Family connections in the music industry are rare, but not for 28-year-old, Atlanta-born (Zone 6-raised) Nayvadius Wilburn. Going by the alias Future –as in the “future of rap,” a name given to him by his pre-Future days rap crew Da Connect– he already had a helpful resource early on his career when he was just a mixtape rapper. Rico Wade, Future’s cousin and Organized Noize/Dungeon Family member who is highly responsible for the success of Outkast and Goodie Mob, encouraged Future to sharpen his writing skills, which proved to be good guidance as Future went on to release several mixtapes such as Dirty Sprite, True Story, and 1000. However, Future’s success and penchant for writing catchy sing-a-long hooks and choruses is what helped him pen hits such as the auto-tune heavy “Racks” and the street, Scarface-inspired “Tony Montana.” Those tracks along with his underground success through several mixtape releases eventually landed Future a deal with Epic Records, headed by urban music mogul LA Reid.
The Dungeon Family days, dropping countless mixtapes for the streets, and making the XXL Freshman 2012 list were just stepping stones and don’t even compare to the present day, where on April 17, he released his debut album, Pluto, a futuristic, avant-garde sounding album with a mixture of street records saved from years of studio sessions and melodic-heavy tracks, showing Future’s more vulnerable side (not to mention a surprise appearance by R&B crooner R. Kelly on ”Parachute“).
Running on a tight schedule, KarenCivil.com was able to catch up with Future and talk to him about a “signature sound,” who really runs Atlanta, conversations with LA Reid, and what that picture he posted with Kanye West earlier Thursday morning was all about.
How was the MTV Hip Hop POV performance last night?
The concert was crazy, man. Everybody came out showing mad love to the whole movement.
Do you ever experience stage freight or nervousness when you perform?
Never experienced stage freight. I would be excited when I hit the stage and when you walk out, the fans are screaming, which gives me a lot of energy so I take it to the next level.
How’s Atlanta reacting so far to Pluto?
They’re loving it. I’m getting a great response. When you listen to the album, you can’t think like it’s a mixtape. It’s a whole new feel from the previous mixtapes I’ve dropped. You’ve really got to broaden your horizons when you’re listening to Pluto, and just think outside the box because it’s more melodic. The melodies are like feel-good music.
Do you still visit Zone 6 area?
Yeah. I was just over there for a barbecue.
Before we get to the album, I want to go back to the Dungeon Family days. What’s your earliest or best memory during those times?
Man, just being in the Dungeon and working. Everybody’s working there. Big name artists coming through like Luda –whoever might come through and we would just be working.
You even have that tatted on you.
What’s the atmosphere in the Dungeon Family like? Is it really a close family relationship between everyone?
Yeah. Everybody’s showing mad love and support for the movement as well as everything that’s going on. They even came up to the concert and showed love. The whole crew.
Rico Wade (of Dungeon Family) was credited as one of the guys who had a huge influence in molding you as a rapper and song writer early on in your career. Would you agree with that?
Yeah, Rico most definitely influenced my career into who I am now.
I noticed you posted a picture earlier last week with Kanye West. Are you guys working on some new material?
Yeah. We’re working on some stuff, which is going to be crazy. Real crazy. Like live band shit.
When should we be expecting you guys to drop some material?
December. That’s when we’re going to drop some stuff.
Now to the album, do you think Pluto is an example of the new sound of 2012 and beyond?
Yes. Exactly. That’s what I’m trying to do. It’s trend music. When they hear it, they’re going to try to make more melodic music, and more music for the soul. It’s not just talking, it’s reaching out to people in real-life situations, you know what I’m saying?
You’re also very versatile; so all your songs have a different vibe to them. Does that mean you don’t have a signature sound like other artists?
Yeah. I ain’t got no signature sound because I never know how I feel. I make music based on how I feel the day of. Music is like art, I can’t tell you what picture I’m going to paint. The day I wake up, I just capture every moment in my life.
So what type of record would you make based off how you’re feeling today?
I would paint a song that would be about being humble. People respect you when you’re humble.
What’s an astronomical chick? Do you have an ideal astronomical chick?
It’s like an astronaut and phenomenal put together. [Laughs]
In a recent interview, you talked about your tracks as being trendy. What are some of the trends you notice in music right now that you may or may not like?
Well, I don’t know because I can’t really say what I don’t like out there. Everybody likes different things, you know what I mean?
What would you say is a more significant event in your career: Making the XXL Freshman list or dropping this album?
Dropping the album.
But how did you react when you made the XXL list?
It was big, man. But I’m more into the album. This thing is bigger than life. This is what I’ve been working on my whole life and I’ve been waiting for this my whole career.
This is also an Epic Records release and LA Reid is the front man there. So what type of conversations do you guys have?
He just tells me to keep doing what I’m doing, and that everyday I got to step up to the challenge.
What about road bumps in your career? Have you ever gone to him for career guidance when you go through some struggles?
Nah. There hasn’t really came a time yet when I really went through major troubles. But who knows? Maybe in the future I might go through some stuff and need to go to LA Reid for advice. He’ll always be there and be willing to give me any advice and guidance on whatever I need.
Now that Pluto has dropped, do you think there’s a battle between you and guys like T.I and Jeezy for the title as King of Atlanta?
The title for King of Atlanta? I wouldn’t say that it’s a title because everybody’s pulling for each other. Nobody really wants to just hold down one title as King of Atlanta or whatever people may call it. It’s just that we’re all pulling and supporting each other. Everybody’s coming out. Big Boi just went diamond, and as a member of Outkast, he’s part of the biggest rap group in the world. With Jeezy and T.I, they’re both platinum artists and to say I’m trying to go up with both of them –it feels more like an embracement of our relationship. They’re like, “Future, you got what it takes to make it to the top.” Rap here is competitive but at the end of the day, I don’t believe it’s that serious enough to be vying for a title. From my career standpoint, I’m trying to look past that. Wherever I go, I represent for Atlanta. I don’t care if I’m in Australia or Paris. I am Atlanta. If you represent Atlanta, you represent wherever you go. Whether it’s T.I.P or Jeezy, we got to wear the crown wherever we go.
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