Can Someone Please Explain To Me Why Future Is A Thing Because I'm Trying Really Hard And I Just Don't Get It

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Years ago, I dated someone who was a big fan of HBO's Girls. Such a big fan, in fact, that it wasn't uncommon for her to spend a Saturday or Sunday binge-watching episodes she'd already seen. I happened to be at her place during one of these binges, and I sat and watched a few episodes with her. I'd already heard and read a shitload of commentary about the show and about Lena Dunham — some good, some bad, but all, for lack of a better term, visceral — and I was curious what the big deal was. Why did this show and the person who created and starred in it inspire such a reaction?


So I watched. And while I wasn't compelled enough by it to seek it out on my own, I was interested and entertained enough to not feel like I was wasting my time. I also got it. It was apparent why the show would turn so many people off. And why others were obsessed with it. And why others were obsessed, but only to hate watch. And why so many people were so annoyed that the show even existed and that Dunham even had the opportunity to create it. And why so many believed — and still believe — that both the show's existence and the show itself synopsizes the type of specifically White and racially tone-deaf privileged feminism that niggas are tired of dealing with.

I also understand why people make a big deal about the following things I generally give nil to negative fucks about:

Coffee. Starbucks. Fellatio. The Wobble. Prenuptial agreements. Marijuana. Pitbull. Snapchat. This is Us. Slack. Beets. Vans. Living in New York City or Atlanta. Anything Skip Bayless does or says. The effect referees have on games I'm watching. BMWs. Indian food. Ski trips. NASCAR. Hunting. Hiking. Fishing. Swimming. Interracial porn. This guy working in this cafe that I'm in right now on Walnut Street in Shadyside who just asked — politely, nervously, annoyingly, and whitedudeaily — if I was going to buy something because it's getting busy and customers who buy stuff are going to need somewhere to sit. Sunglasses. Where you're from and where you went to college. Beets. Bloody Marys. Tomato soup. How people might feel about my nuanced and situationally appropriate use of nigga. The X-Men. Nametags. White pants. Facebook live. Whatever the fuck you decide to do with your grits and however the fuck you decide to eat them.

I do not, however, understand why music created by Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn is so fucking popular. I mean, I get why he's the patron saint of feckless fuckboys and "Name written on the milk he bought in the refrigerator so his aunt doesn't drink it" Twitter. I get why he almost won the Blackest Name in America. Because Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn is pretty damn fucking Black. And I actually don't mind his music. "Same Damn Time" is one of the best and most ingenuous trap rap songs ever, and when I see that Future is featured on a track of an artist I'm a fan of, I usually say "Oh, Future is featured on this album too. That's interesting."

But as far as why this dude is popular enough to have a motherfucking Hive, I'm completely perplexed. Because I listen to his music and I don't get what distinguishes him from maybe a dozen other trap-ish rappers who also primarily rap about about drugs, bitches, money, and chinos. It's music that's best appreciated while you're in a strip club and checking your texts and Zillow updates instead of the dancers on stage. I mean, Spotify has never, ever, ever, ever, ever alerted me to when an album was released. But last week, before I could even view my playlist, I had to click off of a screen telling me that this nigga just dropped an album.

Interestingly enough, this isn't some sort of get-off-of-my-lawn-ish indictment of trap and mumble rap. Even if those sub-genres aren't particularly my cup of tea, I get why people love them. But if Future has a Hive, why doesn't Travis Scott have a Hive? What makes Future so much more Hive-worthy than Travis Scott? If Future was performing on the desk in front of me right now, and I left my seat to go to the bathroom, and Future was replaced by Travis Scott while I was gone, I wouldn't even notice until the end of the show, when Travis Scott was like "Thanks for coming everyone. I'm Travis Scott." And then — and only then — I'd be like "Holy shit. What happened to Future?" If I'm Travis Scott, I'm sitting at home eating a bowl of Fruit Loops right now and wondering where the fuck my Hive is at?

Anyway, I need answers. Why is Future a thing?

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


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