Tue 29 Apr 2014
Following last week’s hip-hop history lesson with Nas, Frannie Kelley and ATCQ’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad sat down with one of rap’s current game-changers, Future, on the latest episode of their NPR podcast, Microphone Check. Soaking up the chilled vibe, the Atlanta crooner gave an in-depth interview about his days in the Dungeon Family, the importance of OutKast and how his “Benz Friendz” collaboration with André 3000 came about.
Future Hendrix also shared his plans to release new music “every three months,” gave an incredible poetic analogy of his freestyle recording process, and explained why the best feature artist in the game actually hates doing features. Hey, he’s just being honest.
Check out the full interview plus quotes below…
On the importance of OutKast:
They matter for me for the creativity. You know what I’m saying? And they always go above and beyond. They set the trend for how things supposed to go for the next 10 years. I told him like, “Man, off your stage set” — I was talking to Big and I was like, “This stage, when artists see this stage and they understand what y’all just did, it’s gone, y’all set the tone for the next 10 years.”
On why he doesn’t like doing features:
All my mixtapes don’t have no features. I was doing good. “The Same Damn Time,” I was doing “Turn On the Lights” by myself, “Neva End” by myself, I was doing “Magic” by myself, “Tony Montana.” I did all those records and I start opening up with artists, “Let’s work together! Let’s work together!” Then as soon as you work with them, they send paperwork and managers and all that. Man, I’m not doing that anymore. If you want to come to my studio session, come through and let’s work. I’m not trying to go out my way to work with you and then at the end, it’s about the business and we falling out behind something that we shouldn’t even had a fallout about, man.
On his freestyle recording process:
Because sometimes a artist can go in there and just slap paint on the wall and you be like, “Man, that’s dope.” And they put a lot of colors in. Put your hands in and for your hands it’s moments that you can’t get back. You can’t put your handprint on that wall that same way again. You can’t recreate that moment again. So that’s why you go in the booth and try to get those takes that you can’t recreate, you know what I mean? The way you said, you can’t even say it again like that. If you try to do another take the same way, it wouldn’t come out the same way.I can’t mimic, or, I can’t get back what I just, what just came out my mouth. Like you were asking me this question, I’ll probably answer the question a different way every time you ask me. The best way you answer is the first time when you speak it.
On making “Benz Friendz” with André 3000:
We was just talking, having conversation the first day. We ended up going back the second day and we had a few beats and it was a Organized Noize beat and we just start going in on the beat and just start building from that day on. That day forward, we came up with — it wasn’t “Benz Friendz” at first, it was something different. It was “Benz B——.” It was called “Benz B——” and then we put the Whatchutola on it once we mixed it. We mixed the record like three times before we added the third verse on there, before we added the chants on there, before we added the intro to the beat.
On new music:
Man, probably 10 records, 10 albums. They don’t even understand. People don’t even understand how much music I have because I work on music every single day. If I get the chance to put another album out within three, four months, then I’m not gonna release a mixtape. I’m not gonna hold back my music again cause I did it for a whole year and the only reason I stayed relevant because of my features. I’m not gonna just hold my music for another year. I can’t. I’m not doing it. No more. I did it for Honest, that’s — I tried it that way. I record too much. I’m putting my music out every three months. I’m doing it. I’m dropping bombs.
On writing hooks:
[I want hooks to] change the mood of a person. Whether it’s good or bad. It can be a hook. Or up-tempo club feel, you want to be able to say, “Man, when I play this in club, I want the whole club to change; with everybody that’s talking to each other, when they hear this, I want everything to get quiet.”
On his musical inspirations growing up:
What I would listen to? Too Short, A Tribe Called Quest, E-40, Soulja Slim to Juvenile to the entire No Limit roster — what Master P was doing — to the Cash Money from Yella Boy days, the U.N.L.V. My mom used to always listen to Barry White, Anita Baker or Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield — just a variety of music, man, versatility. That’s where I get my versatility from.
On knowing his hip-hop history:
I come from a era where you gotta understand music and you gotta study music. I studied music for a long time. I studied Rico; I studied the way he — his production sounds. I studied when they was going to get — digging through the crates. People don’t even know what digging through the crates — you can ask a producer right now, I’m like, “What’s digging through the crates?” They don’t even know what that is and like, “What you talking about?”
On changing the radio:
Even with “Move That Dope,” it’s like, “Man, you got a record called ‘Move That Dope.’ How you gone get this on the radio?” Don’t think about that. Don’t start. “Man, we need a first single, Future. We need a first single. It can’t be ‘Move That Dope.’ You talking about dope.” Like, man, let the people judge that. We gone change the radio, from every song that I did, from “Racks on Racks,” “Same Damn Time,” “Love Song,” “Body Party” or “Bugatti,” we changed the radio — the tempo of radio. It can be up-tempo, we go slow. We go slow, we go up-tempo, like, you dictate your fans — you and your fans dictate the way the radio — let ‘em come to you.
On working with Metro Boomin:
Man, someone introduced us. Who it was? I think Propain, he was telling me about him. He used to always try to get at me and then you know, you just can’t really talk directly to me so it was someone who was picking up the phone for me at the time. He introduced us and we started just working in the studio, vibing out man, just had a crazy bond and we just bonded it through music and that’s like my brother.