An Autumns eve in Braam plays host to what will be an enlightening exchange with a jack of all trades. Hailing from Dube in Soweto, the 23 year old musician Thee Future has been around for a long time. His track record speaks to that for sure, having being the sound engineer of gigs at the Bassline in Newtown to producing tracks with soul master Emamkay, his immense grind to master all elements of sound has taken him on a winding journey.
Starting around the same time Motorola gave us the V360 its evident that Thee Future has a vast array of knowledge. A football injury in his high school career may have come as a blessing in disguise as all his focus was directed towards his sonic craft afterwards.
I meet Thee Future at the Immigrant Bar on De Korte street where he exuberantly welcomes me before discussing whether or not I Decided is actually just a watered down Dark Sky Paradise or a Dark Twisted Fantasy moment . “I’d like to put out a short film with the release [be]cause of the way the tracks are set out, you know if things go well,” he explains as we chat about his formative years with his 1st collective Bars & Beats and how working with like-minded artists and staying true is what keeps him motivated.
Having an eclectic palette has shaped his soundscapes and that can be attributed to his father’s music collection and handling the sound production at church. Branching out in all directions has led him to this point, a few months away from his forthcoming EP When The Party Ends dropping on May 14th. Thee Future discusses key collaborators, how he found his lane and his current top 5 behind the boards along a cornucopia of tidbits….
For those out of the loop, what do you do?
THEE FUTURE Can I swear? [Laughs]
You can say whatever you want, this is your shit…
THEE FUTURE I’m a rapper, beat-maker, engineer, just a nigga who enjoys making dope shit.
So how’d you get started? Who influenced you?
THEE FUTURE Rapping? I started in grade 6 man. Can’t even lie my biggest influence was Lil’ Wayne cos I know the first song I ever wrote to was Make It Rain. I remember downloading the instrumental and spitting about this chick and how I’d take her all over the world and spend all my guap, but I kept it lowkey. Then once I got to Midrand High i met my nigga [Roy], met up with BizBoy and we started this whole production stuff.
Having learned so many sonic crafts which one do you enjoy the most?
THEE FUTURE At the moment, definitely production. I started that after rapping so once I really got into it, it was a wrap. I enjoy it the most but it’s also the most stressful nahmean.
Its like constantly improving yourself, you can never ever stop. Its also like this whole comparison to other niggas and whatever that type of ish can be frustrating.
Finding the balance can be tricky, so how do you maneuver through it?
THEE FUTURE I don’t know how I’ve done it man. The weird thing is when I started producing I found it difficult to rap over my own stuff. One thing that pushed me, you have this thought in your mind as a producer like “niggas gonna buy my beats”, so for me personally it took too long to start popping off. So i was like fuck it, imma start rapping on my own shit because i know as a rapper I can rap better than that nigga and that nigga…
Double platinum with no features?
THEE FUTURE [Laughs] yeah had to do that…
Top 5 producers right now? Rappers are too easy
THEE FUTURE Wichi 1080, can I name myself? This American guy Masego, dude is fire. I wanna say Kaytranada but I don’t know how I feel about that and…lets go with Metro Boomin.
Your songs resonate with the ideal of 2 heads being better than 1, is collaboration key?
THEE FUTURE Its cool working by yourself but its very easy to get so lost in it that you’re unable to point out your own mistakes…
Double platinum with no features?
THEE FUTURE [Laughs] yeah and just bringing a fresh perspective into it bruh. The best sessions are the ones with your niggas and ya’ll come through with a dope track, hook, melody et cetera. Bouncing ideas off each other.
Bizboy behind the boards too on Pressure, how did that come about?
THEE FUTURE The weird thing is that we were always messing with beats but had never gotten around to actually completing one. I remember going to his place and he had just come up with the melody, added the 808’s and I added the snares, kicks, you know different layers and when I sent it back to him we both knew we had something crazy.
The song deals with more serious themes, have those experiences moulded your sound?
THEE FUTURE One thing I’ve moved away from was the notion that you could only spit conscious stuff on a conscious beat. I’m really starting to find a love for experimentation with sounds but the one thing I’ve learned is to keep it one hundred.
If i wanna discuss my grandma on a trap beat, then I’m going to do it.
You aint got no shooters in the club?
THEE FUTURE Nah but if a nigga test me its on. [Laughs]
Thee Future? Is Hendrix on your playlist?
THEE FUTURE Nah nah nah…sometimes. I found an interest in the name “Future” from one of Drake’s friends he always mentioned. So obviously cos there are hella niggas with that name, I just decided to add “Thee”. You’d find 27 niggas with the name on Live Mixtapes back then. It used to bother me but now it’s whatever, I don’t feel no pressure.
What is the one thing you’d like for the listeners to take from your music?
THEE FUTURE Just know what you got in it for. Trust your sound and stay true.