Back again like we never left. We're following up our recent effort that delved into Drake's best deep cuts with a curated selection of Drake's What A Time To Be Alive co-pilot and one of the most popular names in music over the last year and a half, Future.
The definition of a deep cut is not completely set in stone, and when dealing with an artist at the level of fame that Future now holds, it becomes difficult to pry out some of the best lesser-known tracks from a catalog that's so well-known.
For our purposes, we'll set a few loose guidelines in our search for the best "deep cuts." In addition to selecting only records that were NOT released as a single, and furthermore ones that never made it onto the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, we'll also exclude any releases from Monster until today, as nearly every mixtape and album record from the last year-and-a-half has surpassed a million plays at the very least.
Oh, and these are in no particular order...
"Take This 4 Granted"
Though he’s been one of Future’s most frequent collaborators over the last two years, producer Southside didn’t begin serious work with the rapper until early 2013. His name is listed on a bevy of tracks from the Freebandz Gang compilation The Movie, in addition to this gem from DJ Esco’s Future-hosted Black Woodstock mixtape, which he produced alongside his former 808 Mafia counterpart TM88. Opposite the nihilistic drug talk of 56 Nights, "Take This 4 Granted" centers on boasts of various luxury items and bloated bank accounts, with the insistence that he promises to remember it could all be gone at any time. Powered by unyielding trap behemoths behind the boards, Future seems to levitate.
"Ya see know, no englo from here to Rio / Freebandz we speak the seven figure lingo"
A little-known gem supplied to us via Adult Swim's excellent Singles series, "Coupe" finds Future gripping the wheel of a luxury two-door, winding through dimly lit backstreets at a lightning pace. A music video can either ruin or enhance an otherwise great song, and this one's a must as the technicolor animation brings the seedy high-stakes underbelly of the city to life. Future races what appears to be the devil, gets smacked by a disapproving mother and Jesus breakdances in the back of the whip. That this video doesn't currently rank among the generally accepted best of 2014 is a crime, and the record itself is a mesmerizing precursor to where the artist's sound was headed.
"You get to hacking a player you get a penalty / I get to dozing off in the coupe off promethazine"
"I’m Trippin’" ft. Juicy J
Having built a career resurgence off of the downward spiral that comes alongside drug addiction, it should be clear that Future’s long been suffering from drug-fueled binges (or at least rapping about them). The origin of the Migos flow has been long-debated, but often overlooked is “I’m Trippin’,” a track from Future’s 2012 major label debut album Pluto that finds the ATL native using the flow to lay down one of his greatest verses ever. Future's world is spinning as a result of smoking a pound of green, drinking a whole thing of lean and popping a couple E pills, and it’s only right that the Trippy King, Juicy J, chips in a verse as well. Much like the album’s title, the record is otherworldly.
“I take off, I blast off, I razzle, I dazzle / Got horses, no saddle, my bitches are badder / With asses that's fatter, you trip and you chatter / I don't even talk, so it don't even matter”
"My Ho 2"
If someone wants to point to the fact that Future makes ignorant music with little substance, they might point to this Astronaut Status banger. No problem, this shit cranks, and if you take issue it's likely because it's your woman Future's so kindly allowing you to share. If ever there existed an early proclamation that Future was not to be trusted, it was the record where he tried to pimp your girl while you were buying her a Mercedes. If there is some small consolation, it's that Future seems to be cool with both your girl's mother and younger sister, though one would have to wonder whether their opinions shifted after hearing the explicit shit Future was spitting here.
"She in my call log, she in my text message / You hittin' it raw dog, I’m skeetin it on the breasts-es"
Beast Mode may have been the crowning achievement between Future and mainstay ATL maestro Zaytoven, but I dare you to find a weak spot in their joint discography. "Space Cadets," obviously a result of Future's more space-obsessed days, better resembles the glide of a hovercraft than the rumbling of a shuttle takeoff. Zay's production is perhaps better equated with the butter-smooth leather interior of the Lambo that Future consistently namedrops, and the rapper's low-key vocals here, barely above a whisper, fit like a velvet driving glove.
"Got skeletons on my arms, got skeletons on my back / Angel wings on my tats, Benjamins in my racks"
From "Sh!t" to "Karate Chop" to "Where Ya At," so much of Future's draw has been his ability to rewrite the rules of flow, cadence and inflection. Before those hits, though, there was "My," a bonus track from the 3D re-release of Pluto, which is fitting as he sounds like no normal human being from this planet. One particularly verbose YouTube commenter might have said it best when they wrote that Future sounds like he's busting a nut at the end of every bar, but alongside the intergalactic synths of Sonny Digital it has a near-hypnotic effect. Different is good.
"Codeine in my styrofoam / Leaning like a motorcycle / Order me a Bentley / And its coming with the title"
This is the hardest song Future's ever released. Fight me.
In all seriousness, King Kong gets namedropped here for a reason. This cut from the Freebandz compilation The Movie is a colossus; the audio equivalent of a battle between Godzilla and Mothra. "DNA" is an all-out barrage to your mental, one in which Future manages to not only keep pace with the unrelenting surge of power from producers Southside and TM88, but propel overtop like the titan he claims to be.
Sure, Future's skyrocketed in popularity over the last year and a half, but to hear him say he's always been the "Chosen One"? Another track off of the very underrated The Movie, this cinematic, Southside-produced track brings to mind the image of Hendrix exhaling cigar smoke atop the balcony of a plush villa estate, reflecting on his come-up from the bottom. The perks of such a lifestyle include countless jewels, cribs, cars, women and men willing to take care of your dirty work, regardless of whether or not you need or use any. Rocko provides a solid guest verse for the record, one that sounds equally at home on a Future mixtape as it would closing out an epic mafioso film.
"Have a few chains on, I don’t have but one / Bought a few houses and I never sleep at one / And I can have ten cars and I wouldn’t drive one / And when you make it from the bottom you the chosen one"
"Gone To The Moon"
Much of Future's early career was spent at the cross section of outer space and cocaine kingpin, both neatly encapsulated on this standout from 2012's Streetz Calling mixtape. Future opens with a declaration that he's smoked an entire box of blunts for breakfast, and by the sound of his voice that seems to be an understatement, before running through his typical schedule of copious drug use, copping designer threads, all the while mastering ad-libs such as "ay," "yea yea," "whoa" and, of course, the bird call.
"Yeah, I smoke a box of blunts for breakfast / Ay, and I woke up like Hugh Hefner"
"Running Through a Check"
In the canon of songs about perseverance, we have classics such as "I Will Survive," "Don't Stop Believin'" even T.I.'s "Get Back Up." We also have "Running Through a Check," an unlikely candidate that promises to have you taking off flying if you just stay on your grind in the midst of hard times. Nard & B sets the frenetic pace, Future's got money on his mind like a tumor, and this Streetz Calling highlight might just save your ass from giving up.
"I'm runnin' through a check / I got money on my mind / Ain't gon never get it off it's like a tumor on my brain"
"Itchin'" (single), "Jordan Diddy," "Best 2 Shine," "Covered N Money" (single), "Straight Up," "You Deserve It," "First Class Flights," "Everything Ours"
Well, there you go. For those tuning into Hendrix in the last year, hopefully, this list gives you some solid joints to seek out from the years you missed. For those day one fans, hopefully, we've provided a couple you might have missed along the way.