With Ty Dolla $ign
South Side Ballroom, Dallas
Friday, March 11, 2016
The busiest rapper in the world took a no-nonsense approach to his latest Dallas stop in support of his newest mixtape Purple Reign at the South Side Ballroom Friday night. The 32-year-old Atlantan has been on Beast Mode the last 15 months, pumping out five mixtapes, two albums and a gang of guest features. Of those seven projects, three have gone to No. 1 on the U.S. charts, reinforcing the notion that not only is Future Hendrix busier than he’s ever been, he’s better than he’s ever been, too.
Even though this was his fourth tour stop in Dallas in the last year, with a fifth show already lined up in May, that didn’t keep Friday's visit from being a sellout that was packed to the brim with eager fans. So much so that even with a surprisingly early 9 p.m. start time for the headliner, fans were already whipped into a frenzy before Future touched the stage.
After opening with “Thought It Was A Drought,” the lead track from Dirty Sprite 2, Future followed up that viral banger with “Move That Dope” from 2014’s Honest and “Same Damn Time” from his debut album, 2011's Pluto. "Drought" elicited a strong reaction from the crowd, which made sense because it’s one of the best tracks from his latest batch of music. But the reaction to those next two was hilarious: The crowd audibly gasped, going nuts as though it was a nostalgic moment and he were playing legitimately old songs. Then again, with seven projects released in the last 15 months, Future's “older” material really does have an ancient quality to it now.
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Future really has his act down pat, evolving beyond the standards of his contemporaries who need 15 to 20 hangers-on by their sides or a hype man or a DJ throwing out ad libs. Instead, Future commanded the stage by himself pacing, dancing and jumping all over it as huge panels displayed music videos and Freebandz graphics behind him. There was also an impressive laser light set up that only went off intermittently. The stage setup gave the performance a grand feeling and Future’s energy matched it — a fact that seemed slightly ironic for someone who raps about his penchant for codeine, percocet and weed.
As healthy and in shape as he appears, it’s a shame that Future wasn’t able to keep up the energy for the full 90-minute set. About halfway through, DJ Esco took things over for a bit in an intermission of sorts. Known for his awkward dancing in Future and Drake’s “Where Ya At” music video, Esco has attempted to become a figure in his own right of late, but he would’ve been better received had he jumped on his turntables and put together a quick mix. Instead he awkwardly danced on stage for 10 minutes to Future songs that he apparently didn’t feel like performing. It was an odd choice and threw off the momentum Future had built.
When Future returned, his energy wasn’t as amped up as it had been, but that was OK because the songs he performed did all the work for him. Tracks like “Jumpman,” “Diamonds Dancin’,” “March Madness” and “Jersey” had the crowd putting their phones in the air trying to capture the moment while rapping back every word.
During the final song of the night, Future announced that there would be an after party at VLive, a new Dallas strip club, which at last explained the unusually early start time. Amusingly, opener Ty Dolla $ign had his own, rival after-party at Sisu in Uptown. More power to them, because if anything is plain to see about Future right now it’s that he’s a business man on a mission to clear as many checks as he can.
Fortunately, the money-chasing hasn't stopped Future from putting out great music and fun shows to match. When he returns in May, who knows how much new material he’ll have to perform. We’ll set the over/under at two mixtapes.