With his second studio album, Honest, out today, we get real with Atlanta rapper, Future.
“I’ve been catching a nice vibe,” decides Atlanta rapper Future of his time spent in London during a comparatively warm February. “I have even been inspired by the studio I have been working in, Amy Winehouse recorded there and I love that because I was a fan of hers. She was amazing, rest in peace,” he adds, the RIP reflex being an automatic must for most rappers. Future’s a busy man right now; currently in the UK to perform for the first time, he’s also busy writing for pop stars, finishing his own record and preparing for an arrival of an altogether different sort. “It’s super exciting. I’m nervous, but not too nervous. I want her to just be good,” he says of expecting a child with his fiancée, R&B chanteuse Ciara. “I’ve been a father before, but it’s her first time, so I’m really more nervous for her. I just want her to be cool and calm,”
Ci-Ci’s future baby isn’t the only thing he’s been busy creating. Honest is the much-awaited follow-up to his debut, Pluto, and there are high hopes for the 6’2 rapper’s second album, which features Pharrell, Pusha T, Kanye, Rihanna and Lil Wayne and production from long time partner Mike Will Made It. He may be relatively unknown in the UK, but in the US, Future clearly has serious pulling power.
The marvellously monikered Nayvadius Cash was bought up in Kirkwood, Atlanta, an area he describes as being “the average hood”. “There’s drug deals and prostitution going on, to every day people going to work, college students getting the train cos it’s right by the train station,” he says in his soupy Southern drawl. “You got your grandma or granddad going to the corner stores. These are the neighbourhoods you grew up in as a baby so we knew each other since we was born. Our parents went to school with each other. It was one of them neighbourhoods; real tight-knit.”
“I’m Future man, I’m Future. I’m one of a kind. You can’t put me in a category. Every record sounds different. I’m a poet. I’m a brand. I’m a lifestyle.”
The 30 year-old has music in his genes; Future’s cousin is Rico Wade, one third of Atlanta production trio Organized Noize who made TLC’s Waterfalls, En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go and a whole heap of Outkast tracks including So Fresh, So Clean. “I didn’t really know what being related to Rico meant when I was a kid, I became more aware towards my early teenage years. It was exciting,” he says. Did it help him get girls? He grins. “Nah, cos I never told no one. Just cos you say someone is your cousin don’t mean it is your cousin. It ain’t like they had Twitter and Instagram when I was at school, maybe then it would have happened. But I ain’t never had a problem getting girls,” he insists. “You just mix and mingle and find out what you like and it happens.”
Wade might not have helped him with the ladies, but he did encourage Future’s musical inclinations. So named by the Organized Noise family because of his prodigious talent as a teen - ‘he’s the future!’ - it was in 2010 that the budding writer and rhymer began flooding the market with a flurry of mixtapes. One of the many from that time, True Story, spawned the eerily insistent single Tony Montana, a nod to Pacino’s infamous overlord. Featuring, slightly randomly, Future rhyming in a rough approximation of a Cuban accent, the track became a huge hip hop hit, with Drake himself jumping on an official remix. Future followed Montana by writing YC’s playfully repetitive Racks, though it was he, not YC, who became the track’s star. Soon after, pop princesses Rihanna and Miley Cyrus asked him to pen them songs (Loveeeeeee Song and My Darlin’ respectively), Drake invited him on tour (although nearly kicked him off it after Future was quoted as saying his own music had more emotional connection that Drizzy’s) while Snoop and R. Kelly put in appearances on his debut album Pluto. The new T-Pain’s most current CV of hard knock Hip Hop hits includes Lil Wayne’s Love Me, Pusha T’s Pain, Rocko’s UOENO and the super-awesome Bugatti from Ace Hood. It’s only a matter of time before a track he writes for himself crosses over from hip hop classic to commercial smash.
Fast forward two years from Pluto and Future is ready to fully reveal himself on Honest, a record he insists is about everyday life experiences. “It’s everything I’ve been through and am still going through. Any situation I can make a song about. I just like to be creative, you know. I’m Future man, I’m Future,” he grins, tossing back his bleached blond dreads. “I’m one of a kind. You can’t put me in a category. Every record sounds different. I’m a poet. I’m a brand. I’m a lifestyle. You know what I’m saying?” he enthuses, becoming the most animated he’s been all morning while shooting at a small studio in east London. “I want to feed the core fans, my audience that’s rocking with me and the fans that’s just started to know about me. The record is turnt up. I like to turnt up. Sometimes it might even be super turnt. Everything happens then,” he says, mysteriously. “Everything good.”