The story behind the rise of Nayvadius Wilburn is one of birthright. Over the past several months, Future has levitated himself into a prime position as one of hip-hop’s most discussed rappers and it all started in his cousin’s basement studio in Atlanta, Georgia decades ago. It just so happens that Future’s cousin is producer Rico Wade. That is all it took for the Atlanta emcee to be born into a world where The Dungeon Family (Organized Noize, OutKast, Goodie Mob, etc) was right by his side to push him to pursue his career as a rapper. The creative energy surrounding Future’s youth paid dividends as he earned positive recognition for his early mixtapes 1000, Dirty Sprite, and True Story. Once his debut album Pluto arrived in 2012, it was seemingly clear that Future had cemented a place in the game as an artist capable of cooking up street anthems via his distinct sung-rap delivery. Tracks such as “Tony Montana”, “Magic”, and “Samn Damn Time” struck a chord with his fan-base, which is presently strong as it’s ever been. And while Future’s last studio album Honest was met with somewhat mixed reviews, the Hendrix of the rap game has released three mixtapes since then in Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights that have made his upcoming Dirty Sprite 2 project an event to mark on your calendar come Friday.
It is fair to say that Future has been the most consistent rapper in the game over the past 10 months. Some may raise their eyebrows at this claim, but one would be hard pressed to find any other artist who has delivered three quality projects in that span of time, all of which have stimulated a monumental influence within the genre. With a rekindled focus on making music for his hardcore supporters and Ciara in the rearview, Future kicked things off with Monster last October and the 18 track body of work found the Freebandz chief in a sinister yet remarkable comfort zone. With executive producer Metro Boomin behind the boards, Future provided us with everything from hard hitting, infinite flame emoji bangers “Radical”, “Monster”, and “F*ck Up Some Commas” to melodic gems such as “Hardly” and standout closer “Codeine Crazy”. The transition of “Throw Away” from first half building-shaking head-nodder to its emotional, uncompromisingly honest outro remains as an exceptional Future moment. In fact, memorable moments can be mapped out all across the project and the proof lies within the impact of the exceptional collection.
Over the past few months, it has become essential for Future’s music to be included on DJ playlists across the country and he is one of the most tweeted about rap artists in the nation. Monster started the engine of this hype machine, but Beast Mode and 56 Nights were able to sustain Future’s massive buzz at a remarkable pace. While Beast Mode certainly contained catchy anthems such as “Real Sisters”, it was the shimmering keys of longtime collaborative producer Zaytoven that allowed the project to fully shine as Future penned his hood poetics over a shining set of instrumentals. And just when we thought Future couldn’t capture such organic chemistry with another producer, the Atlanta rapper struck gold three times in a row on 56 Nights with Southside. Inspired by DJ Esco’s 56-day stint in a Dubai prison, Future dropped the project in March and the widespread acclaim from the e-streets reigned on. The culmination of Future’s confidence was heard loud and clear on tracks such as “Now”, “Trap N*ggas”, and the amazingly hypnotic “March Madness”. Armed with enough trap odes to last most rappers for multiple years, Future has managed to accomplish the feat in a matter of months and consequently sparked a magnetic energy around his music.
All of this musical evidence brings us to present day as Future’s third album Dirty Sprite 2 is set to drop on Friday. A handful of the aforementioned singles are included on the tracklist (“F*ck Up Some Commas”, “Real Sisters”, and “Trap N*ggas”) as well recently released “Blow A Bag”, and there is no reason to think that the rest of LP will not be filled with a similar level of quality. It is not often that we get to witness artists experience such a consistent hot streak and even if Future’s music may not fit the taste of boom-bap, lyrically-obsessed aficionados, he has found himself to be in a special place in his career and a large portion of the hip-hop community is feasting because of it.
Rap music has seen its fair share of artists who capitalize off their hype due to catchy singles or Internet gossip. While Future may be “that guy” who is being praised by practically every fan boy who has a Twitter account, there is nothing inauthentic about his recent output. What Future’s music represents is sincerity, a true freedom of expression, and an unwavering ability to explore the duality of his own character. Behind the infectious flows, drug-fueled lyrics, club-ready hooks, and stretched Auto-Tuned vocals is an enduring artist who is passionate about taking his fans on captivating and compelling auditory journeys. And with Dirty Sprite 2 (full track list here) including all of Future’s go-to production partners, there is little doubt that this album will be another sonically pleasing adventure. Ultimately, it is wise to have faith in DS2 and in Atlanta’s current torchbearer because while his morals may be misguided, his candidness is real and that is what should be expected from an artist whose recent work has been deservingly embraced by the masses. Fill up your cups on Friday, it’s bound to be another epic ride.