Dream Big, the latest album from cocky Phoenix rapper Futuristic, hits every style one would hope to get from a hip-hop album. There's club-ready anthems, smooth R&B ballads, and even some laid-back boom-bap, with Futuristic laughing between boisterous rhymes.
Futuristic was in the midst of a tour, having just played a lake-side music festival in Idaho, when I called him to chat about Dream Big.
Among the many different flavors was a standout track called "La La La," a laid-back tune propelled by mellow synths and summer vibes."I sat on that beat for a while," he says. "I liked it so much but couldn't think of what to write over it."
Local producer AKT Aktion is responsible for the beat's snappy jazz snares and Low End Theory groove. Having worked with artists like the Ying-Yang Twins, Aktion said he will now be working exclusively with Futuristic and the two are close to finishing a new album.
"When I've given beats to artists that don't sound quite normal, they start to shy away," Aktion says.
"A lot of rappers need the hook in place. He's the first artist where it didn't need to be a finished thought for him to work with it."
Directed by Jakob Owens, the "La La La" video shows Futuristic and L.A. emcee K.i.D. getting domestic in the sun, mowing the lawn and getting hyped up on the roof.
The clip's quick cuts and silly antics are reminiscent of the hyper-active summer vacation energy that overwhelms mischievous high schoolers. Futuristic said he and K.i.D. are both unafraid to clown around, evidenced by the video's balloon-testicles and a pup with a coke nose.
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In fact, Futuristic manages to sneak some jokes into nearly every track on Dream Big, regardless of the vibe, saying it's just a true part of his style.
"I'm just a goofy-ass dude," he says. "This album is where I found that. I used to rap only about stereotypical rap things, but now I just try to be me."