Quick disclaimer: I’m not a die-hard Future fan. I am not part of the Hive. And, while I definitely enjoyed binging on hours of footage of musicians sharing their renditions of “Mask Off,” I wasn’t as equally enthused to listen to hours of music from the rapper’s 2017 projects, HNDRXX and Future, which he dropped only weeks apart from each other. (Seriously, why did we need two albums?)
If you’re familiar with anything about “hives” in the music industry, namely Beyonce’s tribe of religious (sometimes vicious) followers, the thought of entering another artists’ nesting grounds seemed a little frightening. And the swelling line outside of the venue more than two hours before Future was set to hit the stage was pretty intimidating in both size and its deafening volume of cackling, cat-calling and regular conversation.
Yet, over the course of the four-hour show, any doubt or inhibitions I had built up about Future and his Hive instantly came crashing down. Sorry, Bey, but the FutureHive just might be the greatest fanbase out there right now. They not only showed mad love for the ATLien (without threatening to kill anyone who opposed him), but they also transcended his show from a simple trap concert to a full-on rock n’ roll extravaganza.
Of course, if you only look at the headlines following the event, which reported seven shots fired into a crowd shortly after Future performed his last track, you wouldn’t even be putting his fans in a category with the BeyHive. But let’s be clear: the series of events leading up to that shooting or fight have not yet been verified, so there is no argument there.
Thanks to Stoli Vodka, who housed VIBE in its private suite in celebration of the summer launch of its refreshing, new line of Stoli Crushed spirits, it was possible to get a good landscape of the entire arena. The positioning in the venue was especially great because it didn’t take much maneuvering to get a good view of Future rising from a trap door in the stage and the faces of crazed fans jumping up and down in various sections nearby.
Future is a rockstar, or at least that’s how his fans treat him. It was actually kind of bananas to witness the mayhem instigated by Future doing a simple high kick or a shake of his dreads. Young women in heels were screaming uncontrollably, while grown men that had to be in their early twenties and up were literally storming down the stairs so they could get just a tiny bit closer to the stage. “Let me see how many of my die-hard Future fans we got in here,” he declared. “How many of ya’ll have Dirty Sprite 2? If you do, put your 2s up in the air.” Peace sign after peace sign shot up in the sky in solitary with his 2015 album. It looked like more people held up twos in that show than fans have ever held up their cellphone lights back in the day, and they kept them up through songs like “Stick Talk,” “F**k Up Some Commas,” and “Freak Hoe.”
— Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) May 20, 2017
Hendrix definitely plays the part of a Jimi or a Lenny Kravitz too. In addition to donning a luxurious white jacket with fringe details, a pair of patterned pants and a Gucci belt to match, the rapper also incorporated intermissions into his set. For many, that may be understandable since he was essentially going through song after song—”March Madness” to “Wicked” to “Jumpman”—but it was a little unusual, considering the fact that he isn’t a singer. It was as if he needed to rest his vocals for the next go around, but his fans were totally here for it. In fact, the party didn’t stop with his absence. Instead, most of the Hive kept going, re-watching Snapchat videos and mouthing along to the words. A small group of three or four girls standing in front of the suite even started twerking while singing the chorus to “Love Me,” the 2014 anthem that Future featured on with Drake and Lil Wayne.
My fans make it all worth it…biggest blessing ever,LOYALTY! Hendrix
— FUTURE/FREEBANDZ (@1future) November 20, 2016
With a new, breathable outfit on, he returned to the stage for the final performances of the night. Of course the night had to end with his No. 1 track, “Mask Off.” Disappointingly however, he was not accompanied by his flutist, but the Hive even took care of that. On stage, Future took a shot at some choreography of his own, two-stepping with back-up dancers on both sides of him. And in the audience, a number of people were air-playing fake instruments while others were spitting the lyrics. The mock band practice came to an end when Future said a final farewell and thank you to his still energized show-goers.
No one can take away Beyonce’s showmanship. By far, she knows how to put on a memorable night, from choreo to stage props. Her fans even amaze her with their singing chops and homemade posters. But even with all that being said, the FutureHive will shut a venue down and give the BeyHive a run for their money.
— Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) May 20, 2017