worked together since 2011, a full collaborative project was almost inevitable to combine the talents of Atlanta’s hottest rapper and one of the city’s best producers. Beast Mode isn’t Future’s best project to date, but is yet another example that Atlanta is easily in the conversation for being the rap hub of the world right now.
If it can be compared to any project, Beast Mode sounds most like Future’s early work, most specifically his 2011 Dirty Sprite mixtape. This should come as no surprise though as Zaytoven produced Dirty Sprite‘s ‘Never Been This High’ and ‘On 2 Us’ tracks. Before first listen, you almost want to go into Beast Mode expecting it to sound rushed and unfinished, but each of the nine tracks sound complete and anyone who has been listening to Future since Dirty Sprite or earlier knows that Future can put out project-after-project without sacrificing quality. And the quality starts with the mixtape’s opening track ‘Ooooh’ and it goes hard to say the least. The bass is super heavy and the piano loop gives Future and featured rapper Young Scooter the perfect forum to make the track fire.
On ‘Lay Up’ Future’s flow is untouchable, yet doesn’t drown out the instrumental’s violin. The hook is catchy and while ‘Lay Up’ isn’t the best track on Beast Mode, it certainly isn’t one to skip. Next, while the mixtape has only two features, its biggest feature comes on one of the tape’s best tracks, ‘Aintchu’ ft. Juvenile. Yet another track with a catchy hook and bass that’s heavier than pre-2014 Rick Ross, ‘Aintchu’ is a standout track on Beast Mode. Next up, Beast Mode‘s ‘No Basic’ (like ‘Lay Up’) is definitely not a stand-out but still a quality track with all the components of a good Future song.
‘Peacoat’s beat, while very busy, is one of the best on Beast Mode. The instrumental, and song itself, is certainly more laid back than the rest of the tape, but definitely not in a bad way as Future raps about his Burberry peacoat and Chondon sippin’. ‘Just Like Bruddas’ is a song that showcases where Dotson gets his “Zaytoven” (a play on Beethoven) moniker, as the keys on this track are far superior to the majority of piano work in rap. ‘Just Like Bruddas’ is also the project’s most emotional song, as Future sings about his public breakup with singer-songwriter Ciara. Rumors circulated that Future, who has a son with Ciara, cheated on the ‘Goodies’ singer, which led to the breakup.
“Sh*t ain’t been the same. They talkin’ ’bout me on the ‘gram. They say I turned my back on my baby mama.”
Like its preceding track, Zaytoven also kills the beat on the piano with ‘Where I Came From’. While the track is a small step down from the standout ‘Just Like Bruddas’, it is yet another quality song on the project. ‘Real Sisters’ is yet another up-tempo fire track where Future stunts, going “beast mode” and rapping about “f*cking twin sisters”, Lamborginis, and all the essentials in content you need for a nice good (but ignorant, not necessarily in a bad way) rap song. Finally, to close out Beast Mode is ‘Forever Eva’, which doesn’t close out the album as good ‘Oooooh’ kicked off the tape, but is still as good in production and flow as most other songs on Beast Mode.
Overall Beast Mode gives us a little bit of nostalgia from Future’s early work, but at the same time it shows us his progression over the past five years. His content and flow haven’t changed drastically since 2011’s Dirty Sprite but almost everything he does (from making a good hook to finding the perfect flow for the beat) is that much better. Certainly you are bound to have some repetition when you are one your 10th mixtape, yet every new Future project is a keeper and worth as listen, and Beast Mode is no exception.