Famous Atlanta producer and Future’s longtime collaborator, Southside, announced last year in an XXL Magazine interview that the rapper has nine projects finished and ready to be released in 2016 – making last month’s mixtape title, Purple Reign, ring especially prophetic. Mathematically, the Freeband Gang president would have to drop a project every month and a half to meet his quota; yet it still feels odd for him to be unveiling a new album so soon after Purple Reign. While fans have been reassured that the quantity of output doesn’t indicate a drop in quality, it will soon become difficult for them to differentiate Future projects if he doesn’t start rapping over different soundscapes. His releases from 2015 captured a specific vibe or feeling that set them apart from each other. EVOL’s tone doesn’t differ dramatically enough from previous projects to carve its own niche sound into the Future canon.
Metro Boomin and Southside reprise their roles as the producers of the majority of material on EVOL – a large contributing factor to the mild stagnation affecting this project. Future has just gotten very good at being Future, churning out his music as a product of consistent quality without concerning himself with constant reinvention. The only other voice present on the tape besides Future is the Weeknd, who lends his vocals to a memorable verse and chorus on the late-album highlight “Low Life.” The later-half of the album holds all of the best material too. Pre-release single “Fly Sh*t Only” closes the album for some reason, and the most obvious hit on the album, “Seven Rings” is held off until after the halfway point. It seems like in an effort to get quality material out quickly Future and his production team are skimping over certain parts of the process, like working out sequencing and track list order.
If there truly are eight, or even seven, more Future releases scheduled for 2016, then the artist should consider investing more effort into compiling his tracks into cohesive projects. Future does a range of styles very well, but it can sound a little disjointed when he uses all of them on a single release. If some of the more down-tuned music on this project had been released alongside the more somber cuts on Purple Reign, and the hype, party tracks were pushed together, then Future may have had two, much more cohesive projects under his belt.