Last week, Future was sitting in Central Park admiring the horses and buggies (“Shit is real out here,” he said, fixated) and putting half of his focus into an upcoming tour with Drake and Miguel. The other half of his effort remained in finishing Honest, his follow-up album from 2012’s Pluto. His debut managed to crack the Billboard Top Ten, but that wasn’t enough for the Atlanta native. He nixed pre-promo mixtapes like Super Future, Fire Marshall Future, and Future Hendrix in exchange for the real him. That’s where Honest comes into play, armed with a lead single that gives no fucks in its polite arrogance about Future being the hottest rapper out and bottle popping like it’s in his job description.
Perhaps he’s being too honest though. After making some off-color remarks about Drake’s latest project (and sizing himself up next to his Canadian pal), the Future was was kicked off Drake’s tour. That’s fine. He still plans to tour (with a pending $1.5 million dollar lawsuit against Drake), has an upcoming album, and Ciara on his arm. When he’s not clocking anywhere from eight to eighteen hours in the studio and commuting every other day between New York and L.A., Future is studying real estate. Yes, you read that correctly. He loves fashion, too; enough to someday pursue it full-time. There’s a lot going on with Future’s present, and he checks in to discuss it all, including his superstar-slash-sex symbol status, the artistry of Miley Cyrus, and his goal to be a touring artist.
What have the past few months been like in the life of Future?
Well, just been working a lot in the studio, travelling a lot from L.A. to New York. I’ve been working on the album in studios that I like to work in. But besides that, everything has been going great. Trying to finish the album up, photo shoots, different videos, watching the charts and seeing where the song’s going. I dropped my single “Honest.” It’s been going great.
How has your mindset changed going into Honest as opposed to when you went into Pluto?
I just wanted to open up more. It was just about being in a different mind state. It’s freedom of expression; I wanted to express more of an emotional side. I’m doing my records with more emotion, finding beats that tap into the emotion that I’m feeling that day. It’s more passionate. It’s overall a well-rounded album.
Well, the single is catchy as hell, but you already knew that. Is there a “Future Formula,” where you know how to stick songs in people’s heads?
The “Future Formula”? Hmmm, it’s about being at the right place at the right time. That’s the formula.
So what do you do? Do you get a line stuck in your head and then head to the studio and lay it down?
You know, it’s very rare that I have something in my head and I just put it down when I get to the studio. Usually what I come up with is on the spot.
So you freestyle your lyrics?
How do you get into that mode? Do you get drunk? Watch a romantic comedy?
It’s really just my God-given talent.
How are you handling this superstar status?
I’m handling it well, because I feel like I have grown into being a superstar. This is what I was built for, what I was born to do. It’s just about embracing it. I embrace my superstar status. I’m not afraid of stardom. I was pretty much prepared for it, being around other superstars like Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Even before I put a record out, I was already around them so I was just groomed into the person that I am today.
At this stage in the game, do you still list YC’s “Racks On Racks” as an accomplishment? Or do you just never discuss it.
I don’t really discuss “Racks On Racks” because it was so so long ago and I dropped what? 20 hits since then, 10 number one records after “Racks On Racks.” It’s just a thing of the past, but I’m very appreciative of the song because it got me a chance to grow from it and prove to myself that I can do it over and over again. It’s to prove to the haters that I’m here to stay. That’s what I do. I make hits.
Do you feel like there are more haters now or at the beginning of your career?
There’s always haters, you can’t worry about it. The more haters, the more success. I’m prepared for whatever happens.
For a good while no one knew how good-looking Future was because you kept hiding behind those sunglasses, but once you took them off…
It was game over?
Game over. How are you adjusting to being a sex symbol?
I feel like that’s something I was born into. Even before being a superstar, I always had a thing with the ladies. They always gravitated toward me. I always had a thing with women. I’m just using my career to the best of my ability. I believe it’s more of a conversation piece once you get to know me. There’s more to it than just a look.
Well you are part of one of hip-hop’s best looking couples. How do you and Ciara handle that?
I feel like we in it, so we don’t really pay attention to it, but I guess you could say it feels great to be recognized as one of the best couples in hip-hop.
So how do you turn down groupies?
Man, I don’t even put myself in those situations where I’d have to turn down groupies! I feel like my fans, they know me. Sometimes they’re just willing to “express” themselves differently from others. Whether you’re a groupie or a fan, I’m just happy to have people accept my music.
Tell me some more about the album.
Expect the unexpected. I’m willing to go the extra distance to get my point across and step outside the box from the average rapper. It showcases another side of me. I feel like the fans will be pleased when the project finally has the chance to come out.
Before the album dropped, you had planned the release of a handful of mixtapes. But then you decided against it. What happened with that?
There’s two different crowds: the mixtape crowd and the album crowd. The mixtape crowd is used to downloading albums for free and not go out and buy it. I’m trying to make sure we put up the right numbers. I’m signed to a label, so I really can’t have the freedom of putting out music for free anymore. It’s just about being able to bridge the gaps and making it a great business relationship.
That makes sense. Will there be any other artists you’re planning on collaborating with?
Right now, the album isn’t all the way finished, so I can’t really say who’s gonna be on the album and who’s not gonna be on the album. At this point if I gave names, I’m still going through the process of recording, so it’s gonna be tough.
What’s the next single going to be?
The next single is “Real and True” with Miley Cyrus.
What’s Miley like? People love her, then hate her, then love her, then hate her. I’ve heard though she’s a real artist when she gets in the studio.
Miley’s real artistic. I can respect her creative energy, where she goes with it. I respect her ability to take risks and be able to make great music.
Will you be touring the new album here?
The new album I will be touring. After I drop my album I want to be able to do my own tour and just be a touring artist. It’s going to be great.
What do you put on your tour rider?
Just fruits, water, juice, t-shirts, towels. Just the basics, a little food here and there. Table food. My rider’s not too complicated.
You do have some expensive taste in clothes though. Who are some of your favorite designers?
I like Balmain, Givenchy, Alexander Wang, YSL, Hermes…
Do you have a Ballin t-shirt?
It’s the Balmain parody shirt that says “Ballin” instead.
I usually like plain t-shirts. Besides, “Ballin” would be stating the obvious.
Has the movement from hip-hop to fashion been a natural progression for rappers? It feels like nowadays, artists are really moving into haute couture.
Yeah, I believe it’s a natural progression because it’s like a freedom of speech. I know fashion is one of my passions, being able to express yourself through your clothes. Sometimes the way you dress says a lot about your character.
When would you say you first took an interest in top designers?
I’ve been into designers – whether it’s a top-notch designer or a brand, I like to switch it up. I like to accessorize and wear things that express the way I feel. Sometimes my clothes reflect how I feel that day.
What other things do you like?
I’m venturing into the real estate business; it’s a great time for it. Who knows, the sky is the limit.
So wait…what happens when someone is looking at a house and Future is standing there?
Hopefully it’ll make them want to buy it!