On Pluto, Auto-Tune ruled his fast rapping, and a synth-driven murkiness overtook even the catchiest songs. Lyrics seemed distant from the savvy and the street. Honest, though, is more directly emotional. "What's funny is, I came up with the title for the album and tried to make the lyrics and the melodies more in tune with that," Future said. "I wanted an album that sounded, frankly, more human."
Future said he learned a lot about himself between records, a feeling he wanted to bring out in Human's sonic and lyrical landscape. "I found out that I am a surprisingly patient person," he said with a laugh. "How to work better as an artist; all the ways in which I can improve myself. Those things were key. There's always room for improvement."
He had originally planned an album titled Future Hendrix, featuring harder guitars, winding arrangements, and icier lyrics. Somehow those tracks morphed into something more blunt - yet friendlier, too, considering that guests such as Pusha T and Pharrell Williams sing on tracks such as "Move That Dope."
"I had that song for a while," Future said, and when producer Mike Weir "put it together with a new hook, he had already been in the studio with Pharrell - and you know that he just gravitates toward fine hooks. It's got that classic feel of an old Star Trak joint [Williams' onetime label] when the Clipse was hot. I wanted that vibe on Honest."
"Special" is the track that most touches Future personally. It emerged from a real relationship. "It takes a special person to take your ambitions and help you bring them to life," Future said. "That's not an easy task, especially when you consider what they might have had to go through first. That's life's transitions, man, good times and hard times and struggles that prepare you for whatever is to come."
Future won't say definitely whether "Special" concerns his hitmaking wife-to-be Ciara, but when congratulated on getting engaged, he says thanks and talks about how great she is.
"I'm just focused on making sure that the tour goes smooth," Future said. "Philly, it's always a treat to be there, where my fans are my friends. And as far as the charts go, I don't sit around worrying. I know we're up there and how high we're up."
At least he's honest.
Future and Rico Love play 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. Tickets: $35 general, $75 VIP. Information: 215-922-6888, www.thetroc.com.