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The Future era is not over

Ralph Bristout

 // Jul 5, 2016

Soon as he sells too much, watch them turn on him. Contrary to the rep that he typically gets from today’s younger audience, there's a Jay Z quote for just about every situation in life. And, fun fact, this writer takes full advantage of this whenever an opportunity calls for one. The latest case in point here happens to be Stereogum’s recent op-ed published on Thursday (June 30), titled “The Future Era Is Over.” As noted by its title, the story attempted to add a perspective on Future and the current status of the storied run launched last year with his Monster/Beast Mode/56 Nights trifecta. Although the story did do its job, which was posing an interesting argument that has been generating plenty of chatter as of late, the bulk of it still missed the actual facts.

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Albeit well intentioned, in that it sparks a much-needed conversation, the article raises questions about the material Future has been putting forth since the January release of Purple Reign and whether or not his dominance is as strong as it was a year ago. Certainly a perfectly timed piece, the post highlights some of the gripes some fans experienced with Project E.T., a mixed bag of material featuring Future and a slew of filler tracks by unnecessary guests (Stuey Rock, Rambo So Weird). Technically a DJ Esco project with Fewtch as co-star, the overall project, despite its strong moments (“Check On Me,” “Too Much Sauce”), doesn’t possess the same zest as the last mixtape that listed Future as host (56 Nights). Instead, ET comes off as more of a favor for Esco rather than an actual execution of this tweet sent out a few days back:

So again, Stereogum delivered a much-needed conversation, however it still failed to take into account all that has taken place beyond that one mixtape. Instead of laying out what Fewtch has been able to accomplish since Purple Reign — such as a musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live, achieving his third consecutive No. 1 album in less than seven months with EVOL, scoring a platinum plaque for "Low Life" — the post calls out the Atlanta superstar for sounding unexcited ("He just doesn’t care anymore") and goes as far as comparing him to someone "stuck at an office job, at 3PM on a Tuesday, and the breakroom has run out of Keurig cartridges."

The fact of the matter is, the Future era is not over. The Future is still now.

Besides how can one’s era be defined as "over" when he has been recruited on records for pop A-listers like Ariana Grande ("Everyday") and rap royalty like Jay Z (DJ Khaled’s "I Got the Keys"); responsible for birthing the sound behind the hottest record in the country (Desiigner’s "Panda"); and owner of not one, but three charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Grammys” with Drake, "Wicked" and "Low Life").

A photo posted by Future Hendrix (@future) on

Besides, within this year alone, Future has attained six different RIAA certifications, including triple-platinum for "Jumpman," gold plaques for "March Madness" and "Stick Talk," as well as platinum trophies for "Low Life," DS2 and What a Time To Be Alive. Earlier this year, when EVOL arrived a month after the critically acclaimed Purple Reign mixtape, the album gave the rapper his third consecutive No. 1 and was recognized by Billboard as the fastest accumulation of No. 1s for any act since the Glee cast notched three No. 1 soundtracks in one month and 19 days in 2010.

This summer alone, the rapper has been billed as headliner for multiple festivals (Broccoli Fest, Ottawa Bluesfest, JMBLYA) and major rap concerts (Hot 97’s Summer Jam, Birthday Bash), and is set to close out the summer season with Drake as part of their sold-out joint Summer 16 Tour.

All these moves made since January, you’d think the guy won a Grammy, which is a testament he serves on Drake’s song of the same name.

So explain this: Whose era is over again?

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The run is far from over, but what should be said and recognized of Future’s storied run, or era if you will, is that it has officially changed course. It’s a similar situation to what we’ve seen in the past with the famous streaks laid out by Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Drake — as the success grows, so do the critics and the expectations. Think Jay Z post-Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life. Think Kanye West after Graduation. Think Lil Wayne’s post-Tha Carter III era and Drake after his 2015 streak. Future era has evolved, and by “evolved,” we mean the common thread linked within win streaks. Whether in sports, music, and entertainment, a long-stretching win streak is not just about maintaining a consecutive amount of wins, but a measure of how one deals and adapts to the burden. Sure, streaks are fun, historic and thoroughly compelling. But the longer the run, the heavier the burden, the thicker the attention, and the bigger the media scrutiny. After a while it no longer is about how long the run will continue, but a matter of who will break the streak. Therefore, the measure of expectations wind up reaching unprecedented levels. Hov quote alert: “If you succeed, prepare to be crucified."

So as he continues to stretch his run past mixtape fame, the expectations for Future will only grow by the day, especially when you have folks like Desiigner capitalizing off of his sound and outputs like Project ET getting mixed receptions. To all this pressure, the rapper perfectly summarized his stance in a recent cover story for Rolling Stone (another notch under his designer belt). "I want to keep doing what I'm doing and see how far I can go," he explained, before later in the story stating, "I’m just looking for stability and longevity."

What a time.

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