With T.I. and B.o.B.
Cameo, Miami Beach
Monday, December 31, 2012
Future was slated to go on at midnight. But Cameo is a long way from Pluto so his landing got delayed.
In the meantime, Baltimore club legend DJ Class's "I'm the Shit" remix dropped over the club speakers, with Kanye bragging in Auto-Tune that "it's still Top 10, 15 weeks later, that's a middle finger to you 808 haters!"
Though that date has passed, it worked as a brief reminder of the song's unintentional prophecy.
It was NYE 2013, about four years after Kanye's boast, and two of the big competing end-of-year shows on South Beach were Drake at the Fontainebleau poolside and Future at Cameo.
One could make a flow chart where the cybernetic depression of 808s and Heartbreak (obvs following T-Pain's Epiphany) splits off into two camps: the navel base, where Drake is stationed to gaze eternally, and an alien(ated) satellite, where Future roams the galaxies like the Silver Surfer. Now, where Drake takes Kanye's ugly, late-night phone call further up its own ass, Future goes cosmic, seeing that the pain is communal and searching for solutions in the stars before just starting a colony on Pluto.
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My first thoughts when I read about it were that Drake would ring in the new year by filling up a drained Fontainebleau pool tear by tear, after which Future would walk on those tears and turn that saltwater into wine, especially since Future's You Deserve It (#YDI) is like an earned, pragmatic response to the reckless indulgence of Drake's YOLO. But Future weeps too.
Earlier this year, on Gucci Mane's "Fawk the World," Future took one of Watch the Throne's more salient points, balling as a coping mechanism for escaping death in poverty, and distilled it into one heart-stopping verse, recounting an uncle's drug-related death, a cousin's suicide, and a friend's jail sentence before declaring "I just had to drop 40 racks up on my ring." Thus, familial despair and material excess at the same damn, perfectly justifiable time.
While waiting for Future to go on, there was lots to look at 'round the club. Saloon chandeliers hanging over neon zags like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride dropped into Tron. The emptied bag on the ceiling, once filled with balloons, dangling over some stripper poles. Some girls at the bar rapping along, "It ain't fun if the homies can't have none," before taking the dance floor to E-40's "Function."
Tuxed-up guards roamed the peripheries like it was the Macau casino in Skyfall, giving the impression that one wrong move and it'd be off to the rock garden with the komodo dragons. The casino feel extended to Future's presence, which wasn't immediately obvious. His signature style (shades, baseball or skullcap over dreads neatly balled up into a pony, and a vest or jacket) was rocked by a handful of patrons, as if he'd dispatched doubles throughout the club.
We were told that T.I. and B.o.B. were in the club, with shouts out to the somewhere-present Monica. Unfortunately, Monica stayed in the shadows, though B.o.B. took the stage and reminded people he wasn't just a Disney-radio rapper and was still around, literally, performing "We Still in this Bitch." T.I. soon hopped up on the stage, joining to give a similar reminder, performing "Ball" sans Lil Wayne, and after dropping word about Trouble Man, let the club go back to its Future-istic festivities. (However, T.I. was not still "in this bitch" when Future later performed "Magic.")
Finally, around 2 a.m., Future took the stage, addressing us with words from the stars like Moses down from the mountain. He started with "Itchin''" as if joking about how keen we were to see him. Then he dropkicked into "Same Damn Time," the song that most directly communicates that Future is a man of multitudes.
The pole dancers, originally out for the balloon drop at midnight, accompanied the lyrics with a pointed performance as two took one pole simultaneously like it was Cirque du Soleil. Future made a canny comment about the burgeoning local film industry asking, "Can we make a movie? We're in Miami, right?" making me wish that Pain & Gain were actually a sci-fi biopic about his alter ego's life. He shouted out the Latin ladies and black women before launching into "Straight Up." Next was "Gone to the Moon" from last year's Streetz Calling, with its "I'm float like balloons" lyric seeming to be a nod to the ones not yet popped.
Then Future dropped a cut explicitly "for the ladies," the doleful and hopeful "Turn on the Lights" about a good hood girl that he's ready to put on a pedestal and take past the moon in exchange for monogamy. While ironic in a club with many lights, the request was actually not met by the lighting crew, echoing the as-of-yet unrequited nature of the lyrics. Future jumped around between Pluto, Streetz Calling, Astronaut Status, and a variety of guest verses, some of which I shamefully had to Shazam, having not listened to any Young Jeezy since The Recession.
But Jeezy's "Way Too Gone" provided a sobering highlight, with Future shouting out the "dearly gone and never forgotten," a running theme of the night, remembering the ones who didn't make it to 2013, as those who came with friends hugged each other, thanks to be alive for the new year.
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In direct contrast to "My Hoe 2," to which one girl gleefully rapped every lyric, Future closed on a sweeter note with his verse from Rihanna's "Loveee Song," doing the most sincere thing he could've by taking off his shades for the only time that night, waving goodbye while asking for "love and affection," a decent goal for the new year.
Of course, Future didn't leave immediately, jumping on what was the umpteenth rendition of "Good Kush and Alcohol (My Bitches Love Me)." Because, like I said, multitudes.
-- Adam Katzman