Future’s 2015 mixtape ’56 Nights’ is now on streaming services. For my money, it’s his best project and perhaps the BEST TRAP TAPE OF ALL TIME (at only 23 mins!).
It’s just hectic, muddy bangers made by a heartbroken Future trying to find his soul at the bottom of his dirty sprite and finding that soul to be a debauched, nihilistic mess. Any sexual encounter is an absent, empty experience – a way to pass time while he’s gone off a cocktail of prescription drugs. While the album comes from a pit of drug abuse, his vocal performances are anything but numb. He’s just giving it everything here – energised in a way you don’t hear in his recent music. In between lyrics about drugs and the lingering scars & paranoia of his trapping days, he’ll say some shit like “Everyday’s a celebration”… and you just don’t quite believe him. Appreciating this album is about seeing the pain within the flex when he’s rapping shit like the very first hook:
‘I sip out a cup of this shit, it’s so muddy, but I love it, baby
When I jump out the whip, when I hop out the whip then I’m fresh in the latest
I do what I want, and I smoke ’til I’m faded
I drink ’til I pass out, I wake up and drink up again
I pour up again and again’
The crown jewel is the closer ‘March Madness‘, which was thrown on the tape last minute due to it’s unexpected popularity as a loose single. But on an album of bangers, ‘No Compadre‘ is the most likely to inspire you to headbutt a wall or jump out of a window. I just don’t know what to do with myself by the time the beat gets into full swing around the 0:50 mark. Every layer adds to the mayhem rather than just adding noise. I hope this is the song that’s playing when I’m fighting my long lost brother to the death as the Star Casino crumbles around me like in the Game of Thrones finale. Southside handles almost all of the production here and he manages to keep it interesting while staying firmly within the conventional trap aesthetic.
This tape was the last instalment in Future’s legendary mixtape trilogy that came in the wake of his split from Ciara in 2014. The first instalment ‘Monster’ (which also recently hit streaming services) was much more candid about his heartbreak, but on this one it feels like he’s run out of words to express his lament so he’s just gonna go as hard as possible as a coping mechanism. The title is inspired by the 56 nights that Future’s DJ and collaborator DJ Esco (‘THE COOLEST DJ ON THE MOTHERFUCKING PLANET’) spent in a Dubai prison for marijuana possession. Officially, this is a DJ Esco mixtape ‘hosted’ by Future. While Esco was in prison, the Dubai authorities had seized the hard drive which contained the only copies of all of Future’s music from the past two years (as he details in the song ‘Kno The Meaning’). They were inspired to drop 56 Nights upon his release and the title contextualises what’s made to sound like a 56 day bender Future undertook while Esco was locked up.
The closest thing to the candid cry-for-help you’re waiting for comes on the title track, which was originally the last track and perfectly encapsulates the misery at the heart of the album. “Never Gon Lose” feels like Future’s alter ego Super Future at full power, relentlessly attacking the beat in a way he aptly compares to Mayweather and Pacquiao. This is a far better 7-song album than anything Kanye’s put his holy hands on, but really the original mixtape had a few skit tracks and also included one of Future’s best songs ‘Trap Ni**as‘, which ended up as bonus track on DS2. I don’t know why it’s been removed but it’s a shame cause it’s a great change of pace – rapping about the role and a rituals of a trapper in a really bouncy way; feels like he’s having fun with his words.
‘Hasta Ia-la-uego wake up with that Glock, okay though
Stash the dope inside a Winnebago in Decatur
You got your work, you posted up in the hood Bodega
Lil’ woadie loading up that yopper before he brush his teeth’
I would recommend you download the original mixtape and listen to that, but the streaming version doesn’t have DJ or producer tags which is welcome. Just make sure you listen to ‘Trap Ni**as‘ once it’s finished.
On some days Monster is my favourite Future tape, on some days it’s this. Monster has more delicate, emotional songs like Codeine Crazy and Throw Away – probably his best songs – but 56 Nights just beats you over the head with it’s brash, unconcerned misery. The only thing stopping me from calling it the best trap album of all time is that he doesn’t rap about the trap that much.
Don’t play it off ya bloody laptop speakers. Let it rumble throughout throughout your neighbourhood till they all lose their minds and pull a gun on their landlords.