Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn (born November 20, 1983), better known by his stage name Future, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he first became involved in music as part of the Dungeon Family collective, where he was nicknamed "the Future". After amassing a series of mixtapes between 2010 and 2011, Future signed a major record label deal with Epic Records and Rocko's A1 Recordings, which helped launch Future's own label imprint, Freebandz. He subsequently released his debut album, Pluto, in April 2012 to positive reviews. Future's second album, Honest, was released in April 2014, surpassing his debut on the album charts.
Wilburn performing in 2019 at the Openair Frauenfeld
Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn
November 20, 1983
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
|Partner(s)||Ciara (2013–14; ex-fiancée)|
|Relatives||Rico Wade (cousin)|
Between late 2014 and early 2015, he released a trio of mixtapes to critical praise: Monster (2014), Beast Mode (2015), and 56 Nights (2015). His next releases, DS2 (2015), What a Time to Be Alive (2015, in collaboration with Drake), Evol (2016), Future (2017), Hndrxx (2017), The Wizrd (2019), and High Off Life (2020) all debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Future and Hndrxx made him the first artist since 2014 to debut two albums in consecutive weeks atop of that chart. Future has also released several singles certified gold or higher by the RIAA, including "Turn On the Lights", "Move That Dope", "Fuck Up Some Commas", "Where Ya At", "Jumpman", "Low Life", "Mask Off", and "Life Is Good", with the latter becoming his-highest charting single, and included on his eighth studio album, High Off Life.
Life and career
1983–2010: Early life and career beginnings
Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn was born on November 20, 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. He began using his stage name while performing as one of the members of the musical collective The Dungeon Family, where he was nicknamed "The Future". His first cousin, record producer, and Dungeon Family member Rico Wade, encouraged him to sharpen his writing skills and pursue a career as a rapper; as well as providing temporary respite from street life. He attended Columbia High School. Future voices his praise of Wade's musical influence and instruction, calling him the "mastermind" behind his sound. He soon came under the wing of Atlanta rapper Rocko, who signed Future to his label, A1 Recordings. Since then his work ethic has driven him to his success.
From 2010 to early 2011, Future released a series of mixtapes including 1000, Dirty Sprite and True Story. The latter included the single "Tony Montana", in reference to the Scarface film. During that time, Future was also partnering with rapper Gucci Mane on their collaborative album Free Bricks, and co-wrote and featured on YC's single "Racks". He gained popularity after his songs were played by DJ Esco at Magic City, a strip club in Atlanta deemed "largely responsible for launching the careers of artists."
2011–2014: Pluto and Honest
Future signed a major label recording contract with Epic Records in September 2011, days before the release of his next mixtape, Streetz Calling. The mixtape was described by XXL magazine as ranging from "simple and soundly executed boasts" to "futuristic drinking and drugging jams" to "tales of the grind". A Pitchfork review remarked that on the mixtape Future comes "as close as anyone to perfecting this thread of ringtone pop, where singing and rapping are practically the same thing, and conversing 100% through Auto-Tune doesn't mean you still can't talk about how you used to sell drugs. It would almost feel antiquated if Future weren't amassing hits, or if he weren't bringing some subtle new dimensions to the micro-genre."
Though Future had told MTV that Streetz Calling would be his final mixtape prior to the release of his debut studio album, another mixtape, Astronaut Status, was released in January 2012. In December 2011, Future was featured on the cover of Issue #77 of The FADER. Before his album being released in April 2012. XXL's Troy Mathews wrote, "While Astronaut Status is up and down and never really hits the highs like 'Racks', 'Tony Montana', and 'Magic' that fans have come to expect from Future, it’s apparent that he’s poised to continue the buzz of 2011 humming right along into 2012." Future was selected to the annual XXL Freshmen list in early 2012. His debut album Pluto, originally planned for January, was eventually released on April 17. It included remixes of "Tony Montana" featuring Drake and "Magic" featuring T.I.. According to Future, "'Magic' was the first record T.I. jumped on when he came outta jail. Like, he was out of jail a day and he jumped straight on the 'Magic' record without me even knowing about it." The track became Future's first single to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Other collaborators on the album include Trae Tha Truth, R. Kelly and Snoop Dogg. On October 8, 2012, Pusha T released "Pain" featuring Future, the first single from his upcoming debut album.
