Future woke fans up with a surprise announcement via Twitter early this Valentine's Day morning. "I was preparing the feast. U walked away from the table too soon," he posted.
Future, the Atlanta rapper's fourth studio album, will be released this Friday, Feb. 17. Also announced was a 34-city U.S. tour, Nobody Safe, beginning at the Fedex Forum in Memphis on May 4. Support acts for that will include Migos, Tory Lanez and Kodak Black, with Young Thug and A$AP Ferg appearing for select dates.
A broken iTunes pre-order link in this morning's tweet was enough to drive fans on Twitter crazy. (It's now fixed.)
Alongside the likes of Beyonce, Drake, Kanye West and Frank Ocean, Future was among a handful of artists massive enough to make unannounced releases work in their favor in recent years. However today's announcement puts a slightly different spin on that previously standard surprise release approach. With three days as of this writing before Future is due to drop, it seems to signal a return, perhaps necessary for Future specifically, to building anticipation and drawing attention the "old-fashioned" way.
The lead time ahead of Future may have been influenced by the critical reception he got last year; while his last studio album, Evol, released one year ago, became his third major release in a row to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200, it fell short of repeating the platinum success of his previous years' releases (DS2 and his collaborative album with Drake, What A Time To Be Alive). Also missing from this rollout: a mixtape blitz, previously uber-successful, which helped up Future's stock in the streets following a lackluster reception to his sophomore studio release, Honest. His 2016 mixtapes, Purple Reign and Project E.T. with DJ Esco, also earned mixed reviews.
Future's last hint at forthcoming release plans came at the top of this year, when he cleared all the photos from his Instagram page on Jan. 2 and issued a couple of cryptic tweets.
The 17-track album lists no song titles in iTunes as of yet — just a mysterious album cover featuring a hazy portrait, likely of Future, with half a face obscured by a bejeweled hand.
In 2017, it may be all the mystery we need.