Dime Q&A: Hip-Hop Star Future Talks Auto-Tune, French Montana & What The NBA Is Missing

Confidence is crucial when deciding to become a rapper. If you don’t exude a certain arrogance that drips off you, you might as well reconsider your career. Being brash and pretentious is actually a plus and not frowned upon in hip-hop. It’s cool to have the lyrics and flows, but being the quintessential rapper requires a dose of cockiness.

That’s why Future is excelling. The precocious songwriter-turned-rapper has developed a strong foundation: delivering hooks where he croons in Auto-Tune. The formula spawned hits like “Tony Montana,” “Magic,” “Same Damn Time” and his recent No. 1 smash, “Turn On The Lights.”

With a successful year that also produced a cover spot on XXL‘s Freshman 10, Future – as cliché as this may sound – has a bright future. Because of the success of his singles, he’s opted to re-release his album Pluto on November 27th, which features the four aforementioned singles and also the remix to his track “Neva End,” featuring the beautiful Kelly Rowland.

While interviewing Future, he confidently conveyed his multi-faceted background in sports – especially in hoops, comparing himself to Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant – what he would do if he was commissioner for a day, his starting five, NBA comparison, and if he sees himself having longevity with autotune.

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Dime: According to your bio, you were a real active athlete and hooper. Do you remember the first time you actually fell in love with the game of basketball?
Future: When I was growing up I just naturally started playing basketball around my uncle’s crib. I also loved playing football and baseball. As a kid, I just played all three sports.

Dime: Because you were shot in the hand, you were forced to stop playing basketball. If that never happened, how successful do you feel you could have been playing the game?
Future: Man I was good. Everything I did I was good at. You never know how far I could of gone. I’m in the right place right now. I could have been in the NBA. I say the NBA because I always took my game to the next level. I was always that dude. I was a scorer. I was an MVP on the team. From a kid, I was always that dude on the team. I’m not just saying it. I was the point guard controlling the ball. We had a point guard who wanted me to be the shooting guard. I would always shoot and I would always start. When I played football, basketball and baseball, I was always a starter. I played baseball as the number three or number four hitter. Playing baseball, I was the third baseman or pitcher. Football, I was the quarterback. I was always versatile. It came to me naturally. It was always easy.

Dime: Who would you say your game was like basketball-wise?
Future: My game was more like Dwyane [Wade] mixed with Kobe [Bryant]. You know what I’m saying?

Dime: So you were just killing dudes out here, going straight to the cup? (Laughs)
Future: Yeah man ‘cuz I got the heart of Dwyane Wade. I was always tripping off the fouls and falling. I had the jumper like Kobe. I was always in my mind thinking of the moves to make before I did ’em.

Dime: If you were able to choose four other players with you to form a starting five including yourself, who would you choose and why?
Future Man, I’d take Kevin Garnett because he’s a team player, Paul Pierce because he could hit the threes, Dwyane Wade because he got the heart and LeBron James because he’s just aggressive.

Dime: 1-on-1, mano e mano, you versus 2 Chainz. Who’s taking that game?
Future: (Laughs) You can’t even compare him to me. You can’t compare us since I never seen him play. So I can’t really say. (Laughs)

Dime: If David Stern said you could be commissioner for the day, what would you implement or change in regards to the league?
Future: What would I add to the league? I mean, I’d give more dudes on the street a chance. You know what I’m saying? I would have somewhere where they can tryout. Also, like you know how some dudes get in trouble for either riding with someone with a gun in their car, having drugs that wasn’t theirs, or just being falsely accused, I’d give them a chance to just get back in the game and see their dreams.

Dime: I feel you. That would be big for a lot of dudes.
Future: Yeah man because there’s a lot of dudes who could have been in the NBA and enjoy their experience playing the game but now can’t because the league won’t allow that due to certain criteria.

Dime: There could be a LeBron James in the playgrounds but dudes would never know.
Future: Everybody just needs a second chance.

Dime: Switching gears, which player would you compare yourself to in the NBA based off your musical abilities? I had Freddie Gibbs tell me awhile back, he saw himself as LeBron due to his versatility and being the best out.
Future: Kobe Bryant, because I’m a franchise player.

Dime: I would say the strongest part of your game is your hooks. Which other skills of yours do you feel people overlook when it comes to you as an artist?
Future: I think people overlook my overall message and vision – the message I’m trying to get across. It’s easy to come up with a hot line. Anybody can do that. People write their verses and they take days or weeks to write those verses. A hot line will get you an ahhh or oooh. Most of the time, I’m not trying to get an aaah or oooh. I’m trying to get a lifestyle for my music. I’m trying to change a whole person’s life. I’m trying to change the way they live or the way they think from a verse. I want people to feel like, “You know I can do this.” I got the same opportunities as everyone else. I got the same opportunities to wake up, hear my alarm and be who I wanna be. That’s the message I’m trying to give through my music. I’m giving you music to understand where I was and I do make this music for you to understand where I’m at right now. And I’m not afraid to share the information with you. This is for you to look at and listen to for what it’s worth. And for me, it’s worth more than you could ever think of. Anybody could rap to you with a metaphor. It’s made up. It’s make believe. I’m telling you exactly what it is fact for fact, bar for bar, line for line a way you could change your life and live with it.

Dime: What I find interesting about you is I remember when you were ready to release the album, you were adamant and confident on your use of Auto-Tune. You stood by that stance and were successful. Now do you feel Auto-Tune is something that will help bring you longevity?
Future: I believe you gotta be able to re-invent. You know, I’m all about re-inventing. I know there’s gonna come a time where I’m gonna have to re-invent myself. You know right now, it ain’t the time for me to think about that because they want what Future got right now. They want this and for years to come. So it comes with time. I always stay in the studio. It’s like a boxing match. You work out, work out and work out. I go to the studio every day. I know there’s gonna be a time where I might come up with a style which I thought I’d never have by either exercising my voice or exercising my mind. I just keep going because I may come across something I’ve never thought I could have done. I just ask God to take me places my mind and imagination could take me.

Dime: You had the opportunity to be featured as a Freshman for the XXL class this past year. Who would you say besides yourself, you’ve been most impressed with from your class, and why?
Future: I’m most impressed with… hmmm… I mean everybody out there doing good. You know French my dude. French Montana is doing good. You know I was No. 1 and he was No. 1. I love the way he works musically and that he’s about his business. His whole approach besides being an artist is that he’s a business man. He’s the closest to being the next level business man in actually making money other ways besides music. He’s all up on the endorsement game, the movie deal game, and he’s just about his business man.

Dime: Before I let you go, I know you got the single out from the re-release of your album Pluto with Kelly Rowland. Because you’ve worked with a lot of people in the game so far, who would you choose to do a Best of Both Worlds albums with and why?
Future: Me and Movado.

Dime: Why Movado?
Future: Another international flavor and international sound. He has a soulful voice. I need somebody with pain in their voice. I need somebody who people could identify with man. I need that.

What is your favorite song from Future?

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