Songs of the Decade: “Throw Away”

Over the next month, I’ll be going long on some songs that have stuck with me for whatever reason. Here’s Future’s “Throw Away”:

Try as they might, many an artist has attempted and failed to recreate Future’s “Throw Away” this decade (looking at you Travis Scott). That isn’t to say Future and  production duo Nard & B created the beat switch, but ooh boy is this song, in its two parts, the pinnacle. Part one gives us the cliched language of rap, “I don’t want relations, I just want your facial,” before the beats break down, about 2 minutes in, and we’re led into the toxic interiority of Future dwelling on his infidelity and his ex’s life without him. Future breaks down his song into two parts that reflect his psyche: id in part one and super-ego part two. In this way, the beat transition works like a semi-colon connecting the two independent moods into a larger theme: the aftermath of a relationship destroyed by his betrayal.

“Deep down I believe you know you’re a monster too.” Future can’t help himself. Even in his attempt to reconcile with his infidelity in part two he’s not apologizing or showing any signs of wanting to grow; he’s attempting to bring his partner down to his level. “Go’n fuck that n***a, get it over with,” he raps in classic Future fashion. Future isn’t concerned with other men, so long as she’s thinking about him. King petty. “Mark my words, I’ma ball without you.” He doesn’t feel betrayed by her being with other men—he knows that betrayal is his—it’s that she’s moved on emotionally. He needs to be adored, to be worshipped; he needs to be her everything and for her to have nothing else. Future is a black hole.

In a career littered with songs about meaningless sex, songs designed to show just how proudly unattached Future is, part two of “Throw Away” reveals some of the cracks in the facade. He’s so attached—he’s thinking about her, he wants her to be thinking about him, he’s stalking her IG, he’s lamenting how much she cared about him cheating with nameless women, and he’s lamenting how little his love meant to her. Yet, as always, it’s completely about Future—the ‘you’ of the song is likely Ciara, but she’s never named. Future’s appeal is often credited with his openness, but his openness has always been limited. His feelings always come first and at the expense of others to dominate and reinforce his masculinity. Future is at his best when he pushes at those limits, when the flaws of his masculinity reveal themselves, begging to be analyzed.

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