Why Future Is the Future of Rap and Why You Should Be Happy About It
With 2012 wrapping-up and pieces reflecting on the year coming as quick as Christmas music, it's clear one album whose success has been as ubiquitous as it's been divisive is Future's Pluto. The Decatur-born rapper, born Nayvadius Wilburn and given his name from his hometown's collective of hip-hop heroes, the Dungeon Family, first emerged on hip-hop's radar on YC's 2011 mega-hit "Racks." One of the most inescapable and quoted songs in recent memory (referenced that same year by Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Jay-Z), its success essentially gave Future, who performs tonight at the Highline Ballroom, carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. Lucky for us, he chose to innovate.
For some, the biggest hurdle in accepting that Future is a genuine creative force might stem from his first impression as a solo artist being seemingly rooted in modern hip-hop cliches. Yes, his first single "Tony Montana" was built around referencing Scarface, had a guest verse from Drake and is just about entirely auto-tuned. But, again, its success with listeners, even with a presumed over-saturation of such ideas, does provide some evidence that Future is doing something right. These suspicions were confirmed last April with his album Pluto's official release.
Over Pluto's 15 tracks, Future brought his vision to life with one of the most cohesive rap full-lengths in recent memory. Given that hip-hop's traditionally never been much of an album medium, with its most celebrated pioneering LPs built around their early released successful singles, it's not that far off to say that, from a construction standpoint, Pluto is grounded in hip-hop tradition. It's precisely this foundation that allows Future to push boundaries without completely alienating his listeners.