Things move fast in the music business, especially in hip-hop.
So when Future's follow-up to the game-changing "Pluto" got pushed back four months or so from its original November placement, it raised a lot of questions. The album "Honest" (Epic) answers some, but raises others.
What happened to the first single "Real and True," which featured Miley Cyrus on vocals? It's not here. Where is the anticipated "Rockstar" featuring Nicki Minaj? Also missing, reportedly because of sample-clearing issues.
The bigger question, though, is what is Future's future? With "Pluto," he brought back the use of AutoTune in hip-hop, twisting it to create a more space-age sound. He still uses it on "Honest," but it's not as striking because so many others have taken it up again.
Future proves to be far more adaptable on "Honest," bending his flow and his style to his collaborators. He sounds giddy to be playing around with Andre 3000 on "Benz Friendz (Whatchutola)" on a very OutKasty track. He sounds ready to join a Dirty South crew on "Move That Dope" with Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino, though he does quickly slip into the background. And the minimalism of "My Momma," produced by Mike WiLL Made It, owes more to collaborator Wiz Khalifa.
Future holds his own with Kanye West on "I Won," sure to be an upcoming single and a good sign of his pop-crossover potential. And it raises yet another question: Why doesn't more of "Honest" sound like this? Like, you know, Future?
BOTTOM LINE He may have reshaped hip-hop's sound, but he's still not sure of his own.