This isn’t Clickbait. This is an Opinion.
Future isn’t underrated. He’s not under-recognised as far as Trap music goes. His influence is almost universally acknowledged, and no one in the rap game has taken shots at Hendrix. And now, on the eve of the release of his self-titled album Future, I felt it necessary to highlight just why Future is, to me at least, one of Trap’s most influential and necessary artists, and why he’s become to Trap, what Beyonce is to Pop music.
Going back into Future’s discography, which is really extensive, we see the evolution of Future from a featuring artist who barely cracked a second glance on cuts alongside Lil’ Wayne and Drake, as well as the constant space references of Astronaut Status and Pluto, to being one of the most respected “mumble rappers” with a run of successful projects most rappers can’t match over the span of their entire careers.
He used to be a Regular Old Trapper
On Astronaut Status and Pluto, Hendrix had yet to find his niche. It’s clear though, that the foundations were forming. Nayvadius’ delivery – slow, considered, slurry and barely lyrical – keeps you listening. You have no idea why, but it’s a decidedly Southern, beat-focused affair on his early work. This is a pattern that Future has refined to include an even more slurry singing-esque delivery that is all his own. It’s been copied to death, but the man hasn’t lost his edge (his most well-known clone, Desiigner, hasn’t given the streets anything significant since his smash Panda). Future keeps growing sonically, just like the ever-shifting Sasha Fierce. Through numerous alter egos, soundscapes, Future’s managed to keep his core demographics – the strip club and dedicated Trap fans – satisfied and craving more. Even when he absolutely flooded us during the 7 Rings era.
Future’s Consistency is probably the Industry’s Most Sought After Quality
Look, just like Mrs Carter, Future almost never puts his name on duds. Features, projects, hell, even mixtape hosting roles – this guy has been and still is on one of Rap’s most enviable hit-making runs. From October 2014’s Monster right through to the classic 56 Nights, and to his latest EVOL, Hendrix has been dropping nothing but the most serious headbangers. And, unlike the bulk of today’s mumble trap cuts, many of these projects feature songs that stand the test of time, and that can get just about any crowd hopping.
Many critics gave the Drake x Future collab project, What A Time To Be Alive, the proverbial side-eye. “Drake didn’t bring his A-game.” “Future carried Drizzy all the way.” “Forgettable”, were just a few of the superlatives used to review this work. Yet, months later, standouts kept coming back into the consciousness of the music-buying public. Jumpman, Digital Dash and others served to prove just about everyone a little wrong. WATTBA was a thing, and when it worked, it gave us classics. In fact, Future’s ability to forge connections with other artists (just like Bey) could be his defining strength, and the key to his consistency. His biggest commercial success to date, Dirty Sprite 2, is testament to this discernment. Where Ya At? alongside the 6 God proved to be a smash, and is part of the reason why so many regard DS2 as Future’s best work.
“Well Future is consistent. Bangers on every project, personal or collaborated. DS2 is my favorite project” – Joshua, a writer.
“Codeine crazy best tune, DS2 best album” – Mufasa, a mean person and music fundi.
There’s a Reason the Future Hive Exists
Look, if drawing parallels between Bey and Hendrix doesn’t make sense to you from an artistic growth, sonic risk and sheer professional consistency perspective, let’s take it to the fans. Future has a band of fans who will just about say anything to support their hero. The Trap impresario barely ever acknowledges his rabid fanbase, preferring to keep them fueled with codeine-soaked bangers and subtle hints where he needs them to “ride” for him. Indeed, Futurevelli’s fanbase has defended him even in instances where he clearly seems to be in the wrong. His recently-ended tiff with ex Ciara over the custody of their child, and his “threats” towards her current sweetheart Russel Wilson in his music (for which Ciara instructed her lawyers to take action) saw fans flood Mrs Wilson’s social media feeds incessantly whenever Future dropped work. Flaming rose emojis when EVOL dropped, and umbrellas when Purple Reign came through were overwhelming shows of solidarity for the Freebandz Gang boss by his fans. Childish? Sure, but then it isn’t exactly like the Beyhive is without its own rather gag-worthy shows of loyalty for its chosen deity, now is it? (Seriously, rabid fanboy-ism is silly when it becomes poisonous and vile. Don’t do it for Future or anyone else. I don’t care whether you’re joking or not).
He went Quiet, and now Trap’s Favourite Son is About to Drop More Heat.
Hiatuses in music are frequent, and rarely ever culminate in noteworthy projects at their conclusion. In other genres, we get Frank Ocean’s Endless and Blond. Pop hiatuses yield Bey’s Grammy-winning Lemonade and Adele’s simply ridiculously successful 25. Rap? Especially Trap? Well, beyond one or two projects, such as A Tribe Called Quest’s magnificent We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service and Run The Jewels’ Run The Jewels III, there aren’t many extended breaks yielding work we can get worked up about. But this is Future. The man who had Rap’s most consistent run over two years despite flooding the market with work, the guy who brought Metro Boomin’ and to a lesser extent, Zaytoven to the fore as Trap’s Premiere and Scott Storch-esque go-to hitmakers… That man wiped his social media, took a break, went underground, and surfaced with a suitably ambiguous piece of artwork, a US tour with serious backup, and a title that couldn’t be more interesting: Future. Tomorrow, the internet gets to spazz out over new material from the man who made sipping codeine cool to impressionable kids the world over. And no one knows what to expect, but we all know it’s going to be heat. How?
It’s Future. Trap’s Beyonce. He doesn’t drop anything but heat. That’s how.
Bheki doesn’t write this stuff for a living, and has no idea what a byline even is. Half of the things he writes under The Headphone have barely been fact-checked, but they’re often kind of true in an alt-fact world. He likes music and video games, and if you want to talk, or argue about either of those things, you can find him on Twitter.