Future lands his first cover of GQ.
Hailed by the magazine as the “best rapper alive,” the 38-year-old hitmaker remains a dominating force in hip-hop and fashion, showing off his designer drip in looks from Dior, Saint Laurent, and Valentino.
After eight solo albums, 19 solo mixtapes, one collaborative album, four collaborative mixtapes, two EPs, and one soundtrack, the prolific MC continues his reign with his new album, due April 29.
“That’s because I’m happy,” Future says when asked about his longest hiatus to date. “I’m genuinely happy with life. And there was a time where I was only happy when I was on the stage, and in the studio. Like it was my escape.”
With his first album in two years, he’s giving fans a glimpse into his world. “Sharing my lifestyle with the world. Sharing my pain with the world. Sharing my ups, sharing my downs with the entire universe,” says Future. “Putting this project together is just people understanding that I love hard. Probably love the hardest. I wanted to showcase my skills as far as melodies and topics and being vulnerable.”
Future earned his first No. 1 on the Hot 100 last September as a featured guest on Drake’s “Way 2 Sexy.” “Anytime we work in the studio, the level, the energy–we’re trying to perfect this shit but still stay raw, still stay gritty, and still be moving at the speed of the universe,” he says of Drake. “It’s something that you have to work at, but it’s something that you have to find too.”
In turn, Drake praised his “Life Is Good” collaborator. “He’s an absolutely relentless, spontaneous workhorse,” he says. “And me, I’m a calculated, purpose-driven, militant individual. You take his free-flowing genius and you mix it with my level of understanding and planning and–records, albums, singles–we can pretty much create anything together.”
Future’s new album will feature Kanye West, but their friendship goes way back. “Me and Kanye always had a relationship,” he shares. “But it’s hard for people to understand, because I don’t put everything on Instagram. Kanye flew me to Paris in 2011 or 2012 to work on music. [Discussing] his clothing line before it came, his shoe business before it came. People don’t know I’ve been able to go to his house, and pull up right into the crib. We just never talked about it.”
During his explosive “Drink Champs” interview, Kanye called Future “the most influential artist of the past 10 years.”
“When he said that, I understood why he called me to Paris, even though I didn’t understand it at that time,” says Future. “I understood why we had certain conversations. I understood him being a part of ‘I Won.’ Even him having me write on certain [Kanye] albums that people don’t even understand I wrote on.”
While he may have a “toxic” reputation, Future is not concerned with the label that has become synonymous with his name. “People have their own definition of what toxic is,” he says. “[These women] all were toxic to me. They just don’t want to admit it.”
A decade since his debut album, Pluto continues to evolve while remaining an unstoppable force. “I grew in the business and I made adjustments and I continued to build, continued to overcome any doubt,” he recalls. “If there was doubt, there’s no more doubt. I’m here to stay. I already proved that. Had a hundred hits in one year, they still like, ‘Hey, what are you going to do next?’ I had to prove it again that I can do it again.”