Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn (born November 20, 1983), known professionally as Future, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he first became involved in music as part of the Dungeon Family collective, where he was nicknamed “the Future”. After amassing a series of mixtapes between 2010 and 2011, Future signed a major record label deal with Epic Records and Rocko’s A1 Recordings, which helped launch Future’s own label imprint, Freebandz. He subsequently released his debut album, Pluto, in April 2012 to positive reviews. Future’s second album, Honest, was released in April 2014, surpassing his debut on the album charts.
Between late 2014 and early 2015, he released a trio of mixtapes to critical praise: Monster (2014), Beast Mode (2015), and 56 Nights (2015). His next releases, DS2 (2015), What a Time to Be Alive (2015, in collaboration with Drake), Evol (2016), Future (2017), Hndrxx (2017), and The Wizrd (2019) all debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Future and Hndrxx made him the first artist since 2014 to debut two albums in consecutive weeks atop of that chart. Future has also released several singles certified gold or higher by the RIAA, including “Turn On the Lights”, “Move That Dope”, “Fuck Up Some Commas”, “Where Ya At”, “Jumpman”, “Low Life”, “Mask Off”, and “Life Is Good”.
Future makes prevalent use of Auto-Tune in his songs, both rapping and singing with the effect. Pitchfork Media wrote that Future “miraculously shows that it’s still possible for Auto-Tune to be an interesting artistic tool”, stating that he “finds a multitude of ways for the software to accentuate and color emotion”. The LA Times wrote that “Future’s highly processed vocals suggest a man driven to bleary desperation by drugs or love or technology”, stating that his music “comes closest to conjuring the numbing overstimulation of our time”. GQ stated that he “has managed to reboot the tired auto-tune sound and mash it into something entirely new”, writing that he “combines it with a bizarro croon to synthesize how he feels, then […] stretches and deteriorates his words until they’re less like words, more like raw energy and reactive emotions”. Critic Simon Reynolds wrote that “he’s reinvented blues for the 21st century.”
Rapper T-Pain, who also uses that audio processor, criticized Future’s unconventional use of it in 2014. In response, Future stated in an interview that “when I first used Auto-Tune, I never used it to sing. I wasn’t using it the way T-Pain was. I used it to rap because it makes my voice sound grittier. Now everybody wants to rap in Auto-Tune. Future’s not everybody.” Future’s music has been characterized as trap music.