It was announced that Future will be repackaging his debut album Pluto on November 27, 2012 under the name Pluto 3D featuring 3 new songs and 2 remix songs including the remix for "Same Damn Time" featuring Diddy and Ludacris, as well as his newest street single "Neva End (Remix)" featuring Kelly Rowland. In 2012, Future wrote, produced and was featured on "Loveeeeeee Song" taken from Barbadian singer Rihanna's seventh studio album Unapologetic.
On January 15, 2013, Future released the compilation mixtape F.B.G.: The Movie which features the artists signed to his Freebandz label: Young Scooter, Slice9, Casino, Mexico Rann and Maceo. It was certified platinum for having over 250,000 downloads on popular mixtape site DatPiff. Future said of his second studio album Future Hendrix it will be a more substantive musical affair than his debut album and features R&B music along with his usual "street bangers". The album was to be released in 2013. The album features Kanye West, Rihanna, Ciara, Drake, Kelly Rowland, Jeremih, Diplo, and André 3000, among others.
The album's lead single, "Karate Chop" featuring Casino, premiered on January 25, 2013, and was sent to urban radio on January 29, 2013. The song is produced by Metro Boomin. The official remix, which features Lil Wayne, was sent radio and was released on iTunes on February 19, 2013. On August 7, 2013, Future changed the title of his second album from Future Hendrix to Honest and announced that it would be released on November 26, 2013. It was later revealed that the album would be pushed back to April 22, 2014, as it was said that Future has tour dates with Drake on Would You Like A Tour?. In December 2013, it was announced that Future would make a guest appearance on Kat Dahlia's upcoming debut, My Garden. Future released DS2 on July 16, 2015.
2015–2016: DS2, What a Time to Be Alive and Evol
On September 20, 2015, Future released a collaborative mixtape with Canadian rapper Drake, titled What a Time to Be Alive. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, Billboard R&B Charts, and Billboard Hot Rap Songs, marking the first time a rapper was able to score two number one albums in a year, in 11 years, since Jay Z back in 2004. The mixtape has sold over 334,000 copies in the U.S. On January 17, 2016, Future released another mixtape, titled Purple Reign, with executive production from Metro Boomin and DJ Esco, as well as beat credits from Southside, Zaytoven and more. On February 5, 2016, Future premiered his fourth studio album, EVOL, on DJ Khaled's debut episode of the Beats 1 radio show We The Best. In 2016, Future became the fastest artist to chart three number-one albums on the Billboard 200 since Glee soundtrack albums in 2010.
2017–2018: Future, Hndrxx and Wrld On Drugs
On Valentine's Day 2017, Future announced via Instagram that his self-titled fifth studio album would be released on February 17, 2017. Exactly one week later, he would release his sixth studio album titled Hndrxx. Both albums went number one consecutively, which made Future the first artist to debut two albums at number one at the same time on the Billboard 200 and Canadian Albums Chart. He, along with Ed Sheeran, collaborated with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on the song "End Game" from her album Reputation. The song peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Future's eighth top 20 hit.
On January 11, 2018, Future collaborated alongside Kendrick Lamar, James Blake and Jay Rock for the song, "King's Dead", from the soundtrack album of the Marvel Studios superhero film Black Panther and Jay Rock's third studio album Redemption. At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, the song earned two Grammy nominations, for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song, marking Future's first career Grammy nominations.
On October 19, 2018, Future released Wrld On Drugs, a collaborative mixtape with fellow American rapper Juice Wrld. Wrld on Drugs debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 behind A Star Is Born by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, with 98,000 album-equivalent units, which included 8,000 pure album sales. It became Future's tenth top-ten album in the United States, and Juice Wrld's second.
