As Atlanta’s Future plans for the release of Pluto, his debut album on Epic Records, many Hip-Hop fans are just getting accustomed to the alien-like voice heard on tracks like “Tony Montana,” released last year, and more recently “Magic” featuring T.I.
While some detractors may regard his presence in the rap game as an auto-tuned flash in the pan, Future made it clear in this interview, that he is making unworldly music to last.
He's making "Pluto music."
Future's musical roots date back several years, when he was part of studio sessions with the production crew, Dungeon Family.
He developed an ear for music by sitting in on sessions with Ludacris and observing the creation of other projects, produced by his cousin Rico Wade.
Now, three years after his first appearance on mixtapes, Future has acquired landed features from Hip-Hop heavyweights like T.I., Drake, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, and singer R Kelly.
With hits on the radio and TV, and while his debut effort is set to release on April 17, Future offers fans his project, Astronaut Status, the mixtape prelude to Pluto.
But, as we know, rap is never just about the music. It became deeper than rap when controversy surrounded Future regarding Drake’s no-show in the “Tony Montana,” video. At the time, Future regarded the move as “a slap in the face.” Then, shockingly and shortly thereafter, Future reportedly denied a Lil’ Wayne verse on the remix to his infectious breakthrough track. Now, after having time to reflect on the situation, Future took AllHipHop.com to Pluto and back to give us the answers to the questions we had about his relationship with the Young Money camp and his plans going forward with the release of his debut project.
AllHipHop.com: What's good, man?
Future: Man, I’m good. We on this promo tour man, on the tour bus. I just did the interview with 101.7 FM in Delaware. We on our way to Philly on the tour bus.
AllHipHop.com: So, it's been a big year, really past two years, for your career. Talk to me about this path to the top, where your songs are all over radio and on MTV Jams and BET, and you're one of the biggest artists buzzing in Atlanta. How did this happen for you?
Future: It happened just being over a period of time, just being like being a part of the Dungeon Family. On the producer side and being around some great writers, like Marquez who wrote “Waterfalls” [by TLC]. And being able to be up under my cousin Rico Wade and watch him work, as he works with other artists and showing how they create in the building process of putting the beat together. Being around him for a second and being around my cousin Rico Wade and working on the albums with him such as Ludacris’, being a part of that and getting a chance to see him write and seeing the artist take some of his work. Showing you that your work is not in vain, you know what I’m saying? That you are going in the right direction. And to get it from a major artist when you are an independent artist and just writing it, and then an artist comes and gets your song, it just shows you that you can be a part of this game.
But as an artist, it didn’t happen for me 'til like three years ago when I was working with my brother Rocko on his mixtapes. I used to always be a part of his career, but at the time when he dropped Wild Life the mixtape and I had two songs on there, I just looked at it like it was an opportunity, or a window, to gain. And at that time, I dropped a mixtape, within two months of Wild Life dropping. I needed to feed off the energy of his mixtape, and I took it from there. I started dropping mixtapes every 2-3 months and made sure I put out a song once a month and for two years straight. I just kept sticking with that formula.
AllHipHop.com: Nice, that's dope, man. So we recently did an interview with Rocko, and he said you have an uncanny ability to pick beats and knock out verses and features. Can you talk to me about your relationship with Rocko? What impact does he have on your music?
Future: Nah, he’s not involved with my music. Not nothing personal, we like brothers first before anything, but the way I create music and how I create music is by myself, and he’s not usually there. He usually don’t come to my studio sessions. But at the end of the day, we brothers, so it's bigger than music. But just to have the ability to share my music from him is a win-win situation, knowing that he’s an artist, and he’s in the music industry, and he went through it before I went through it. I get a chance to learn from him before I make a mistake. I get a chance to correct it without even making a mistake, so he gives me good advice on how to go down some of the rocky roads that he went down, you know what I mean? But musically, I just get creative and go in the studio by myself and create.
AllHipHop.com: Clearly, the fans are liking your music this year and XXL voted you on their Freshmen 2012 list, but some Hip-Hop fans are still getting used to you. What is your lane in Hip-Hop?
Future: You can expect an honest perspective when you hear Future. You can think its all about "Magic", or “Tony Montana", or “Watch This", but you have to hear all my mixtapes. You have to put everything all up in one pot, and then that’s what you get from me. It’s a combo, it’s a bunch of flavors in the pot, and that’s what makes me. You couldn’t understand that by listening to one or two or three songs from me. You have to listen to a variety of mixtapes and understand what I‘m trying to bring to the table, and to understand that, that’s the point that I’m making. So if you haven’t listened to me, go ahead and go get all the mixtapes at LiveMixtapes.com and make sure you go get every mixtape so when Pluto drops, don’t feel like 'I’m left out.' When Pluto drops, you gonna be caught off guard.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, it’s true that if you listened to Hip-Hop music over the last year, you are familiar with Future or at least the “Tony Montana” track. You might have been under a rock if you didn't hear that track. Every single time I turned on the radio at the end of last year, I heard that song.
