Future's efforts to deal with his issues raise more questions than they answer.
Save Me feels like a 20-minute focus shift as Future now fetishizes the consequences of drug abuse over the actual act of drug abuse. On it, Future cries for help a lot. From a Bentley. Save Me. Roll credits.
The Apple Music summary calls the EP, “a request for help. Or at least an acknowledgement of his issues.” I would normally applaud a shift in tone for any artist who relies on tired ideas of substance abuse as substance for their content. In the case of Save Me however, this work comes out the gate tone deaf to the central issue of the EP as it relates to the audience of Future Hendrix and drug culture as a whole. Future stated in a 2016 Clique TV interview that the reason he always raps about drugs is because “I feel like that’s the number one thing everybody likes to talk about. It’s a catch.” In the same interview, Future also said, “I’m not like super drugged out or [a] drug addict.”
Future’s continued relevance, in his own words, depends on pining about what others want to hear rather than what he genuinely feels. This is an accepted part of the industry, but Save Me is sold as genuine, which makes the EP come off as Future pivoting because it’s popular to do so. If he’s not a drug addict as he said in 2016, what are his cries for help in Save Me really for?
Don’t get me wrong, I like listening to Future and Save Me has a few solid songs, such as “Government Official” and “Please Tell Me.” If there’s one thing I enjoy about Future, it’s his beat choice and strength in his own niche. Future rapping like Future is good if a little stale. Save Me sounds behind the curve as well because other artists have already broken into the mainstream with outlaw stories and pivoted away from lyrics and content dependent on glorifying drug abuse. 21 Savage quit lean, Gucci Mane looks and acts like a completely different person, and Lil’ Peep overdosed. What can Save Me add to the conversation?
At this point in 2019, the ideological flip-flopping surrounding drugs and gangster culture has gotten old. Luckily for Future, he still has an audience that cares about his music and is willing to listen in some fashion to his cries for help. Four days after the release of Save Me, he posted a music video for ‘XanaX Damage’ which, by the time of this writing, has raked in a healthy 900k streams on Youtube. That’s good, but since he has 7.1M subscribers on the platform, it’s not great.
Future is human, subject to the state of content creation like everyone else. His audience may fluctuate in their engagement with his content, but this EP is at least proof of an attempt to transition away from glorifying nihilism, self-destruction, and drowning pain in a styrofoam cup.