Thursday, May 30, 2024

Six Takeaways From Future and Metro-Boomin’s ‘We Don’t Trust You’

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Future and Metro Boomin’s We Don’t Trust You is here (the first half anyway), and listeners are abuzz about the 17-song project. Coming in at approximately one hour, the project has elicited plenty of talking points in less than 24 hours. Kendrick Lamar pulled another “Control”-like move and got the rap world talking about his shots at Drake and J. Cole on “Like That — which coincidentally overshadowed yesterday’s “Whole Time” freestyle from Big Sean, who originally put Kendrick on “Control.”

But beyond the mess, Future and Metro -Boomin’s project is a strong dose of a winning formula. While the project would have been its strongest at around 12 tracks, the highs make it an overall enjoyable listen. 

Kendrick still doesn’t like Drake (or J. Cole?)

As of late, the cold war between Drake and Kendrick Lamar had simmered to the point of dormancy after a 2010s war of subliminals and an unaired ESPN segment where one reportedly went in on the other. But after Kendrick’s fiery verse on “Like That,” where Kendrick took undeniable aim at Drake and J. Cole, declaring, “Motherfuck the big three, nigga, it’s just big me,” the beef might be back on — and their mutual friend Cole might be in it now too. 

Even without the diss component, “Like That” is a great song. Metro flipped a Rodney O and Joe Cooley’s “Everlasting Bass” sample in expert fashion and Future went in on his opening verse. If it was just those two, it would still be the highlight of the album. But little did we know that Kendrick would jump on the track declaring his lyrical supremacy and proving it in a verse where he referenced Drake’s For All The Dogs album, noting, “’fore all your dogs gettin’ buried

That’s a K with all these nines, he gon’ see Pet Sematary.” He also rhymed, “Fuck sneak dissin’, first-person shooter, I hope they came with three switches” about Drake and Cole, “First Person Shooter” collaborators who are currently on tour together and love to publicly laud each other. Apparently, Kendrick is tired of the kumbaya shit. Cole has collaborated with Kendrick in the past, and is probably game for some lyrical sparring — but the tension is deeper with Drake.  

Kendrick Lamar’s feature verses are sparse, and if it isn’t a song with an R&B diva, he’s prone to go all the way in and force the rap world to pay attention. He doesn’t waste appearances resting on the laurels of being a marquee name. On “Like That,” he put on a show. Will Drake and Cole respond at one of theirs? Let’s stay tuned. 

Future and Metro’s chemistry is seamless

As rapper-producer combos go, Future and Metro made another claim to be at the top of the list with We Don’t Trust You. Future coming back to the rap game with his go-to producer may have been the best approach, and they showed why they work so well together. Metro is an ambitious producer who loves to try out different moods, and Future is a talented vocalist. Future goes in over a seedy, sinister beat on “Magic Don Juan,” and epic sounding synth composition on “Claustrophobic.” On Kendrick Lamar’s — I mean Future’s “Like That,” the men go in over a classic sample and amped up drums.

“Cinderella” shows them right in their wheelhouse on a composition that radiates their characteristic mesh of dark and enchanting, while “Everyday Hustle” sounds like a 2024 Dipset track and then switches into Metro having more fun with sample chops which spurs Future to pick up his tempo. The highs of the project show them covering a lot of ground and collectively demonstrate that there is no one Future and Metro-Boomin sound — it’s just good music. 

The features have a purpose, whether big or small 

Artists hiding song features is all about the 12 AM theatrics. Everything gets spoiled within the hour on social media, but the concealment is a subtle decision that makes some first listens that much more exciting. That was the case on We Don’t Trust You, which had several impressive guest features. 

We talk about Kendrick elsewhere, so we don’t need to delve too far into “Like That,” but Rick Ross also had a fiery verse on “Everyday Hustle,” where he’s as invigorated as he’s sounded in years while shooting at his ex and decrying, “How you sellin’ dope when it smell wrong?”

Travis Scott and Playboi Carti show up on “Type Shit,” an energetic track that has every precise specification needed to flip a Rolling Loud crowd upside down. Scott also showed up on “Cinderella,” another album standout.  The Weeknd delivers smoky vocals to “Young Metro,” while the currently incarcerated Young Thug has a cameo at the beginning of the eerie “Slimed In.”

The late Prodigy’s presence looms large on We Don’t Trust You

The trailer for We Don’t Trust You featured vocals from a 2008 clip of late Mobb Deep rapper Prodigy dissing rap peers. “A lot of fuckin’ garbage ass rappers running around,” he laments while sitting in the seat of a car. “These niggas ain’t supposed to be rapping, man.” In his later years, Prodigy expressed regrets over the Worldstar Hip-Hop clip, which radiates the frustration of his then-impending three-year prison sentence. But the video is still a part of rap lore that Metro and Future decided to use as a thematic framework for their project. It speaks to Future and Metro’s love and knowledge of hip-hop that they imbued a trap project with snippets of a golden era New York spitter calling to preserve real hip-hop. As Prodigy noted in the video, garbage is garbage — and good hip-hop is good hip-hop. 

The two also celebrate Prodigy’s legacy by sampling Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm” on “Seen It All.” Prodigy recalled in his autobiography that Havoc was about to delete the “Quiet Storm” beat out of his beat machine before Prodigy asked him not to then began writing to it. Those creative instincts got him a timeless hit that’s being evoked years after his 2016 passing. 

The “Toxic King” energy is at a minimum

Two years ago, I noted that “it’s no fun listening to Drake and Future underselling their considerable talent to pander to misogynists.” It wasn’t a condemnation of Future, just a plea for the rap icon not to delve so far into feeding the rap manosphere that he didn’t show off his other skills. I doubt he personally read the piece, but that’s nonetheless what we got on We Don’t Trust You, an album that doesn’t thematically veer too far from fake friends and the trappings of Future’s success, but at least you can blast it without wondering what your women friends would think of you for doing so.

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Besides “Runnin Outta Time,” with the gem, “Can’t get a reaction out of me, that’s what you want / It’s not sexy to show your vulnerability, keep it calm,” the “Toxic King” energy is to a minimum. Maybe he’s saving it all for the second album, which will be all R&B. 

Two Future snippets made it on the album — together

Future’s “Too Obsessed” snippet first dropped in 2022. It quickly became one of Future’s most anticipated songs. One YouTuber notes, “This song alone would carry the whole album,” while another posted, “Snippet Hall of Fame.” Today, there are a slew of commenters excited that the track made it onto the album as “Ice Attack,” and was spliced together with another Future snippet. Snippet culture is both promotion and focus group and Future heard the rave reviews for the songs that became “Ice Attack.”

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