Future’s career in hip-hop is about as long as his history with ink. While getting his feet wet in the rap game during the mid-’00s, the Atlanta native sharpened his lyrical tongue under the guidance of Dungeon Family members, including Goodie Mob’s Khujo, Big Rube, and his cousin Rico Wade.

To pledge his allegiance to the team, Future (born Nayvadius Wilburn) headed to Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood to get the crew’s name inscribed across his forearms at age 18. “It was just my crew. We had built that relationship and that was a way of showing my loyalty,” explains Future, who has since added his daughter’s name, a trumpet, and a pair of hands holding a rosary to his body.

His devotion to Dungeon Family paid off. Over the next few years, the rapper steadily gained his footing in the industry, releasing buzzy mix tapes like 2010’s Dirty Sprite, last year’s Free Bricks with Gucci Mane, and his latest street project, Astronaut Status. Signed to Epic Records in September of 2011, the rugged emcee scored hits, including the anthemic “Tony Montana” featuring Drake, “Magic” featuring T.I., and “Same Damn Time,” he also earned brownie points as co-writer for YC’s smash “Racks.”

But when it came time to release his major label debut, Pluto, in April 2012, Future knew that his star had potential to shine brighter. “I feel like it was one of those albums where people will catch on later, because I understand that with a name like that, it would take a while to go to space. So it takes a while for people to catch up, which is the bottom line,” he says. Future had previously released three mix tape tracks as singles from the record, and only recently delivered an original album cut, “Turn On the Lights.” “People get a chance to look at it in a whole different light. I’m a new artist again. It’s like my first run,” says Future.

He isn’t stopping there. This month, Future returns to his mix tape roots with the double disc Super Future, a prelude to his sophomore album, Future Hendrix, to be released in February 2013. He also plans on starring in and recording the soundtrack for the film LBG, which tells the story of kids who grow up together in a group home. And to commemorate his latest accomplishments, Future is eyeing real estate on his chest to tattoo his company’s name, FreeBandz.

For now, it’s all about taking his skills set sky-higher for upcoming projects. “I just want to show why I’m so different,” he says. “Elevation is growth, so I know I’m growing over a year’s time. The sound is going to be so much broader than Pluto. You’re going to be able to tell the first time you turn it on. You’ll hear the difference.”

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