As a hip-hop savant and pop culture superstar, Future, born Nayvadius Wilburn, understands the importance of collaboration, co-signs, and consistency. Looking back on the Atlanta-born innovator’s last decade—a decade of dominance—it comes as no surprise that 1800 Tequila would select him as the celebrity curator for their second-annual 1800 Seconds compilation album. G.O.O.D. Music’s Pusha-T chose last year’s rising newcomers featured on 1800 Seconds Vol. 1, leaving big shoes and high expectations for Future and the various artists of 1800 Seconds Vol. 2.
Of the seven artists who appear on Vol. 2, only one knew Future before any fame or fortune. “Future is like my big brother, man,” said Test, a Baltimore-born rapper, when asked about their relationship. Some of that brotherly love appears in the 2012 vlog of Future signing Test to his Freebandz imprint. While on stage together at Test’s signing party, Future tells him, “Shine my nigga, you about to take off.”
Test, who appears on four of 12 tracks on Vol. 2, sounds like a rapper whose focus is taking off. His style of rap is contemporary, the kind of post-Fetty Wap easy-listening that’s playlist ready. Rather than braggadocious boasting, Test’s Auto-Tune melodies and heartfelt musing emphasize a sincere relationship, which adds a gentleman’s likability. A perfect example is “Don’t Stop,” Test’s solo song on the project. “Once we finished [the record], the staff and people in the studio were walking around mumbling the words,” he recalls.
With the compilation project out in the world, Test is going to push and market the entirety of 1800 Seconds Vol. 2, not just his songs, to ensure their hard work will be heard. Our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below:
DJBooth: When did 1800 reach out to you initially?
Test: When? Man, I can’t recall exactly. I’ve been all over the world since that day.
What did it mean to have been hand-picked for this record?
I was excited to work with 1800 and be a part of the album. I’m already familiar with Future. Working with him is a great, wonderful experience, and with 1800 involved, it’s just super big. This is big for any artist to be attached to. Getting to New York, getting to the studio, meeting everybody, the reps, and all that, it was all just surreal, man. For an up-and-coming artist, it makes you feel like you’re about to be where you’re trying to go.
What’s your relationship with Future like?
Future is like my big brother, man. I’ve been with him for the past 12 years.
You’re featured on four songs on the project. Which one is your favorite?
I would have to say, “Don’t Stop.” It’s one of the songs I recorded in the fastest time. I probably recorded the song in 15 minutes. I just went straight through. As soon as I finished, we started rearranging what I did. Instantly, I knew, man, this song [was] hard. It’s a standout record. Once we finished it, the staff and people who were in the studio were walking around mumbling the words.
Was the process for “Don’t Stop” different from how you usually make music?
No, not at all. I recorded exactly how I would anywhere in the world. Usually, when I’m outside the normal elements of recording, it’s a different process to start, to get the juices flowing. I can honestly say, though, with 1800, and knowing that Future was involved, I felt way more comfortable to go in there and do what I normally do without worrying about boundaries or what I shouldn’t say. I just tapped into letting things flow and going off the vibe and the feeling of the beat that Nick [Papamitrou] provided.
How do you plan on using this opportunity to your advantage?
I am running a dual plan along with the 1800 rollout. Whatever they’re doing, I’m trying to complement it to the best of my ability. One way I’m doing this is by continuing to push the music. Everybody on the project is dope, super-fire talent, and I’m putting people onto the whole project, not just my songs. I’m just trying to maximize everything about it. I own a studio in Baltimore. I got 1800 in the building. I keep it with me wherever I’m going. I make sure I pull it out, pour up a cup, and start a vibe wherever I’m at.