Future, "Dirty Sprite 2" (Epic)
Atlanta native rapper Nayvadius Wilburn — known as Future — is very much the artist who'd name an album "Honest," as he did last year. Not that Future is incapable of error: "Honest" was unfocused and crowded with guests (Pharrell, Kanye West). Future is best served cold, alone and straight up. How cold? Ice cubes rattle in his drink on "Dirty Sprite 2" 's unromantically spare anthem "Thought It Was a Drought." The bluntness continues on "I Serve the Base," as he snarls/sings, "Tried to make me a pop star, and they made a monster" to a track that could back the bloody finale of a Dario Argento horror flick. Such soundscapes add to the brooding sadness of the album, full of discord, tortured beats and tortured lyrics. With one guest (Drake), and with songs such as "Rich $ex" that stress not sensual joy but lonely distance, this claustrophobic album is worth every sigh.
A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer
Bling, booze and babes aplenty are featured in "Rihanna," during which Yo Gotti name-checks Madonna, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus and, of course, RiRi. tinyurl.com/p33cy6f