Today marks the official release of Future’s Epic Records debut Pluto. We were able to get a preview of the album a week in advance, and it was an impressive collection of Auto-Tune street corner narratives with a melodic sound that encouraged sing alongs.
Three of the album’s singles—“Tony Montana,” "Magic," and "Same Damn Time"— have been burning up the airwaves, placing Future among the ranks of artists who can attract attention by rapping or singing. It also explains why big names such as Drake, R.Kelly and T.I. have contributed their talents to the album—it appears that Future’s got next in Atlanta’s burgeoning hip-hop scene.
Just in time for his big day, Future sat down with us to talk about Pluto. As part of an elite cast of signees like OutKast and Usher by rap mogul L.A. Reid, the 25-year-old seems to be on the verge of taking the Dungeon Family legacy to the next level. Here, he talks about his collaborations on the album, his movement as “the future of rap” and elaborated on teaming up with a rock 'n' roll icon one day.
Interview by Eric Diep (@E_Diep)
I listened to your album yesterday. I noticed that “Ain’t No Way Around It” didn’t make the cut. Why was that?
Ain’t no way around it. [Laughs.] Because it did what it did. I gave it to DJ Drama, he put it out. I got a great visual from it. I wanted the other songs to be on it. I didn’t want to sacrifice other songs because “Ain’t No Way Around It” wasn’t on it.
And then people were like, “You gonna give us a new album and give us all the songs that has been out for a full year.” “Tony Montana” already been out. “Magic” already been out. “Same Damn Time” have been on my mixtapes. So I am already giving you three songs that have been out. I don’t want to give you four, five songs.
I could have put “Long Time Coming,” “No Matter What,” “Ain’t No Way Around It” if I was just gonna pick songs that were hot, that were just bubbling for me. I could have got “Ball Forever” and got the version with Yayo on it. I could have done other songs, but it’s just the timing. “Ain’t No Way Around It” is not Pluto.
So you just wanted to give people fresh tracks?
“Ain’t No Way Around It” is regular old, natural shit. Ain’t nothing special. You gotta think “Tony Montana” is a movie on wax. “Magic” is a song about a strip club. “Same Damn Time” is powerful, everybody do that at the same damn time. That’s the new lingo. Things that people say and rappers are like, “Why didn’t I do that?”
Why I make a song called “Tony Montana?” Why he talk about magic? What’s he talking about? A basketball team? Talking about the strip club? Is he really talking about really making magic? What is he doing? I am adding new flavor, new lingo to the game.
That’s why I feel like that’s Pluto. Everything on Pluto—it’s “Parachute” it’s “Homicide.” The phrases is different and it’s crazy. It just sounds like Pluto.
“Tony Montana” was already a hot record, but you put the Drake remix on the album. How did Drake’s verse take it to the next level?
Drake showed people you can do whatever you feel as far as being an artist. He jumped on the new dude. I wasn’t even signed when he jumped on. He do what he feel. I salute Drake. Till this day, I still salute him. For that move he made at that time. I was hot as shit in the streets. I was bubbling, true enough, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump on my song.
But he did it because he was like, “I hear where you getting at with this shit. I hear where you going. I hear how creative you is. I want to be a part of this.” For him to do this, that shit is big. To attest to something that is so powerful and you hear it and know what you listening to—it just made me go harder.
I know what you heard, Drake. I am not trying to let anybody down. I know what the world hearing. So what I am gonna give ’em? I am going to go goddamn harder for y’all.
Because I am going to show the people, why did Drake jump on that song but not on that song? I am going to show you why he did it. He know I wasn’t trying to piggyback off him. He knew I was going to do it anyway because he heard the talent.
He kind of gave you a new fanbase as well.
Yeah, he gave me a chance to reach out to his fans. He gave me a chance. Opportunity is everything. Every time you get an opportunity in this game, you got to make the most of it.
When Drake did that verse, I recorded a mixtape just for that verse and put it out. When I did “Racks,” I recorded a whole mixtape around “Racks.” When I did “Watch This,” I recorded a whole mixtape around it.
“Same Damn Time” I recorded a whole mixtape around Astronaut Status. “Magic” we recorded a whole mixtape Streetz Callin’ around “Magic.” “Ain’t No Way Around It” I did a whole mixtape for it. I don’t just do songs. I had singles that lead to mixtapes like real albums. Nobody never dropped ten hits before I even dropped a major album and all those hits were on my mixtapes.
You did a song with R.Kelly, “Parachute,” how did that song come together?
My homie from Chicago sent the record. When he sent the record, we jumped on it. At first DJ Pharris gave me the record to do for him and then when he gave it to me and I heard it, [I was like] “How can I make this a Future song?”
He wanted me to do one verse and I took Kellz’ parts. I just took 12 bars of his shit and stopped it, put a verse in between. Took another part of his because he was just going for a long time. I just took the song and made a real record out of it.
Was it originally Kellz’ song or yours?
It was Pharris trying to get different artists on the song. You know, one of those Khaled things—just getting different artists on it. He was going to get a bunch of artists on it. Kellz did a long part to it. I just like the part he did.
