Future Stakes His Claim as Hip-Hop’s King

Future demonstrated why he is one of hip-hop's superstars on Thursday night in The Woodlands.
Future demonstrated why he is one of hip-hop's superstars on Thursday night in The Woodlands. Marco Torres
Future w/Migos, Tory Lanez and A$AP Ferg
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
June 22, 2017

The competition for the current king of hip-hop is pretty much a three-man race. Drake certainly qualifies, if only because Drake always qualifies. Kendrick Lamar somehow topped his previous classics by releasing DAMN., which might very well be the best record of any genre released in 2017. It’s no wonder he was all over the NBA playoffs and will headline his own tour in the coming months.

Then there’s Future, who played before a packed house at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Thursday night. Sure, Future may not have Drake’s Q rating (and really, who does?) and his records might not resonate with the socially conscious crowd like Kendrick’s material does, but man, dude has had one hell of a 2017.

That only continued on Thursday night, when Future ripped through a 75-minute, 23-track set that sampled the old and new. But whereas a lot of performers from any genre rely on the old hits in keeping the crowd engaged throughout, Future is able to satisfy a crowd by showcasing old and new tracks alike.

Future pretty much did the unthinkable earlier this year, when he released his best album to date – a self-titled release that showcased Future at the top of his game. Then, a week later, he released a more R&B-flavored album (HENDRXX), which somehow competed with if not outshone its predecessor. Not only that, but his self-titled release featured the hit single “Mask Off,” which somehow topped “Jumpman” – his 2015 collaboration with Drake – to mark Future’s most successful hit to date.

click to enlarge MARCO TORRES
Marco Torres
So, yeah, Future had plenty to sample before one lively crowd in The Woodlands on Thursday night. Flanked by a quartet of dancers and some occasional pyrotechnics, he blew through a cadre of hits from yesteryear, including “Move That Dope,” “Same Damn Time” and of course, “Jumpman” – complete with piped-in backing vocals from everyone’s favorite collaborator, Drake.

Future also showcased some of the best tracks from his newest material, including “Incredible,” “Super Trapper,” “Good Dope” and “Comin’ Out Strong.” Of course, as any seasoned performer is wont to do, Future saved the best for last, when he closed out the show with “March Madness” and his contender for song of the summer – “Mask Off.”

It was a fitting end to a lively show. And it only furthered the notion that the future of hip-hop (no pun intended) may very well belong to the man who made it happen.

Thoughts on the Opener: Unfortunately, due to a large crowd and slow lines at both the will call and entry gates, we only got to catch the tail end of Migos’ set. That said, the crowd was ready for one of hip-hop’s hottest acts of 2017. Yes, they played "Bad and Boujee." Yes, everyone went nuts and sang along for it, as you’d expect.

The Throwback Department: The throwback jersey trend continues to be in full effect at Houston area shows. Thursday night’s show featured an array of throwback hoops jerseys, including Penny Hardaway with the Orlando Magic, a Kevin Durant Texas jersey, a Kevin Durant Sonics jersey, a Clyde Drexler Rockets get-up, a Shaq jersey from his LSU days, a Tracy McGrady Raptors jersey, an Isiah Thomas Pistons jersey, and in the obscure department, a Ricky Pierce Milwaukee Bucks jersey. There were plenty of James Harden jerseys in the house, but props to the guy who rocked the Michael Jordan All-Star throwback. That was badass.

Overheard in the Crowd: “Man, when they played ‘Jumpman,’ I thought Drake was gonna come out.” One bro to another as we exited the Pavilion Thursday night. Yeah man, that’s gonna happen.

Random Notebook Dump: Took forever and a day to park and get into the Pavilion Thursday night, but man, getting out was a breeze … Following the NBA Draft was tough with the limited cell service … It’s quite a drive for inner-loopers and those who don’t live in the Woodlands, but Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is one hell of a place to see a show … Based on the reception Migos got during their hour-long set, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them headlining their own gig in the coming years ... Future donned a Kurt Cobain t-shirt for the second half of his show, which was a pretty awesome sight.
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Clint Hale enjoys music and writing, so that kinda works out. He likes small dogs and the Dallas Cowboys, as you can probably tell. Clint has been writing for the Houston Press since April 2016.
Contact: Clint Hale