Today’s listen might be the most poignant song about money and partying that I’ve ever heard. “Just Like Bruddas” is my favorite track off Atlanta, GA rapper Future’s 2015 mixtape Beast Mode (Freebandz), mostly because I associate it with being in London a few years ago. I started listening to the song on repeat during the last few weeks I was there (after having been abroad for 9 months), so maybe that fact is what gives it such melancholy associations in my mind. The first notable feature of this track is its unorthodox instrumental, created by the trap virtuoso Zaytoven, whose incredible skill on the piano (honed in his church band as a kid in Atlanta) is apparent here. Twinkling, cascading keys bump up against rattling southern rap percussion and bass, creating a beautifully mismatched, almost hallucinatory, atmosphere. Future’s vocals are awesome as usual; the guy has mastered the ability to use auto-tune to turn himself into a croaking, word-slurring, heartbroken cyborg. “Just Like Bruddas” finds him busting out the singing voice a little more than usual, so I guess you could call this song a power ballad. Future’s lyrics are always evocative; he’s able to convey a lot of emotion using mumbled repetition, vivid imagery, and economical turns of phrase, especially when comparing his now hedonistic lifestyle to his impoverished upbringing. For example, when he sings, “Tripping off them bars/You forgot when you was dead broke,” he turns the ostensibly “fun” experience of recreational Xanax-ing into a coping mechanism for past hardships, at the same time removing himself from the experience through his use of the second person. A few lines later, he mourns, “Half a million dollars on a ring/I’m taking Percocets.” The jarring placement of these two brief images side-by-side (referring to Future’s engagement and subsequent split from pop singer Ciara) tells you all you need to know about the emotional fallout from the experience. A lot of people think of Future as just another “mumble rapper” ( a stupid term, but that’s a rant for another day), but he really is a uniquely talented musician. Song is recommended for people who already like Future and people who don’t; maybe it will change someone’s mind.
Listen to more Future by tuning in to any pop or hip-hop radio station