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How Future Caught Fire

Coming off the wildly successful I Never Liked You, Future’s momentum continues on the festival circuit. Boardroom examines how Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn went Beast Mode.

Future has reached arguably the most intriguing point in his career to date. His incredible mixtape runs, as well as his influence in shaping the consistently evolving Atlanta trap-percussion sound, are undeniable dating all the way back to the Dungeon Family days. And it’s why the cover story of GQ,’s May issue was simply titled “Future Is the Best Rapper Alive.”

And that argument only got stronger on the night of July 23 when Future surprised fans during his headlining set at Rolling Loud Miami set by bringing out Travis Scott.

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The pair shared an embrace that highlighted how big of a moment this was for Travis; it marked his first big festival appearance since last November’s Astroworld tragedy in Houston that left 10 dead and upwards of 300 injured due to a crowd surge.

It was a huge moment for the Houston artist and his long-awaited return, as he puts the final touches on his forthcoming album, Utopia. But it was more fitting that not Kanye West — who came out earlier that night with Lil Durk — but Future, the undeniably hot artist of the moment, was the one to bring back Mr. Cactus Jack.

With one big night animated by his unique gravitational force, the man born Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn was officially off and running on the summer festival circuit, with dates upcoming at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal (July 30), the Kraków Live Festival in Poland (Aug. 18), and September dates at Rolling Loud Toronto, Music Midown in Atlanta, and Rolling Loud New York.

Earlier this year, Future released his album, I Never Liked You, to a massive first week, debuting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 227,000 units sold and all 16 songs from the project charting on the Hot 100, making it his highest solo album sales week and the biggest debit of the year (up to that point). It’s since moved a total of 893,000 units.

An album destined as streaming gold and ripe for mainstream consumption, I Never Liked You came with some big names attached to it — beginning with Executive Producer (and head of march design) Ye — including guest verses from Gunna, Young Thug, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, 42 Dugg, EST Gee, and Babyface Ray. The album also handed Future his highest-charting song to date a lead artist, Wait For U.

The album was accompanied with two merch drops— the first designed by Ye’s creative collective, DONDA, including pieces donning the album’s name, using imagery of the chart-topping rapper and type treatments inspired by the record, while the second drop found Future teaming up with the often-elusive, heavily-coveted Cactus Plant Flea Market.

Whether name dropping high-end fashion pieces, showing off his extravagant car collection, or flexing his absurd booking price (allegedly $1 million per show), Future has without a doubt become not just one of the highest-paid rappers in the game, but one who has distinguished himself among the industry’s sought-after brand names.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at how Future came to build such a singular presence as an artist, tastemaker, and businessman.

Social & Streaming Milestones

  • Instagram followers: 20.9 million
  • Twitter followers: 7.4 million
  • Spotify monthly listeners: 36.4 million
  • YouTube subscribers: 12.1 million

Music Industry Accolades

Future’s Investments, Endorsements, & Ventures

  • Sneaker collaboration with Reebok
  • Founder of imprint record label Freebandz
  • Sponsorship deal with Dope
  • Starred in Nike commercial “Bring Your Game”
  • Stock portfolio includes Walmart, Apple, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, & AT&T
  • Owns over a dozen real estate properties
  • An avid car enthusiast, Future’s fleet is estimated to be worth over $3 million and includes a Lamborghini Aventador; Rolls-Royce Ghost; Bentley Bentayga, Continental GT, and Flying Spur; and Mercedes-Benz Maybach
  • Partnered with AppMoji to release his own Emoji pack, FutureMoji
  • Co-founded the Freewishes Foundation with his mom, Stephanie Jester, and sister, Tia Wilburn-Anderson “to provide educational support, health and wellness, and transitional services to the community to empower them to be self-sufficient and allow their dreams to come alive.”
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