He was going to cut Kellz’ part and put my part. Get another artist, do eight bars. Kellz he just freestyled it. He’s Kellz. I’m finna just take the greatest parts off of his shit. I knew that was what he was thinking. He set the tone of the record. And I’m going to make this record off of him.
I just thought in my head, before I send it back with my verse, let me try something new. I took it two verses, chopped Kellz up and made it a record. I told him, “I need this record.” He heard it and said, “It sounds like yours.” And made it happen.
There weren’t a lot of big-name producers on Pluto. Why did you decide to stick with underground producers from your mixtapes?
Because they my family. I wanted my family to be part of this album. Every dude that’s on my mixtapes, that’s like my family. Tell you the truth, they helped me to be creative because they didn’t give me no pressure. “If I give you this CD, don’t mixtape my beat.” They like, “Future put it out. We want you to put it out.”
They gave me a chance to be creative and I am forever thankful for them for just letting me be creative over their beats. From the Nard & B to Will-A-Fool to Jevon to Mike WiLL to Sonny Digital to Zaytoven to DJ Drama to the Luney Tunez to Jon Boi to Tasha Catour. Everybody just pushing me to this point. When we do mixtapes to this point, it’s been as a collective. It’s been more of a team.
This group you are building with, are you going to stick with them?
It’s like a dream team. And once you build that team, as you go along, you can never get that same team back. It’s impossible to know each other that good. They’re going to become part of my team along the way, but it’s going to be at heights of my career and certain points of my career. I know I couldn’t get back that groundwork. When you building that team, that’s the foundation.
Another part of your team is Rico Wade, your cousin. You mentioned that he told you at one point to dumb down your lyrics because people have short attention spans. But in Pluto, you added more substance. Did you do that on purpose?
I did it on purpose because I had that chance to speak my mind. I got people’s attention now.So I dumbed it down and made hits for the clubs. And now the club watching and they want to ride hard on that one.
When they ride home now, I got they ear. They are giving me a chance. They are listening to me and I got they attention. So when they pop the CD in and they listen to all the club songs and they need something to bring to they house and do what they do when they get to the house.
So your music is without limitations?
Without limitations. Be yourself. Don’t let one bad experience fuck it up for every other experience that you come along with. You might have to do it the wrong way ten times to do it the right way.
But don’t give up on it just because you messed up one time. Two times you did it another way, that was the wrong way. If your way was so right, you would never make mistakes. There wouldn’t be a word in the dictionary that says ‘mistake.’
So was that the mentality you were going with on Pluto?
Yeah, man just freelancing, being free with your thoughts. The truth gon’ hurt you. I know if I tell you the truth it’s gonna hurt you. So I’ma tell you some fly shit, but I am also telling you in these verses why the truth gonna hurt you.
If I would tell you all this shit, it’s gonna hurt you. “Parachute,” I’m falling for your head. I want to see you blow. Bravo, you deserve a round of applause for how freaky you is.
What is your overall goal for Pluto?
Rico told me: “When you get they attention, then say something. Then start going back to the real songs. When you come out like that, they never gon’ get you because people aren’t thinking like that no more. Dumb your lyrics down.”
Show people that I was creative, I was versatile. I’m not just an ordinary rapper; you can’t just box me in. Pluto!
You’ve worked with R.Kelly, T.I., Drake. Who’s next? Is it true that you want to collaborate with Ozzy Osborne?
I just like his tone. I’m into tones and pain and expression. His voice just says a lot. I don’t know what he been through, but I can just tell off his voice—when he says something and when he speaks on the record—you can tell he been through something. Or he has seen something. It’s the pain. You can feel it.
Sometimes, when you feel pain, like you fall on a bike or something and you might yell, scream or cry. So when you know how to control your voice and let that voice be your tool for those cries and sorrows and certain things, you know how to control it. It’s called tone control. You can control the tone in your voice to express certain feelings. That’s why I like Ozzy Osborne.
Are you a fan of his music?
Yeah. I don’t even understand what he say. I just know the tone of his voice says pain a lot. If you listen to it when you going through something, you just ride and you feeling something and you want to zone. It’s real good thinking music.
If you were to imagine an Ozzy Osborne and Future song, what would you think it would sound like? What would you guys talk about?
Just never giving up. Being looked at one way and you just know you are a totally different person. How you know me is totally the opposite way. We would sing about that. The song that we’d come up with is just for the people who live different—who live their life begging to be different. I beg to be different.
You have said you are a fan of movements. Rappers who have done things for the game like Jay-Z and 50 Cent. What can you say about your movement?
My movement is going to be around because I am approaching music with history and longevity. Just not for like right now. Right now, I am doing good but at the same damn time I need to drop another hit today.
So you’re going for timeless music?
That’s why I say “astronaut status” because that’s what I make, timeless music. Astronauts; it’s space. How long does it take to get to space? Timeless! It’s timeless. It’s music that is going to be around forever. That’s the kind of music I make—astronaut music. People don’t understand what I’m saying. It’s big. It’s bigger than life.
It takes so long to get to Pluto. It’s not even a planet no more. So when you listen to this music, you got to think outside the box because it’s not going to be a time period. You are going to be listening to this album a year from now and you’ll just be catching up.