It was a chilly Friday evening when we started the first leg of our 72-hour trip to London and back with Future. To be fair, we didn’t exactly follow him every second of the day, but we did find out what a string of press appearances typically looks like for the notoriously private Atlanta rapper who, by all indications, is gearing up for a very productive 2017. The back-to-back success of his FUTURE and HNDRXX albums – both debuted number one on the Billboard charts within two weeks of each other, making him the first artist in history to achieve this record – and a rumored third album are already setting the tone for the rest of the year.
Last year Future also revealed a partnership with Reebok which bore exclusive Summer Sixteen tour merchandise as well as a Freebandz take on the iconic Insta Pump Fury. However, it wasn’t a whirlwind multi-city, Drake-featured tour that was the genesis for a dozen journalists embarking to London for a chance to interview the “Mask Off” rapper as he reclined on a private plane back to NYC. Instead, he was throwing his weight behind Reebok Classic’s latest offering, the Zoku Runner.
For those of us with rather tame 9 to 5 schedules, it might be hard to imagine stepping off of a red-eye flight from L.A. to London and then going straight into hosting a panel with DJ Semtex, but that’s exactly what Future did. After fielding a few sneaker-oriented questions, he headed to The Village Underground in East London where he performed an energetic set – his typical gravelly drawl was no worse for the wear for lack of sleep – to kick-off the Zoku Runner launch.
“It’s an authentic brand and I want to be part of anything that’s authentic,” explained the fresh-from-a-nap rapper when we finally got a chance to interview him en route back to the Big Apple. For a person who is so often draped in the latest designer clothing and who doesn’t hesitate to flex his material wealth in a catalogue of Gucci, Louis and Saint Laurent-praising songs, Future’s Reebok partnership might seem a little pedestrian at first glance. Yet for him, the accessibility of such a global and affordable brand is something that feels almost nostalgic. “My fashion came from the hood and the street. Me being on the corner and seeing the drug dealers that’s where I got it from. Bridging the gap between fashion and music is where I get my style now. Reebok does that,” he shared.
His music functions in much the same way, channeling hallmarks of our generational zeitgeist and infusing them with a heavy dose of Southern charm and the grit of the street life he so often references. “When it comes to creating I don’t have a comfort zone,” he explains. “Whatever makes me uncomfortable, whatever I think might make someone else listen – even if it’s uncomfortable – it still might make you feel like you can relate to it. That’s how I know I got something good.”
Though he demurred to answer questions about The Ellen Show fiasco that potentially foreshadowed a third yet-unannounced album, Future did share that he never really stops working on his music. “I just stay in the studio and make sure I keep the right team around me. It’s part of the process just like having someone like Esco, a DJ to be able to produce the record and make sure we have a great project.”
We’ll be hoping that the #NoSleep lifestyle produces two more chart-topping projects. In the meantime, at least his feet will be comfortable.