Future Covers Mass Appeal Issue 57
The new King of Atlanta graces the cover of our new issue celebrating the city.
“My heart in the ghetto, it’s permanent / I’m stuck in the trenches, it’s permanent”
So says Future on “Forever Eva,” track nine off his Beast Mode mixtape. You know, the one with a cover shot of his hand clutching both a microphone and an anatomically correct human heart with the severed arteries dripping blood—all wrapped in some Cuban links. If that image didn’t make it clear that Future was on some shit, the crack he was spitting over Zaytoven’s exquisitely off-kilter beats should have erased any lingering doubts.
And no, he wasn’t just going “Codeine Crazy”—never confuse pouring up with what comes pouring out. If it was that easy, everybody with a double cup would be changing the sound of hip hop. From time to time, the Holy Ghost lights a flame under a special artist and they get turnt up into a different zone. There’s no telling how long it will last, but while it’s happening, nothing else seems to matter.
With two extraordinary mixtapes plus two No. 1 albums in the space of 12 months, there’s no debating that 2015 has been Future’s year. Which is to say it’s also been Atlanta’s year. How many major artists are currently riding the wave Nayvadius Wilburn set off five years ago, when he was fresh out of the trap? Who could have predicted this the first time they heard YC and Future rapping about “Racks on racks on racks”? What we are witnessing right now is nothing less than a cultural tipping point. Atlanta’s been hot for a minute, but never has it exerted such a profound influence over popular culture. Even Drake hopped on a flight to Hartsfield-Jackson to dip into some of that Freebandz mojo.
Having recaptured his groove during a self-imposed media blackout, Future’s managed to remain the most enigmatic figure in hip hop thanks to a succession of evasive interviews. He endured the whole “it couple” crash and burn in a blaze of paparazzi flashbulbs, so is it any wonder the certified rock star dipped his wide-brimmed hat low and said “Fuck all the fame forever eva”?
But this is Mass Appeal. We’ve never been about the fame. So we took a different approach. The Future story has never been told properly because to tell his story you have to tell the Atlanta story. The Dungeon Family story. The Jasper Country story. The trap story. Hendrix meant it when he said, “I rep the hood forever eva / I rep my city forever eva.”
In an earlier era of Mass Appeal, circa 2000, the magazine devoted entire special issues to individual boroughs of NYC, drilling down to discover the unique aspects of graf culture in those specific zones. Taking a page from those playbooks, we rolled deep to Atlanta. Spent our first evening at Stankonia with Organized Noize. Ate Waffle House. Bumped into David Banner on the street. Kicked it with Propane. Visited the offices of Adult Swim and Dr. Curves. You’ll be seeing more of that stuff soon. As for the rest of the trip? #ItNeverHappened. But right now, it’s all about Future.
Director of photography Sally Berman hired no less a lensman than Jonathan Mannion (aka Magic City Mannion) to shoot the cover story. Veteran journalist and frequent A-town vistor Bonsu Thompson went above and beyond with a definitive 4,000-word piece on how a kid named Meathead became the King of Atlanta. You can read his cover story right now and subscribe to get Mass Appeal Issue 57 as soon as it ships.
Check back tomorrow to peep our second cover, featuring an original piece by Dr. Dax paired with a revelatory Q&A. And just remember: #ItNeverHappened.