Future: If you still sleeping right now, you probably brain dead.
AllHipHop.com: [laughter] Ok, so, lyrically you seem to ride the tracks out with the effect on your voice like on the “Tony Montana” track. Critics over the years have detracted from the auto-tune's use. What’s your feeling on the effect? How do you go about writing your verse?
Future: A lot of people don’t understand that’s how I talk sometimes, and it’s just my regular voice. Sometimes it’s that effect gives it that little bit extra meaning, and it adds the spice on the words. Sometimes when you trying to get in the lyrics and you’re trying to come across and you are trying to make your point, you might need that extra spice on it, just so it comes across to the people. You wonder why when I do my shows and people are singing my words, word for word.
It’s because different songs call for different things, and you express yourself in different ways on different days. You wake up feeling different from yesterday and some days are good and some days are bad, but when you are doing your music, you want to capture that moment you feeling. If you are feeling down, you want to make sure you go in the booth and capture the feelings that you are feeling on that day. Whatever that effect you use for your voice, it's only expressing the feeling that you probably be feeling that you really can’t get out. And the only way you can get it out is putting that effect on it to give it that real creativity, but at the same time it's still authentic, so whatever you are saying and you aren’t taking away from your words. You just added that creativity to it.
When you see a picture certain types of ways, it's like when you paint a picture, and you paint it with black and white. But sometimes you want to add color to it, and so you put a red to it, a green, you add color, so that’s when you add effects. Sometimes to add adlibs, sometimes you don’t. It's needed for that black and white picture when you want to get more in-depth. Certain pictures,, I don’t add color and other ones, I do add color to give it that color to brighten it up.
AllHipHop.com: Now with that, Drake didn't make an appearance to the video shoot for the "Tony Montana", record and you voiced your opinion on that, saying it was "a slap in the face" that Drake publicly commented on the issue saying, “I’ve got no issues with [Future]. I’m happy I got on the song.” What is your stance on the issue now that time has gone by?
Future: Man, I look at the Drake situation as another situation that I learned. It was a learning experience just for me far as just knowing every time you are an artist and me being an artist, at the height of your career, some of the decisions you are making are not 100 percent you. You got a whole team that channels some of the decisions that you are making, and me and Drake before that incident or when he didn’t show up to the video, our personal relationship was always great. It was when you got the labels that have people who they pick that can’t close deals and that get you to step in between like, “Hey since you got a personal relationship, see what going on and make it happen.”
So that’s what I’m learning now, sometimes you can let your personal relationships get into your business. If it’s all business, then keep it all business. Our personal relationship, I could never let it come between what the label has going on, because you never know the situation. It’s politics, and they’ve been in it before us. All the labelmates and managers and different people that he has around him, they’ve been in the game for years and years, like 20 years and so the relationship that they have, you might not know what you getting into. So certain things when you do this, you got to let your personal relationships stick with your personal relationships. Business - you have to let the lawyers and management handle that.
But yeah, like I said, me and Drake, we good, we A1. Like with everything, we learned how to make the personal stuff be personal, and like the business, we let the lawyers and the management figure it out. We gonna move on from it, and we understand that we can’t let a mistake stop us from making history together and what we got to do to make the air clear and make money together and go on tours together. And I can’t let that stop me or my personal life.
For the better of my future, it's about not burning bridges, 'cause I’ve been in the industry for two years, and I want to have a long lasting career for 10 years. And you don’t want to start off by getting into it with an artist for not even a issue out my hands or his, and it wasn’t his call or my call, and it was out of both of our hands. We don’t want that to stop our business that we want to do down the line. So certain things like that, you just brush them off and learn from your mistakes and learn how to handle it. And the next time it approaches itself, I know how to handle it keeping it straight business. I know to keep it with the lawyers, and let management handle it. Personally, we just gonna keep it personal. If we talking and we good, then that’s the only understanding that we need.
AllHipHop.com: That’s a real professional way to handle things, man.
