These days, Future isn’t short on content or creativity. The 32-year-old rapper just shared his third release of the year—DS2—the sequel to his 2011 mixtape Dirty Sprite 1 (DS1). While the rapper’s other 2015 mixtapes—Beast Mode and 56 Nights—may have been predecessors to DS2, Future’s latest release goes back to his trap street style sounds found on DS1. His latest album features 18 tracks with collaborations with Drake, Pharrell Williams, Ludacris, Pusha T and Casino. Along with the release of DS2, the MC put together documentary Like I Never Left to let fans into the inner workings of his mind when it comes to life and music. While many artists (like Miguel) tend to avoid talking about their personal lives, Future doesn’t mind opening up about life, love and his career—something his fans have come to appreciate. His honesty is refreshing, but not surprising: he had a fairly public breakup with R&B star/baby mama Ciara back in 2014.
On the day of DS2’s release, Future filled us in on not being boxed in, getting candid with fans and staying true to his craft.
What made you want to drop three projects in one year?
I just felt the need to put out music the way I wanted to. I let my life just dictate how I was going to put out music. I’ve made my mark, and my fans have grown to love the fact that they can always look forward to something new from me. There wasn’t a “want” to put out three projects: it just happened organically like that.
How did DS2 come about?
The plan came together as I was putting out other projects. Those other projects drove inspiration to everything else. I’m constantly recording and in the studio and it really was just a matter of finding what the right fit was for this album within all the other music I created.
Along with your latest release, you made a documentary. Why did you decide to share your life in that way?
I thought it would be cool to let my fans see how I think about life and music. The type of artist I am, I like to let my work speak for me but this time around I thought that it couldn’t hurt to let people in and see what I’m really about. I didn’t have anything to hide. What you saw was me. It was real.
Did you have any reservations about getting that candid?
Nah, it’s all good. I’m the same guy all the time. Whether it’s a documentary, music, whatever—you’re going to get the real Future every time. [The documentary] won’t take away from my brand in anyway. If anything, I feel like letting the people in will make me more relatable.
Will fans be surprised by any of the music on the album?
They will be happy because I’m giving them exactly what they want from me. A few of the songs on the album were released prior to the actual drop. I gave my fans a taste early on, so I feel like they knew where I would be going this time around. I knew they’d be expecting that real Future music they love, so I had to give it to them.
Have you teased any songs from DS2 in live performances? What was the reaction?
I haven’t teased any songs that weren’t already out yet. “Trap Niggas” and “March Madness” caught on early and the people ran with those, so they’re also on my album. I just released videos for songs like “Real Sisters” and “Blow A Bag.” For those songs, I wanted to wait closer to the album to start performing them so I could give [fans] something fresh.
With regards to the documentary, is there any part of it you were hesitant to share with the world?
Nah, I just let it flow. If I was hesitant at all I wouldn’t have even done it in the first place. Elliot Wilson a good dude. I knew the documentary would do right by me, and like I said before, what I present to the world is real so when they’re looking into my life, they’re going to get me.
What does the future hold for Future?
More music. More shows. I’m definitely going to get back on the road. I have some surprises up my sleeve I’m just holding on to for now, but this album is definitely not the last [fans are] gonna hear from me this year.
Do you think DS2 is Grammy-worthy? Do you think you're taking a different approach to music since being overlooked at the Grammys?
I did this for the people. If a Grammy comes, then that’s cool, but I don’t make music for the accolades. My approach is always going to be the same: staying true to what I do and giving the people what they want.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned about yourself from your music over the years?
Being true to your craft gets you where you want to go. You don’t have to put on any gimmicks or anything for people to see where you coming from. That’s the blueprint, and sometimes with things like that you can only be taught by living it.
Photos by Photo: Prince Williams / WireImage