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.’
Suit, Dzojchen; socks, Marni; clogs Bottega Veneta
Music aside, Future’s enormous influence in pop culture and fashion is what has really set him aside from his peers, and he’s aware of it. Currently, he’s at a stage in life where art and design fuel everything he does. ‘My love for design is part of my love to create,’ he explains, admiring the Art Deco heritage and 1940s Cuba interiors at Soho Beach House Miami. ‘When you see different designs, you get different ideas. When I walk into Soho House, I love the vintage look. Just think of patterns; patterns go well with rhythm and music, and melodies. One element leads to the other.’
While indulging in a luxury lifestyle has exposed him to some of the world’s most beautiful architecture and design, he insists that it is the things money can’t buy that really inspire him. ‘God’s design influences me the most,’ he says. ‘I love beaches, trees, natural landscapes, things that existed before us.’
In fashion, the rapper is equally versatile, though he sticks to his personal brand of street meets wealth. ‘Money and access have been the biggest influence on my personal style. Being able to shop all over the world, working consistently with my stylist Bobby Wesley for years, we’re always elevating my look and we both have great taste.’ I like that he’s candid about wealth and access opening up the gatekept doors of high-end fashion to him. The honesty is refreshing, but not surprising. After all, what you see is what you get with him.
As well as his signature shades and jewels, you’ll never catch Future without his designer drip, though he refuses to act as a poster boy for any brand other than his own. ‘I don’t play into favourites [when it comes to fashion brands]. I like what I like in the moment,’ he says, sitting suave in a Gucci suit at a grand dinner table on set, shortly after posing in a Bottega bathrobe on the balcony. Just before that, he was in short-sleeved, black Prada pyjamas that appeared specially made for him.
Above: Shirt and shorts, both Prada
Shirt and trousers, both Valentino
‘Possessions are personal. Envy and greed are dangerous emotions,’ he tells me. He would know, having spent his childhood and adolescence in Kirkwood, Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. Regardless of what his life looks like today, his roots are never lost on him, which is yet another reason why his influence reaches the masses. He represents a sense of aspiration many of us need. Perhaps that’s why luxury is so important to Future. It holds a message that is simple yet essential; one that sums up his journey to the top: ‘Work hard for what you deserve.’
Robe, Bottega Veneta