Who Chose Future?

Dirty Sprite 2 is poured up somewhere right now awaiting distribution and the world couldn’t be more gassed. This is confounding because Future does not immediately appear as the type of artist to accrue such a heavy following. Since 2012, the Atlanta artist has delivered on several occasions but never in a mind-blowing manner. His last album barely broke 100k copies sold -though it did debut second on the Billboard charts. But yesterday when the date to Hendrix’s new project was announced, the internet didn’t quite break but it fractured some.

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Rap has been in a Future frenzy for the last few months now, dating back to the release of the ‘56 Nights’ tape and leading up to his performance at SummerJam. It was when I first pondered, ‘why Future?’ While browsing Future’s recent releases on my music plug site, I found that literally ALL of the tracks, including those where he’s just featured, were the hottest songs on the website (they had the maximum number of flames by them).

As one of the senior figures in the new Atlanta troupe, it seems that Future has been able to herald his seniority, leading to him the spot as the most acclaimed rapper from the area. Considering that Future in some ways invented -he definitely was the first to commandeer- the raspy harmonization that we can’t get away from (“Magic” and “Turn On The Lights”), it seems that the people are just now realizing that Future is now deserving of the praise. After all, before we can praise other ATLiens like Rich Homie and Thugger, as well as Travi$ Scott, we must find the impetus that made it okay for the south to rap this way. That impetus is undoubtedly Future.

But let’s not make it seem as if this is just a pitiful, respect-your-elder type of love that Future is getting. Since ‘Pluto, and even on “Itchin”, Future’s been delivering the hits we didn’t know we needed. I just don’t think it’s been in a way that warrants all of this acclaim, so perhaps there is some pity involved.  However, ‘Honest’ was one of the most anticipated and discussed about albums of last year and gave us the smash that still incites riot in “Move That Dope”. The Kanye feature and introspection of the album respectively made ‘Honest’ a more respectable album. Just the album’s title -and ensuing subject matter that was candid- could be the reason why pundits, like Ernest Baker, who’s been hyping the shit out of Future as of late in typical Ernest Baker fashion, are giving Future the respect he maintains today. Drama conflated Future’s upcoming release with the “Energy” video drop and  Meek Mill’s album success.

Overall, there has been a lot more Future to talk about since the time ‘Honest’ released. Let us not forget the events following the release of his previously most anticipated album, which could in part go toward Future’s recent saucing up. All the brouhaha surrounding Wayne’s verse on “Karate Chop” made Future a little more prevalent in our minds. Not long after that did we get the news of the Future-Ciara split just months after the birth of their child together, which shocked the world for a minute, making Future a more polarizing figure. And the press surrounding Future only grew as the rapper and DJ Esco’s trip to Dubai ended up in Esco’s arrest and two-month detention. Whether positive or not, the attention that Future’s received in recent times has attributed to his large acclaim in the Rap world and he’s benefitting from it like a muhfucka.

The ‘56 Nights’ mixtape was direct result of Esco’s arrest and that gave us “March Madness” which has been lauded, but not as much as “Commas”, undoubtedly one of the hottest tracks of the year. Perhaps it’s taken a release like “Commas” for people to realize that Future has been whipping up fire on a basis consistent enough to big him up whenever he makes a move. But I would bet that, still, no one puts Future in any type of Top 5 conversation, whether that be a Top 5 albums of the year, Top 5 songs, or maybe even Top 5 out of Atlanta (contemporarily, of course). And if they do, then it could very well be that rap is changing and the standards in which artists gain status are no longer based on radio singles, wordplay, crossover, and conscientiousness. One’s ability to hype the crowd and harmonize on tracks has always been important but right now with all the love that Future’s received, it seems that music fans and the genre’s most respected voices have opted for the harmonized hype for the time being. Let’s jump in the spaceship and do some intergalactic travel with Future while he’s on this tear.

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