2019–present: The Wizrd, Save Me and High Off Life
On January 18, 2019, Future released his seventh studio album, Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd. The album consists of 20 songs and was promoted by a film titled The Wizrd, released on January 11 on Apple Music. The Wizrd received generally positive reviews from critics and became Future's sixth US number-one album, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 125,000 album-equivalent units (including 15,000 pure album sales). With the release of The Wizrd, several songs from the album charted on the Billboard Hot 100, leading to Future becoming the artist with the 10th most entries in Hot 100 history.
At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards held on February 10, 2019, Future won his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for his collaboration alongside Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and James Blake for the song, "King's Dead", from the soundtrack album of the Marvel Studios superhero film Black Panther.
On June 7, 2019, Future released his second project of the year, his debut solo EP titled Save Me. Save Me received mixed reviews from music critics and debuted at number 5 on the US Billboard 200.
In January 2020, Future released the songs "Life Is Good" and "Desires", both collaborations with Drake. In April, Future announced his eighth studio album, Life Is Good. The title was later changed to High Off Life and was released on May 15, 2020. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with 153,000 units in its first week, becoming Future's seventh consecutive album to debut at number one. In August 2020, Future teased a song titled "Gucci Bucket Hat".
Future makes prevalent use of Auto-Tune in his songs, both rapping and singing with the effect. Pitchfork Media wrote that Future "miraculously shows that it's still possible for Auto-Tune to be an interesting artistic tool", stating that he "finds a multitude of ways for the software to accentuate and color emotion". The LA Times wrote that "Future’s highly processed vocals suggest a man driven to bleary desperation by drugs or love or technology", stating that his music "comes closest to conjuring the numbing overstimulation of our time". GQ stated that he "has managed to reboot the tired auto-tune sound and mash it into something entirely new", writing that he "combines it with a bizarro croon to synthesize how he feels, then [...] stretches and deteriorates his words until they’re less like words, more like raw energy and reactive emotions". Critic Simon Reynolds wrote that "he's reinvented blues for the 21st century."
Rapper T-Pain, who also uses that audio processor, criticized Future's unconventional use of it in 2014. In response, Future stated in an interview that "when I first used Auto-Tune, I never used it to sing. I wasn’t using it the way T-Pain was. I used it to rap because it makes my voice sound grittier. Now everybody wants to rap in Auto-Tune. Future’s not everybody." Future's music has been characterized as trap music.
Prior to his music career in 2004, Wilburn was arrested for theft by receiving stolen property and contempt of court. Wilburn currently has six children with six different women: Jessica Smith, Brittni Mealy, India J, singer Ciara, Joie Chavis, and an unidentified woman. He was engaged to Ciara in October 2013. Their son, Future Zahir Wilburn, was born on May 19, 2014. Ciara ended the engagement in August 2014 due to his infidelity. His fifth child, Hendrix, was born in December 2018.
As of 2016[update], Wilburn is being sued by both Jessica Smith and Ciara. Smith is suing him for failing to pay child support, and stated that their son "suffers from emotional and behavioral issues stemming from Future's neglect as a father". Ciara is suing him for defamation, slander, and libel. In October 2016, a judge said that Future's string of tweets bashing Ciara did not relate to the $15 million she was asking for. In 2019, two women from Florida and Texas respectively filed paternity suits claiming that Wilburn was the father of their respective daughter and son; if he is confirmed to be the father it would bring the number of his children to eight. In 2020, the Texas woman dropped her paternity suit.
- Studio albums
- Pluto (2012)
- Honest (2014)
- DS2 (2015)
- Evol (2016)
- Future (2017)
- Hndrxx (2017)
- The Wizrd (2019)
- High Off Life (2020)
- Collaborative mixtapes
- Beast Mode (with Zaytoven) (2015)
- What a Time to Be Alive (with Drake) (2015)
- Super Slimey (with Young Thug) (2017)
- Beast Mode 2 (with Zaytoven) (2018)
- Wrld on Drugs (with Juice Wrld) (2018)
Awards and nominations
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