Future: ‘My love for design is part of my love to create’
From alter egos to superpowers, we have an audience with ‘the best rapper alive’ at Soho Beach House Miami
Monday 25 July 2022 By Sagal Mohammed Direction of Photography by Josiah Sampson Photography by AJ Woomer Styling by Bobby Wesely and Dallas James Grooming by Autumn Suna and Shay Joseph Florals by Victoria Smith
What does luxury mean to a man like Future? His lyrics suggest the obvious: cash, cars, clothes, and everything else that comes with being ‘the best rapper alive’ – and, actually, his truth isn’t far off. ‘Luxury is Future. It is extravagant and opulent,’ he says, leaning over a marble bathtub at Soho Beach House Miami. Draped in a multicoloured, silk Valentino pyjama set, a white pair of Bottega clogs and a shiny diamond chain around his neck, it’s hard to disagree.
Over the past decade, the 38-year-old Atlanta rapper, born Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, has not only manufactured a sound that continues to dominate modern hip hop, but he’s also become synonymous with the flashy lifestyle ingrained in the genre. Strip clubs, jumbo jets, beautiful women and flowing magnums of Champagne on exotic islands are routine for him. Of course, this is all relatively normal in the life of a platinum-selling hip-hop artist. On set for his Soho House cover shoot, he orders everything on the menu. Why? Well, he’s a man who enjoys everything in abundance. ‘When you’ve worked to earn something, you understand it in a different way,’ he tells me.
Since his mid-2010s debut, he has dropped nine studio albums (including a collaborative one with Drake), 23 mixtapes and two EPs – not once has he missed the mark, becoming the blueprint for trap music and taking the subgenre global. In fact, consistency is something Future has down to a tee when it comes to his craft. It has paid off pretty well, too; his music has been streamed more than 30 billion times worldwide and his reputation as an artist that delivers, be it on a feature or his own tracks, is unquestionable at this point in his career. Perhaps that’s why GQ crowned him the best rapper alive earlier this year, or why Kanye insists Future is the most influential artist of our current time. ‘I go to the studio every day no matter what,’ he says. ‘I’m obsessed with my art.’
Just last weekend, he headlined Rolling Loud Miami music festival at the Hard Rock Stadium, with thousands of fans rapping along to the lyrics of ‘Toxic King’; one of many personas he has adopted in his career. Hndrxx and Pluto are other favourites, yet Toxic King is the one that seems to have stuck the most, thanks to his infamous track record with women – he has eight children with eight different women, and a plethora of famous exes. Then there are all the controversial lyrics about unhealthy dating habits that, admittedly, we all seem to relate to and have transformed him into a ‘sensational’ meme king.
‘God’s design influences me the most. I love beaches, trees, natural landscapes, things that existed before us’
In the music video for ‘Wait For U’, the lead single from his latest number-one album I Never Liked You (a record that could finally earn him an overdue look-in from the Grammys), he plays into the image more overtly than ever in a Game Of Thrones-esque fairytale theme that sees him get into character as a literal Toxic King. Except, he’s not in character at all. If there’s one thing Future has always made clear, it’s that there is little difference between his artistic personas and who he really is. ‘I’m real about who I am, there’s duality to me. Future and Hndrxx are both very real parts of my personality,’ he admits. ‘You’re able to see my growth through my music over the years. My different personas were a front-row seat to me evolving as a human. I’m honest and unapologetic about my life because it’s easy to judge people, it’s difficult to live in your truth.’
He’s right. Future’s evolution as an artist has been impressive to say the least and, frankly, much of his success can be credited to the fact that he does exactly what he wants to do at all times. Take today, when he decides mid-shoot that he needs an IV drip, putting production on pause for an hour to take an impromptu self-care break. Knowing what you want and doing it when you want to, regardless of outside noise, is something most artists struggle with – but for Future, it’s his superpower. This is a man who made trap ballads as popular as twerk anthems before we even knew we needed them. ‘I think I influence people to be themselves,’ he says. ‘To be confident enough to be authentic and to use discernment.’