The hottest rapper on the planet attended the annual Rites of Spring musical festival on the Vanderbilt University lawn this past Saturday night, but as the headliner. You do what you want when you popping and Future has earned the right to pop off a lil’ bit if he so chooses. Hyped as always, he and his main man ‘the coolest DJ in the world’ DJ Esco, appeared on stage ready to turn up. The sold-out crowd was beyond hyped already, and the tag-team duo just added gasoline to the already blazing fire. As always, the rap star provided fans their money’s worth, jumping around and performing hit after hit.
Thirty-two-year old Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, known professionally as Future, was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. After amassing a series of mix tapes between 2010 and 2011, Future signed a major-label deal with Epic Records and A1 Recordings, which helped launch his own label imprint, Freebandz. Since 2014, Future has released mix tapes Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights, What A Time To Be Alive and Purple Reign. He dropped his third studio album, DS2 last summer and his fourth EVOL a couple of months ago.
Future was a bit of an oddity when he broke through with Pluto in 2012. A sing-songy, auto-tune-devoted rapper with a knack for catchy hooks, his rise brought fame and derision. His cousin is Rico Wade of Organized Noize and Future had the co-sign of legendary Atlanta rap collective the Dungeon Family, but some still didn’t take to his ‘astronaut music’ style right away. Nonetheless, he became a household name over the next two years.
His work ethic was well established even before he was a star, and he managed to team with guys like Metro Boomin and Zaytoven to start this remarkable run of killer music. At a time when it seemed like fellow Atlanta trap stars were dealing with under-performing albums, Future was able to reset his course for even greater heights by stepping his game up, post Honest. While he hasn’t become a Drake-ian presence just yet, he has catapulted himself ahead of the rest, by constantly pumping out new and good music—a trilogy of album quality mix tapes, a stellar collaboration with Drake, where he manages to turn hip-hop’s biggest hit-maker into a special guest star.
Future has had one ‘helluva’ year. He and Drake’s What A Time To Be Alive debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 back in September, on the heels of DS2 becoming Future’s first album to reach No. 1 on the charts. Future has more than just sustained his career following an underwhelming sophomore effort—he’s thrived and become the most omnipresent popular rapper of the present. He is now the most influential rapper of the moment, with traces evident in the styling of young rappers from L.A. to New York. He’s a spiritual peak within gangsta rap, whereby a dope boy renders himself low and sometimes indecipherable—yet articulate enough to communicate pain in rich detail.
The trap star makes prevalent use of Auto-Tune in his songs, both rapping and singing with the effect. He shows that it’s still possible for Auto-Tune to be an interesting artistic tool. He also finds a multitude of ways for the software to accentuate. Now, everybody wants to rap in Auto-Tune.