If you've ever been around Future, you know that it takes him a minute to open up. At first it comes off a bit egotistical as he sits there in dark shades and a draping hoodie -- but it's just that the Atlanta rapper finds comfort in the walls of his cerebrum. There, he curates melodies, "never writing anything down." There, he deals with the pain of friends that have passed which he hardly speaks of. There, he draws the blueprint that puts into play the evolution of the rock star he knows he is (rap stars have been rock stars for a minute now; ask Kanye West.)
"Honest," Future's upcoming full-length, gives you a sneak peek into the mind of Nayvadius Cash, finally (you can't deny that's a great government name, by the way). Future, his manager Orlando Mcghee, The Blueprint Group's Co-CEO Gee Roberson who now co-manages the rapper, the Chamber Group's Chris Chambers and Peter Kadin stopped through the New York Billboard office on Monday (Sept. 30) to preview his sophomore album, to be released on Epic Records.
"You know that I can make hits. You know I can do all these rap records. So, I'm going to start opening up and letting you know my struggles," Future says, before Mcghee hits play.
"Honest" opens with strings and Future cooing, "Good morning, baby good morning." While his raps expedite as the beat builds, he also croons in the hook, as he often does on "Honest." "I'm so horny, I'm so horny. Whatever I got to do to tell you good morning," he sings, stretching out the "o" (in horny, of course).
On "Real & True," Miley Cyrus and Mr. Hudson sing to each other on the hook over Mike WiLL Made It's production. Cyrus steals the spotlight with her vocal prowess: "We've been in the same place for a long, long time. If our hearts go to the wrong place I still know you're mine. I know it's been rough but when you're on my side, I know it will be alright." "Real & True" closes, of course, with Future harmonizing.
Mr. Hudson and Miley Cyrus sent "Real & True" ready for Future's raps. He knew instantly that he had to include the song on "Honest." There's no doubt that "Real & True" will sneak into the Hot 100 with its pop synths paired with Miley Cyrus' guest vocals.
"I wrote three songs and an additional five songs and am featured on one," Future says on working with Miley on "Bangerz." "She's a big star. Her MTV performance took it to another level. It's like she planned it, but she's going along with whatever is happening."
Majority of "Honest" is composed of hip-hop love songs, on which Future emphasizes on the harmony by singing. For loyal fans of Future, his singing doesn't come as a surprise, but this time around, there's more love than before, for one person he has let in is his girlfriend, Ciara.
"Instead of running from it, I run to it," he says of the romantic content. "Good Morning," "Real & True," "I'll Be There Baby" ("I'm naked, you naked and ain't no one trying to look for a blanket") and the fancy, Detail-produced "Side-Effects" ("Ain't no side-effects cause I ain't taking anything from you/ You deserve it all") touch on the highs of love (and sex).
"Honest" isn't only about love, but "about showing emotion," which Future insists will win.
"Land of Fire," produced by Mike WiLL Made It, touches on his friends' past struggles and failures. The beat was originally for Jay Z but Future loved it so much he decided to keep it for himself. Future rides the melody with his signature ooh-ing, leaving the listener with low-pitch echoes of "fire."
Future continued to tease a verse from Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj is featured on the DJ Clue-produced song, which Future says he was attracted to because of its "New York sound."
"Special" is a slow-building, rattling song about competition: "You ain't even trying to be special. I thought you was so unspecial. You keep breaking down in front of me. I set this tone. I can't break down under pressure." "Special" is a quiet street anthem that'll creep up on you.
Future saved the best for last, previewing the menacing, bass-heavy street anthem "After That" to close the listening. "You have to feed the streets," he said of the "Same Damn Time" reminiscent song, with a sly smile.
Due to the rescheduling of Drake's Would You Like A Tour? -- on which Future is serving as support -- and upcoming TV appearances, "Honest" has been delayed to later this year or early 2014. It's not because of the abundance of rap music released this year; to that question, Future simply replied, "I've been on the songs of all these rappers that put out an album, and my music is still better."