On February 17, 2017 Future released his much anticipated album, Future, boasting legendary features including Kendrick Lamar and Drake but also showcased his own talent through featureless songs containing 17 of the 20 songs on the album. To the rap industries astonishment, Future released another album exactly one week later named HNDRXX. HNDRXX and Future both shared the same creator but each had their own unique sound with HNDRXX incorporating a wider variety of instrumentals, vocals, and overall tone while Future remained Future’s trap side including the masterful hit Mask Off.
*Please note this is merely my own analysis of a media work and, with any media, can be analyzed in a variety of ways depending on ones background, enjoy.
Today I’ll be delving into an analytical examination of the song and music video, Use Me, the fifth track off of HNDRXX. The music video opens with a vertical shot of a car coasting through the night, presumably at the early hours of the morning taking into account the lack of other cars around. A first time viewer may predict Future to be the driver but instead we are shown that a younger individual is driving the fancy car, his piercing stare exits the windshield deep in thought as the audience embarks on a journey with Future’s past self being the driver.
Before the chorus ends we are transported to an empty restaurant with Future sitting in a booth alone, the entire room void of employees or patrons, a contemplative Future remains with his hood on, staring into his cup of, presumably, lean. The audience is provided with an outsider view, the camera cutting from behind the counter to the parking lot, portraying what you might see if you were walking by.
During these opening scenes the audience witnesses Future sipping on his cup before raising it in the air at 33 seconds, the international symbol of a need for a refill. The audience should presume at this point that Future thoroughly feels the affects of the lean. The camera cuts from the wide angle shot, zooming in on his sunglasses and the audience sees the boy from earlier reflected on his shades but after the next cut of the camera he isn’t there.
This is important because the action signifies the absence of the kid, displaying evidence that he isn’t actually there and all of what will follow is in Future’s intoxicated mind. Future is trying to reach out for his past as he feels alone, his mind wanders into introspective looks of his own life but is unable to reach into the past without lean guiding the way.
Once again the idea of this is all in Future’s mind is reinforced as he sees the young kid sitting across the table from him before he shakes his head, seemingly intoxicated, in hopes to clear his mind but it does not. He takes another sip of lean and the kid reappears, looking angrier than ever while Future’s current self stares back in disbelief, almost in an apologetic way for what he has become or what he’s been through.
Many sites are convinced that Future is speaking to one of his former lovers throughout the song, specifically Ciara but I believe he is talking to another woman. He is opening himself up in personal ways to connect with a new lover, trying to allow himself to be vulnerable to the imperfections of his life, growing up in the hood while being oppressed by society.
Future starts his first verse with “tools, tools, I give you tools” and many online sites claim that this is referring to Future offering up himself as a weapon to another individual or a firearm. The way Future and his past self is portrayed throughout the music video leads me to believe this is not true, he is now a successful artist at 33 and wants to help those in his life in any way possible. He wishes to equip those around him, his children, Grandmother, or current partner with the opportunities to better themselves through him. Future was seemingly helpless when drug raids or armed robbers attacked his Grandmother in the trap house as seen towards the end of the video and he does not wish to revisit that feeling, Future wants to take control of his life.
Future goes on to list a variety of things he’d do for his new lover and worries about her as “the tights that you like, they are see-through, guess you can rock those when even I don’t see you,” perhaps placing trust in her that wasn’t present in relationships before. He goes on to ask if she wishes that he calls her ex or pick up her whip, offering to help in everyday things. If this was Ciara he would be her ex and the child would be his and he wouldn’t refer to the child as “your son.”
Entering into verse two the audience is jolted back into Future’s current life, introspectively examining his life today and how his past has led him to be the man he is today. Future finally has a “thousand karats on my hand,” but has to “get xanned out” to feel like himself. He feels himself distancing from his past life and friends, becoming lonely, i.e. “I can always lean on these bands when my niggas not around.”
Nayvadius (Future) continues to feed into his creative side through indulging in drugs feeling “like Pink Floyd with the lean out,” a heavily psychedelic band while also feeling like the man with all the money he is making, joining the “money team.”
Future manifests his ideas along with the beat, spit firing emotions throughout his lyrics claiming that “my life is more effective than a cocaine drop,” meaning when happiness is devoid in his life, Future’s creative mind thrives. Nayvadius plays on this idea throughout many of his songs, the idea of his sorrow is his greatest tool in making music, similar to creating a cocaine drought and then increase the price while releasing the product out onto the streets. His lack of happiness drives him further into his creative angst, crafting not one, but two hit albums and having the ability to release them in back to back weeks.
Soon after a cocaine drop you’ll find that users are higher then ever after being withdrawn from the product, similar to how Future feels when he is not feeling creative. He is attempting to avoid the low because he knows that “when you get high enough, you can dodge raindrops,” resembling the sadness in his life that dampens his daily life.
Another message he continues to reinforce is that he is straying away from the hood life, showing that he has two sides through releasing two different albums with two different distinct sound. That he has said “fuck the streets and made my own lane now,” enjoying the spoils of his life without the dangers of his past life.