There was a moment when Future seemed like he might become rap’s next crossover pop star, a legitimate contender for Drake’s job as the genre’s ambassador to the Billboard charts, a worthy successor to Jay Z as the preeminent rapper with a high-profile R&B singer for a partner. But that potential breakout moment somehow came and went, with a couple unenthusiastically received (but, in this writer’s book, awesome) Miley Cyrus collaborations and a Rihanna non-single the only signs of how close we were. Honest, his anticipated king-making album, barely made a splash, despite being far and away one of the best rap projects of 2014. His relationship with Ciara fell apart, and Future found himself an object of tabloid scorn while musically playing catch up with Atlanta's younger stars.
But to poorly paraphrase The Great Gatsby, America is a country of second acts, and Future, who is on the third or fourth act of his career at this point, is not one to let a setback go to waste, let alone have it actually hold him back. Future was always too complex and rough around the edges to be an easy, comfortable pop act anyway, and he has consistently thrived when his music has walked a line between enigmatic underdog and triumphant kingpin. The past few months have seen new music quietly trickle out and build a renewed buzz—the kind of quiet, word-of-mouth, hear-the-cool-DJs-playing-it buzz that built Future’s career circa “Racks” and “Tony Montana” rather than the grand media narrative kind that emerged after the release of Pluto.
At the heart of the Future comeback is “Fuck Up Some Commas,” a worthy, smart successor to the lineage of great Future turn up tracks. Pulling together the blunt-force, yell-along enthusiasm of songs like “Same Damn Time” and the melodicism that Future has developed an increasingly subtle grasp over in the wake of hits like “Turn on the Lights” and “Honest,” it’s a rich and complex street-ready anthem, the kind that quietly but efficiently tears the club up. And that’s what it’s been doing: A breakout radio hit that DJs are playing everywhere, it’s the hottest rap song in the country right now, and it seems very likely headed for Song of the Summer status (Rap Division, at least).
It will make you feel like a million dollars—literally, as the hook suggests “a milli on me, let’s have a money shower.” Like any truly great song, it introduces a phrase that’s new but feels instantly familiar: If you don’t exit the year with at least one Instagram caption cribbing this song’s hook, it’s hard to say what you’re doing with your life. It has an immediately iconic flow in that part where Future yells a bunch of staccato syllables that at some point resolve into the words “Audemar, yeah, 80 on the watch, yeah” and “Katy Perry, yeah, serving Katy Perry, yeah.” As I’ve said before, I’d give anything to be Katy Perry’s personal chef and get to rap that.
Above all, though, it has a very simple appeal, which is summed up in the moment where the metaphorical clouds part and Future shouts, “give no fucks, yeah, we don’t give no fucks, yeah.” It’s the embodiment of Future Right Now, which is all the emotional collapse stuff and frustration wrapped up into a statement of bravado. One of the most satisfying responses to any setback is to come back stunting twice as hard, to treat every room you enter as if you’re walking in throwing money in the air (“watch it fall! to! the! floor!”), to, in other words, fuck up some commas. You don’t get that feeling when you’ve been coasting on easy wins—you get it from hard-won comeback victories. And it feels that much better.
How good? Well, watch the video, directed by Motion Family, to get an idea. See that whip that’s on fire? It feels like that. See that woman in a fur coat holding a torch to a pile of money? It feels like that. See Boosie casually making an appearance? It feels like that. See Young Scooter and Metro Boomin and Curtis Williams and the song’s producers DJ Spinz and Southside showing up for the party? That’s what it motherfucking feels like. Look at all those flames! If you were like ‘hey, what’s one image that captures the way Future’s going off on this song?” I’d be like “uhhh, probably a person literally breathing fire.” And, sorry: That is the correct answer.
So, friends, gather a pile of money. Forty thousand, a hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, five hundred thousand, a million—it doesn’t matter. Any amount will do. Throw it in the air. Watch it fall to the floor. Put it in a pile. Light it on fire. You’re now in the right mood to watch this video:
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