×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Future Tackles the Influential ‘SuperFly’ Soundtrack With ‘No Shame’

The rapper executive-produced the remake's companion album.

Remaking “Super Fly” was never going to be without its perils. The 1972 film, directed by Gordon Parks Jr., was one of the essential building blocks of the decade’s Blaxploitation movement, and first-time feature helmer Director X surely had his hands full balancing nods to the original while also updating his film for 2018 Atlanta. But however much the film had to live up to, the music was a whole other matter. Featuring songs by Curtis Mayfield – the title track, “Freddie’s Dead” and “Pusherman” chief among them – the original soundtrack to “Super Fly” is among the most canonical works of film music ever released.

While the new “SuperFly” does feature a few key reprises of Mayfield’s tunes, a more modern touch was provided by the prolific rapper Future, who executive produced the remake’s soundtrack. Serving as a new Future release in everything but name, 10 of the album’s 13 tracks feature the eccentric Atlanta native, helped along by appearances from Young Thug, Lil Wayne, Miguel, H.E.R. and 21 Savage.

Relaxing in the break area of a Hollywood recording studio, Future – who is also credited as a producer on the film – says he knew he was stepping into a potential trap when he took on the project. “At the beginning I was very nervous, because it’s the foundation for a lifestyle, for a culture,” he says of Mayfield’s music. “It’s an all-time favorite, for everyone home that I know. It means so much for me, and even before I was born it was a classic.”

Which is not to say that he was overawed by the film’s legacy. Asked when he saw the original “Super Fly” for the first time, he goes quiet for a minute, seemingly lost in thought.

“I think they probably had it playing in the hospital room,” he says, finally. “Yeah, I feel like it was on TV when I was born.” Striking a kung-fu pose, he raises his pitch to a Mayfield-esque falsetto. “I came out super fly!”

“Superfly” was shot at a breakneck pace, and Future developed the soundtrack at a similar clip; he estimates it came together in roughly a month. “I pretty much just worked on records alone as they were filming the movie, but Director X was very vocal as far as sending emails and everything,” Future says. “He gave me the script, and he’d come by the studio to show me certain scenes that were already filmed that needed music.”

Much like Kendrick Lamar’s work on the “Black Panther” soundtrack, Future sought to balance his own style with nods to the film’ themes, weaving in touches of ‘70s soul alongside plenty of harder-edged hip-hop cuts that could have easily appeared on his previous studio efforts. The album sees Future’s onetime mentor Sleepy Brown provide a vintage hustler’s theme song with “If You Want It,” and its first single, “No Shame,” is easily the bluesiest cut in the rapper’s catalog: boasting an assist from PartyNextDoor, the song surrounds Future’s signature Auto-Tuned pharmaceutical raps with a slow, slinky funk bassline and an Eddie Hazel-style guitar solo.

“I want to be able to take my music, keeping that same Future sound, but feel like I grew and matured in a way where I didn’t lose the connection,” he says. “I wanted the music to go both ways, and when I called Sleepy Brown, it was because I knew the type of music he made would be perfect.”

Speaking of “No Shame”: “The music just sounded magical. Certain things you just wait patiently and it falls right into place. For [my part], ‘No Shame’ was pretty simple because the beat was there, the vibe was there. I pulled up to the studio, they played the record, and I was like, ‘This is perfect for the soundtrack.’ I just went in and freestyled – it probably took me two or three minutes.”

Alongside Future’s contributions, score composer Josh Atchley of Hans Zimmer’s custom score company Bleeding Fingers tried to zig where the rapper zagged, leaning heavily on improvised percussion instruments (upturned trashcans, plastic buckets, soda cans), gospel vocals, and backwards guitars.

“What we quickly understood was that Future would bring the hip-hop aesthetic and the street cred to this movie,” Bleeding Fingers president and CEO Russell Emanuel says. “So our role was to help the storytelling while being respectful to the genre.”

Atchley says he took aesthetic inspiration from Trevor Jackson’s lead performance as Priest when plotting his approach to the score. “Priest kind of gave off this Prince vibe to me for a minute, so I thought electric guitar would be good, but I decided to use it backwards, and use that as his theme,” he says. “I would play guitar over the whole scene, then go back, cut out little snippets and reverse them.”

As for Future, he says he enjoyed his first venture into film music “more than I expected,” but plans to get back to his usual business before talking on another.

“Yeah, I would definitely do [a film] again, it’s just gotta happen in an organic way,” he says. “I’m not trying to force anything. I wasn’t trying to force this soundtrack, it just happened. So I couldn’t say off the top of my head where my interests would lie. Because we’re complete with the soundtrack, so now my headspace is totally in Future Hendrix mode… the experience… part two… overload… over-extravagant… impeccable… astronomical… life-changing.”

More Music

  • mike-posner

    Album Review: Mike Posner's 'A Real Good Kid'

    From the tone of such hits as his 2010 debut “Cooler Than Me” and 2015’s  “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” singing, songwriting pop-hop beardo Mike Posner had a seemingly breezy take on life, love and responsibility. If you could have squeezed together the two Justins — Timberlake and Bieber (Posner has written for the latter) [...]

  • neyla pekarek

    Neyla Pekarek on Leaving the Lumineers and Her 'Women-Empowering' Solo Debut

    “I feel really liberated to be releasing my own record and my own music,” says cellist and singer Neyla Pekarek, who, in October, announced her departure from folk band the Lumineers. Now signed to S-Curve Records as a solo artist, her debut album “Rattlesnake” drops Friday. “I would definitely call this record a feminist record, a [...]

  • Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most

    Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most Outrageous Moments

    It is perhaps only fitting that two documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, one of the most high-profile fraudulent failures in history, would arrive during the same week — a fitting cap on a tragicomedy of errors that, as both films outline in excruciating detail, unfolded like a slow-motion plane crash in the spring of [...]

  • Oscars Predictions 2018 Illustration

    Academy Awards: Final Oscar Predictions in All Categories

    Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Below are In Contention’s final predictions in all 24 categories. Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” lead the way with 10 expected nominations apiece, while we forecast eight for Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” and seven each for Damien [...]

  • Nick Redman

    Nick Redman, Documentary Filmmaker and Soundtrack Producer, Dies at 63

    Nick Redman, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, award-winning soundtrack producer and co-founder of the Twilight Time video label, died Thursday afternoon, Jan. 17, at a Santa Monica Hospital, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 63. He was nominated for an Academy Award as producer of the 1996 documentary “The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage,” [...]

  • Nicky Jam Bad Boys

    Reggaeton Star Nicky Jam Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Reggaeton sensation Nicky Jam is set to join the cast of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s upcoming “Bad Boys” sequel, “Bad Boys for Life.” Jam, who will play one of the villains in the Sony pic, joins series newcomers Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, DJ Khaled, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano will return [...]

  • Henry James Mason R Kelly Manager

    R. Kelly's Former Manager Turns Himself in on Threat Charge

    R. Kelly’s former manager has turned himself into Georgia authorities on a charge of threatening a man who alleges that Kelly has indoctrinated his daughter into a sex cult. Henry James Mason, 52, is accused of threatening to harm Timothy Savage, who was prominently featured in the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.” Savage alleges that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content