• “She has every Future song on her iPhone,”shouted the aspiring actress seated across from me. To my right, my friend held a sloppily-rolled joint in his hand and tried not to doze off.To my left, a self-proclaimed friend of Azizi Gibson’s tried explaining why he doesn’t like Young Thug. “He goes too far in his lyrics.”
The actress, her ear-shattering English accent, her two more taciturn, equally attractive friends, and the record industry-approximate dude with befuddling taste in Atlanta rap belonged on the shuttle.I, and my exhausted, stoned friend, both dressed in faded blacks, did not. We were headed to a rambling hillside estate in Laurel Canyon for an event hosted byBacardi and Noisey, enticed by promises of Future and free drinks. The actress’ long-legged friend put DS2 on the shuttle’s stereo.
•The property being labeled “The Harry Houdini Estate”is of very dubious historicity; Houdini would occasionally stay at the property when in Los Angeles, but never made his permanent home there. The original house, owned by friend Ralf M. Walker, burned down in 1959.
•Greeting guests at the bottom of the estate’s winding series of stairswere donation boxes for the Freebandz Coat Drive—to my knowledge unmentioned in any of the promotional materials—and signs which gave partygoers advice from Future. “Invest in your hustle.” My investment advisor claims U.S. Treasury bonds are much safer investments than “my hustle.”
•Future’s hat line debuted at the party.The chapeau appeared to have been influenced by 1960’s Topanga Canyon, Indiana Jones, and Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey.
•Drake makes music forheterosexual males with stubble on their torsos.
•Haley and I were discussing the questionable economic valueof events like the lyrically titled “BACARDÍ’s Untameable Artist Series, produced by Noisey.” Bacardi’s goal is to create social caché by associating the brand with a hip, attractive, and young(-ish) crowd. “Influencers,” in Newspeak. The soft power coercion used on capital-i Influencers to have them Instagram, Snapchat, and Tweet about Bacardi surely can’t be worth the untold thousands of dollar spent on the event, though.
Provided for guests were free parking, shuttles to an undoubtedly expensive hillside venue, unlimited drinks with Bacardi’s own product (Paul claimed to have imbibed six of Future’s “signature drink” the “DS2,” making Paul something like “DS12” if my math serves me.), a besuited security staff, warm-up DJs, a group of abstract dancers, and, most importantly, the appearance fees for DJ Esco and Future. The cost-benefit analysis of hosting a gaggle of ne’er-do-anythings for a half-hour Future set almost certainly skews that calculus toward “cost.”
•I joked with Drew Millard(editor at Vice, and, more importantly, sometime guest on POW Radio) that the crowd was above my tax bracket. He quipped “No, it’s above your influence bracket.” Brutal, and fair. Unlike Future, none of my hoes treat me very important—an accurate reflection of my influence in the media.
•Future’s set was runthrough of hitsfrom DS2 and What A Time To Be Alive (sans Drake), with a smattering of Beast Mode, Monster, and 56 Nights. The material from What A Time To Be Alive received a uniformly warm response, with audience members rapping along to the Drake verses Esco deigned to play. It makes sense that late-career Future is the one Drake’s fans glom onto; the full flowering of Future’s drug intake and nihilistic self-obsession is the mother plant from which Drake derives much of his present persona.
•Esco is a consummate hype man—a skill honed by interminable nights in the booth at Magic City—forever goading the crowd with little phrases. My favorite: “Future hats!”
• “Now you turn your’s on.”On the shuttle back to the parking lot and our latently boring, meaningless lives, I was seated across the aisle from a group of former Cal Arts students with whom I share mutual friends. Dressed in an oversized Spongebob Squarepants sweater, the most Instagram Famous of the gaggle lay stomach to leather bench seat, planted her elbows, and rested her head on her closed fists. For the entirety of the drive, her friends took photos, and used their iPhone flashlights at varying angles and intervals to temper the bus’ colorful kaleidoscopic lasers. To my left, my stoned friend rolled his bloodshot eyes. It was time to go home.
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