UPDATE: Now that Future is dropping his new album Dirty Sprite 2 next week, we decided to update this list with rankings of Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights.
Tonight at 10:28pm EST, Future Hendrix returns to his roots with his new Monster mixtape, executive produced by Metro Boomin’, and to say we’re excited is an understatement. His Honest album was met with lukewarm reception and didn’t really have the runaway hit single it needed, so Future fans are in for a treat. He’s broken up with Ciara since that album, and the three leaks from Monster show a potential return to the Future with crack in his socks.
To celebrate Monster, we take a look back at Future’s natural habitat: the mixtape. He’s dropped a couple of classic tapes throughout the years, but you might not have heard ’em all. For those of you that have, let us know what you think of our ratings in the comments. Pour up a four and turn your speakers up. This is Every Future Mixtape, Ranked.
10. 1000 (2010)
Future’s first mixtape sounded like a guy just beginning to grow into his own. He had shed his Meathead The Connect moniker from his time as a member of the Dungeon Family-affiliated group Da Connect and began doing more melodic work.”All I Want Is Some Money” is the best example of that style, as he sings different variations of the title on the hook. That song highlights Future’s strength in tone, timbre, and delivery, but the rest of the tape isn’t as bountiful in top notch songs as other projects are. “Life Of A G,” “Everybody,” and “Statistics” (with Big Rube) are the other ones to check.
9. Astronaut Status (2011)
Before dropping his major label debut, Pluto, in April of 2012, he released Astronaut Status, a somewhat unfocused mixtape that’s half filler, half banger. The first half is relatively boring, minus songs like the Zaytoven-produced “Space Cadets,” but the tape really gets going on “Deeper Than The Ocean,” a perfect encapsulation of Future’s sound at its best. Electric guitars wash out Future’s pain as he ventures into boundary-pushing territory. “My Ho 2” is infectious, “Rider” is a sleeper, and the best known song from the tape is “Itchin,” the Mike Will-produced cut that became a minor hit.
8. Kno Mercy (2010)
Forgive Future for wearing a Fedora on the cover of his early Kno Mercy tape, stacked with features from A1FBG migos Young Scooter, Rocko, Stuey Rock, and others. While the tape doesn’t pack the blockbuster punch of his later music, it shows an artist uncannily fluid with his own flows, melodies, and rhyme structures, and though the production feels restrained, Future’s buoyancy lifts every song. Here we also get a glimpse at early cracks in Future’s armor: instead of crying, he lets money fly, and he drinks mud because his nerves are shot. But the way he bounces off beats makes you – and Future – believe in a better tomorrow.
7. Dirty Sprite (2011)
When people talk about Dirty Sprite-era Future, this is the tape they’re referencing. Future was slinging rocks and ducking cops all over this 2011 tape, which features some of his earliest work with Zaytoven and Mike Will. This was the project that established Future’s identity, although it didn’t pop as much as later tapes would. Highlights include the title track, which serves to introduce Future to the world as a fully-formed artist prepared for stardom, “On 2 Us,” and the soul-sampling “Much More.” And of course, “Racks” will never not make me want to punch somebody in the face.