GEN F: Future

Photographer Kendrick Brinson
October 28, 2011

If we could credit a single song for the overabundance of Gucci sneaker prints and stiletto heel holes dug deep into the couches of Georgia club promoters’ VIP booths this past spring, it would be “Racks,” the runaway single by Atlanta newcomers YC and Future. The Auto-Tune-heavy song was a bona fide hit long before YC signed to Universal and made a video, which severely downplayed Future’s camera time, resulting in Future’s antagonistic tweet: “Fuck errbody who had sum to do wit racks video! Dat shit waaaaaaaaacccccckkkkkk.” Distancing yourself from the first hit of your career is ill-advised at best, but for Future, a rapper whose seemingly endless cache of underground hits already overwhelmed the success of “Racks,” it’s no worry.

This summer, Future released a gang of mixtapes, each spawning a bevy of singles he didn’t even try to promote. “Everywhere I go, they pretty much playing four or five records, ain’t nobody stickin to one song,” he says, rattling off songs like “Magic,” “Never Been This High” and “Tony Montana,” tracks from three different tapes that have taken off in Atlanta, Miami and New York, respectively. The success of the latter, though, might have something to do with Drake, an eager Future supporter, adding a verse. On “Tony Montana,” Future raps in a Cuban accent like Pacino’s in Scarface, likening the story of Montana’s rise to the ambition of an Atlanta dope-boy and legitimizing hip-hop’s obsession with the film in a way that even Trick Daddy’s Scarface-laden MTV Cribs episode never could. Over the song’s horror movie piano line and 808 rumble (Will A Fool’s production often wrongly attributed to Lex Luger), Future raps: I take over the streets, fresh off that banana boat/ I come straight from the east, where niggas split your cantaloupe!

He claims to have freestyled the entire thing. It’s how he records all of his music. “Somehow things always come out the right way the first time you say it,” Future says. “It’ll have more meaning behind it, and it just feels right when you say it the first time.” That doesn’t, however, explain the tapes’ distinguished sheen. Future’s delivery is piercing and deliberate, his songs boasting a dexterity he may have learned during his time as a tagalong to cousin Rico Wade, the legendary Dungeon Family songwriter/producer. Though worlds away conceptually, Future’s tapes—like the remarkably counterpoised Free Bricks with Gucci Mane—uphold a dedication to experimentation prevalent in old Dungeon Family albums.

Splitting the majority of his time between booths (VIP and otherwise), Future has three separate mixtapes set to drop in the fall. He’s oblivious to what songs will hit where, but his aim is true. “We made ‘Racks’ for the streets, but it’s getting played on pop stations,” he says. “We ain’t make it for the pop stations though, we made it for the clubs first. You do it for all the right reasons, then everything will fall in place.”

Stream: Future, Dirty Sprite

GEN F: Future