—by Kemet High

2015 was the year of resurgence and dominance for Atlanta. Young Thug was fresh off of his debut tape Barter 6, Migos was gearing up to drop their first official album, and Rich Homie Quan’s “Flex” was in the process of going platinum. As the baton was properly being passed to the younger guys in the game, there was one seasoned rapper who had yet to tap into his full potential, and since he did, he hasn’t slacked off since. Fresh off of the buzz of 56 Nights and our redefined black anthem of the year, “March Madness,” Future dropped yet another classic. On this date three years ago, Future released an unblemished sequel to his Dirty Sprite tape: Dirty Sprite 2, the golden project of his discography.

Thugs have feelings too, and that’s why we love Future. Atlanta is the home of trap music, differentiating it from the fellow hip-hop meccas of California and New York City. Made popular by Gucci Mane, Jeezy, and T.I., trap has always been delivered with aggression. Coined “trap” from the location in which drugs are sold, the music represents the mentality of a person who lives for nothing other than survival, in any way they must. That same mentality provides a common impenetrable and unfazed aura, or that’s at least how it seems. But when it comes to Future, there is so much emotional release that makes it way more natural to relate to.

DS2 lyrically tells the compelling story of making it out of the hood while still having a hood mentality. The album is filled with deep-rooted expressions and mechanisms centered around coping with drugs and alcohol, hence the title which signifies lean. Whether listeners received it as Future battling for help, or simply just saying what was on his mind, every song on DS2 is lyrically filled with substance; a quality that is often less present in trap.

Additionally, those beats are strong enough to stand on their own. Around the same time that rappers were redefining the culture of music in Atlanta, producers were starting to reach that same starry spotlight. DS2 was collectively composed by some of the best producers Atlanta, and hip-hop, has seen in Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, Sonny Digital, and Southside. Trap beats are led by hi-hats and bass-layered drums that reflect the aggression and passion of those creating the beats in real life. When you hear tracks like “Blow A Bag” and “I Serve The Base,” the production hits you so hard that it feels like you’re sitting in the exact bando Future raps about getting out of.

DS2 became that trap album that had no set mood or audience. The landscape of people reached, and musical elements tapped into, ended up taking Future from mid-major to major, with a newly-earned platinum plaque to go along with that elevation. The timelessness of this album may not be noted until years from now, but on its anniversary, we certainly have to talk about it. Fully complete with both lyrics and production, here are seven of the best songs on DS2:

“Where Ya At” ft. Drake | This track was blasting out of everyone’s speakers in the summer of 2015. The anthem speaks to the idea of bandwagon friends and family who only come around after your success has been reached. “Where Ya At” would also be a preview to the undefeated collaborations of Drake and Future, and their joint album What A Time To Be Alive, which dropped just a couple of months later.

“Groupies” | Produced by Metro, Sonny Digital, and Southside, this song may contain the most intoxicating beat on the album. The story of drugs and sex may seem oversaturated, but being done in this way, it makes the subject matter fresh again. If you turn the speakers up for this one, expect your heartbeat to accelerate.

“Stick Talk” | When you hear the song “Stick Talk,” there is one lyric that comes to mind, and we can leave it at that. Future and Southside were on their Jordan and Pippen game with this one.

“Freak Hoe” | One thing that made DS2 a classic was its versatility. This album hits the hardest in a room or a car, but this song was made for social functions and high-energy only. “Freak Hoe” is not meant to be derogatory towards women. In fact, it’s a song that’s meant to embrace. When this drops in a club or party, it’s a rap music video come to life.

“Blow A Bag” | Future probably has a little more money than most of us, but “Blow A Bag” had us out here throwing money like it multiplies upon request. A celebratory track like this was deeper than the listen; it was a symbol of prosperity. “Blow A Bag” speaks to the word “upgrade,” and with all of the money in the world, financially, that’s what we should be doing.

“Real Sisters” | Alright, we won’t lie, the concept of this song is quite grimy. It makes perfect sense as to why Future dragged this one over from Beast Mode; it’s contentious enough to keep us engrossed.

“Kno The Meaning” | This is the heaviest song on the album. “Kno The Meaning” explains the origins of 56 Nights, along with descriptive bars about Future’s life and musical career. Yes, it’s very personal, but your ears wouldn’t dare close once the song begins. This is that locker room music before a game, a track that will embed you in the zone of execution and reflection.

The effects of Dirty Sprite 2 changed the course of Future’s career drastically. After signing to Epic back in 2011, Future has undoubtedly produced hits thus far such as “Same Damn Time,” “Bugatti,” and “Move That Dope,” but never a full project this solid. DS2 reflected a colorful selection of trap that contained songs that could people could twerk to, trap to, and be in your bag to, all in the span of 57 minutes. Soon after its release, Future teamed up with Drake to drop another project and simultaneously run rap for the rest of the year. Once listeners got a taste of Future in his prime, his global receptiveness skyrocketed, as you probably remember hearing this album being played everywhere.

Some say it was the Drake co-sign that came months after, and some say that Atlanta was just hot at the time. But despite how it came about, DS2 was just enough heat to keep fans checking for another project to drop. Future’s ability to pry open the restrictions of trap have earned him a seat at musical Last Supper of the South. Fresh off of producing the Superfly soundtrack, and the release of Beast Mode 2, I think it’s safe to say that Future is the new king of Atlanta. And just know that it was this project that invoked his reign to the top, officially earning him a hip-hop “rockstar” status.

More by Kemet High: