LOOSE NOT THE WINE-SKIN FOOT, THOU CHIEF OF MEN,
UNTIL TO ATHENS THOU ART COME AGAIN. [THE ORACLE AT DELPHI]
Future was born Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta and ascended in the embrace of Hip-Hop influencers The Dungeon Family; who count Outkast and Janelle Monáe in their family tree. He has four children, one of which he fathers with ex-fiancé, R&B singer Ciara.
Our hero—named by the Dungeon Family because he is simply “the future”—has released four records since 2014: Honest, Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights.
In the spirit of our elixir issue we present a potent concoction of ancient heroism and Freudian theory, poetry, and wisdom straight from the lips of our hero, Future. For it is the hero who can overcome the beast. Like any great elixir, ours has three parts, the id—our base desires, the ego—our desire to be more than our urges, and the super ego—what societal constructs tell us about overcoming our animalism.
I. The Id
I’m going crazy bout it, I’m going codeine crazy/Thats how I’m living it, I’m feeling lovely [Future, “Codeine Crazy,” Monster]
But what about those internal processes, which we may—roughly and inexactly—sum up under the name of thought-processes? Do they advance to the surface, which causes consciousness to be generated? Or does consciousness make its way to them? [Freud, The Ego and the Id]
“But at the end of the day, that’s what I’m really thinking about. Like, how do I get in on this shit?” [Future]
He without any difficulty set himself to the stone and lifted it up; but refused to take his journey by sea, though it was much the safer way, and though his mother and grandfather begged him to do so. For it was at that time very dangerous to go by land on the road to Athens, no part of it being free from robbers and murderers. [Plutarch, Theseus]
“In 100 years, I was a genius. I changed the game. I did the impeccable. I’m impeccable. I’m incredible. [Raps] I fuck on that bitch and I lay up, that’s how I want them to ‘mem me.” [Future]
II. The Ego
He [Theseus] shed the blood of the halfbull man [the Minotauros] whose den was the earthdug labyrinth…But you know your thread was his savior: for the man of Athens with his club would never have found victory in that contest without a rosy-red girl to help him. [Nonnus, Dionysiaca]
I’m a monster on these hoes, I’mma monster/I can’t be scared of none you niggas, ya’ll some snitches/I got some girls that claim they straight but now they kissin’/These bitches switchin’, tryna get my dick a hickey [Future, “Monster,” Monster]
The functional importance of the ego is manifested in the fact that normally control over the approaches to motility devolves upon it. Thus in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength while the ego uses borrowed forces. [Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id]
III. The Super Ego
I was on my way to the right street in the paddie wagon and it had me numb/The pain from the slum had me numb [Future, “56 Nights,” 56 Nights]
“If I could have just listened when I was 20—and sometimes you feel like you’re the greatest 20-year-old there is—but there are certain things that you just don’t know because they just come from timing, they just come from living from living and learning, through experiences as you get older. And I feel like the older I get the better I’m becoming; you know what I’m saying?” [Future]
Now, when the time of the third tribute was come, and the fathers who had any young men for their sons were to proceed by lot to the choice of those that were to be sent, there arose fresh discontents and accusations against Aegeus among the people, who were full of grief and indignation that he who was the cause of all their miseries was the only person exempt from the punishment; adopting and settling his kingdom upon a bastard and foreign son, he took no thought, they said, of their destitution and loss, not of bastards, but lawful children. These things sensibly affected Theseus, who, thinking it but just not to disregard, but rather partake of, the sufferings of his fellow-citizens, offered himself for one without any lot. [Plutarch, Theseus]
“I mean that in a great way because a lot of people are going to tell you don’t do this or don’t do that, and you shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t do that. And if you don’t have confidence in yourself you’re going to always be looking for answers from somebody else, when really they’re giving you the wrong answers. If you don’t have confidence you’re going to go out with somebody else’s answers, when you’re supposed to be able to—I feel like—go above and beyond what anybody else’s expectations to get what you want from life.” [Future]
The fear of death in melancholia only admits of one explanation: that the ego gives itself up because it feels itself hated and persecuted by the super-ego, instead of loved. To the ego, therefore, living means the same as being loved—being loved by the super-ego, which here again appears as the representative of the id. The super-ego fulfills the same function of protecting and saving that was fulfilled in earlier days by the father and later by Providence or Destiny. [Freud, The Ego and the Id]
“So right now, it’s like, I feel like when I get to an age—I don’t know what age it’ll be when I get old enough—that I’ll be like, Damn, I wish I was young again, but right now I’m having fun, and I’m learning more and more everyday, the older I get, the better I feel, I’m getting more powerful, I’m getting more rich, I’m getting more information, I’m getting a better understanding about myself, I’m getting a better understanding about other people, I’m learning how to do certain things better than I did when I was 20 years old. It’s hard right now, at this time of my life to say that I wish I was 20.” [Future]
Theseus’ life began with a prophecy and ended with one. He loved, he lost—he beat the beast.
What is yet to come for our hero…?
“You never get real superstars, because you never get real people no more. I’m tellin’ you. These mufuckas always: ‘you can’t say that. They’re gonna get mad at you on CNN. Do this, they’re gonna say something mad at you. You can’t tweet that.’ Fuck it. That’s what you gotta do. And that’s my interview.” [Future]
Photographer: Michael Muller at mullerphoto.com.
Stylist: Sean Knight for jedroot.com.
Groomers: Erinn Courtney at echairartistry.com and Vgo at vgodartiste.com.