Future: DS2

Future plays to his core strengths on a druggy album full of blunt-force hooks

Last year didn't go the way Future planned. The Atlanta croon-rapper's much-ballyhooed, underperforming Honest failed to make him the Trap King of Pop, and his relationship with R&B star Ciara fell apart. To regroup, Future went back to the strategy that drove his 2011 come-up: flooding the market with mixtapes, one of which, Monster, bore a surprise hit in the woofer-busting "Fuck Up Some Commas." Or as Future tells it on his third studio album, "Tried to make me a pop star and they made a monster."

DS2 maintains some of the ragged edges and raw nerves of his mixtape work (its title makes it, technically, a sequel to a street-classic tape from four years ago). It has little of the far-reaching ambition of Honest, but what it lacks in bold strokes, it more than makes up for in consistency — 18 tracks, mostly produced by Atlanta trap staples Metro Boomin and/or Southside, all with addictive choruses under an umbrella of cloudy numbness. "I just did a dose of Percocet with some strippers/I just poured this lean in my cup like it's liquor," Future moans on a bonus-track standout. Who can say if his hazy, druggy lyrics are meant to self-medicate or to celebrate? What's clear is that Future has repaved his lane on his own uncompromising terms.