Future: Yeah, because professionally, that's the best way to handle it, to have a long-standing career. When we walk around with everybody and when people respect you, it's like, money, power, and respect. At the end of the day, like a lot of artists today let their egos get in the way of them making more money than they could make with each other, and they not making more music and great music, giving the people what they haven’t really seen. They always see egos getting in the middle, and then people never want to get in pictures together and never see each other, never get on a record again, never speak on each other again. And it's always confusion or turmoil with another artist. But at the same time, we trying clean it up and just show that we trying to make good music.
AllHipHop.com: What about Wayne? You have said you were a big fan of his music. Have you spoken with Wayne, and is there any possibility of new songs between the two of you?
Future: When I seen Wayne, like Wayne ready. He was like, whenever I send stuff, he gon’ get on it. I talked to him, and he was at my studio, because he was working out of my studio one time when he was in Atlanta, and he came to my studio. He was working and he was in the back, and I didn’t even go to the back in his zone because I know as an artist, when you’re in your zone, you are in your zone. I got a chance to see him when we was walking in the hallway. He was just like, “Whatever, just send it to me. I got you bro.” I understand Wayne, his words is everything to him, so if I send it to him, I know he gonna knock it out soon as I send it to him. But it's about getting the right records. I don’t want to use my favor on something just to be using it, 'cause I can get him on it. I want to make sure it's something special for the fans and for the people.
AllHipHop.com: Ok, enough about the rumors and all those questions. Tell me the truth about this Pluto album and what fans can expect. What you been working on, man?
Future:Pluto, I been really building Pluto up for like damn near two, probably three years. I’ve been building it up and just showing that I just want to set the trend to show them that Pluto is bigger than life. Pluto is bigger than life, Pluto is bigger than “Magic” and “Tony Montana”. Pluto is music with no color; it has no boundaries, it doesn’t have no limits. That’s why I say it’s beyond boundaries, it’s beyond music and beyond anything you done heard from an Atlanta rapper. You not gonna be able to put “rapper” before my name after you hear Pluto. You just gonna respect me as Future.
It’s bigger than, “you are a Hip-Hop artist,” or, “you are a rapper.” It's like I make great music, and I make music that I know rappers haven’t even made before. I’m being creative. That’s why I say, Pluto - they gonna give it a name and I guess the name is gonna be Pluto for the music that you make. If you make good kinds of music, it’s called "Pluto music." It's music that separates from me from any other category than you can say you can put it in. It's like I’m into astronomy; that's what Pluto is. Pluto isn't even a planet anymore, so the music that I’m making is not even around. Only time that music comes around is when I do it.
AllHipHop.com: People talk about outer space and stuff like that, but that's a new take on the concept. It's def different. That's kind of refreshing.
Future: Outer space for me is so catchy and kids love it, but for me outer space and Pluto is different, because if you think about it, it takes like four or five thousands of years to get to Pluto, and it took years to make Pluto. It took years to make this. It goes hand-in-hand with the concept that I'm trying to bring across.
When I say I'm painting a picture, I started with the feet and the bottom and the grass,and now you are watching the whole picture form, and you like, "Oh that's what he was trying to say." But it took years and years for you to get it. So you have to be up on my mixtapes. You have to understand me to get Pluto. For you to understand me, you have to go into my personal life and why I dropped my first mixtape, and why "Watch This," didn't do that good, and why "Racks" took over "Watch This", and why I had to come out with, "Tony Montana", and why I dropped "Magic", and why "Magic" was out at the same time with Tony Montana.
To this date, "Magic" is a year-old song, and "Tony Montana" is like a year-and-a-half old. Certain things, you won't even know. "Same Damn Time" won't be til summertime, and songs I have on Pluto, that I have had for years, I just couldn't have put them out two years ago, because it wouldn't have made sense. People were gearing up to go to Pluto, and now they ready to blast off.
AllHipHop.com: Ha ha, that's classic. Just one last question, what can the fans look forward to in the coming weeks?
Future: Before the album drops, just be on the look out for this "Same Damn Time" movie that we are dropping. We are dropping a movie for the same damn time. Check it out on 106th & Park, then when I'm drop this "Astronaut Chick". This gonna change the way I'm looked at as far as my imprint in the game.
With what I'm rapping and what I'm standing for, I'm trying to come in the game and make a real impact in the game. And I'm not just trying come be somebody who's remembered as, 'Oh, that's Future, who had those one songs and who had dropped the album.' I'm trying have them look at it like, "He's someone that changed the game and showed people you can be whoever you want to be in music." If you want to go to Mars, or if you want to be a mad scientist, whoever you want to be, just be you and make sure that you are you 24 hours out of the day. That's what I'm trying to show with Pluto.