Considered to be one of the best mixtape artists out there, Purple Reign sees Future go back to basics in a sense, it’s generally more contemplative and, at times, relies on a more minimal style of production – part of the formula which originally brought him success. However, in doing so, he exposes the paradox which is often present in his music. Whilst appealing to a wide range of fans, Future is arguably at his best when his songs are a haze of fatalism, confusion and vulnerability, but how easy is it to make tracks like this amongst claims that Nayvadius himself is in a much cleaner and more stable mental state?
Tracks like ‘Perkys Calling’ and ‘Inside the Mattress’ showcase the emotional depth and range of Future – lyrics from the former such as “everything around me turn to fast food” capture the intangibility of drug addiction, searching for meaning amongst the incoherence through regretful self-contemplation in true Future fashion. Whilst ‘Inside the Mattress’ is a more mature reflection, accompanied by a confident swagger. Despite this, the tile track epitomises Future’s dilemma. The cries of “I just need my girlfriend” which interrupt the hushed mumbling of “purple reign” come across too deliberate in their intentions, and despite being a decent song the melancholic helplessness here feels slightly superficial, in the same way that the constant drug references in this album begin to come across as exaggerations.
Future knows what his fans want to hear, and he delivers. Does Futures’s drug-addicted, boisterous and dangerous persona represent the real Nayvadius Milburn? As long as he’s still producing tracks ‘Perkys Calling’ and ‘Inside the Mattress’, I would argue that it doesn’t really matter. This mixtape acts as a teaser more than anything else, setting his fans up for what is hopefully another spectacular year.