Before Future earned his status as a certified rap legend and one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the 2010s, he operated under the alias “Meathead” and was associated with the Dungeon Family, a musical collective rooted in Atlanta.
The Dungeon Family, comprising members like Rico Wade (Future’s cousin), Sleepy Brown, and Ray Murray of Organized Noize, along with OutKast and Goodie Mob, played a pivotal role in shaping the distinctive sound of the Dirty South in the ’90s. As time went on, the collective expanded to include other artists such as Witchdoctor, Cool Breeze, Big Rube, Mr. DJ, Backbone, Parental Advisory, Konkrete, Lil Will, and Society of Soul.
In the early 2000s, a young Future, still known as Meathead, started making appearances, catching the attention of Rico Wade, who, being both his cousin and a member of the Dungeon Family, took him under his wing. Wade aimed not only to nurture Future’s musical talents but also to steer him away from street life.
“Rico is like my cousin, but he took me in and played a fatherly role—a cousin, a friend, a CEO. He played so many roles and made sure he was always there,” Future reflected in a 2012 tour vlog.
Wade played a crucial role in reshaping Future’s life. “I took him out of the trap then,” Wade shared. “I wanted him to stay away from the drugs, the hood. I told him, ‘Don’t do that no more. Don’t be that kind of person. I don’t want you to get locked up, and I think you can make a difference.'”
Additionally, it was Wade who bestowed upon Future his current rap moniker. “They say I named him Future, but I just remember that I kept saying he was the future,” the producer recalled. “I had already found OutKast then, I had already found Cee-Lo. But even then, I knew he was special.”
Under Wade’s guidance, Future spent several years honing his craft, gaining experience in the rap game. One of his early writing credits came on Ludacris’ “Blueberry Yum Yum” from 2004’s The Red Light District, a track featuring Organized Noize production and a guest appearance from Sleepy Brown.
While Future laid the foundation for his recording career in the 2000s, it wasn’t until 2010-2011 that he achieved mainstream recognition. Following the release of mixtapes like 1000, Dirty Sprite, and True Story, Future’s breakthrough came with his feature on YC’s hit single “Racks” and the subsequent signing of a major label deal with Epic Records.
Since then, Future has embarked on an unparalleled run in hip-hop history, releasing numerous classic albums and mixtapes. He made history by becoming the first artist with two consecutive albums topping the charts in successive weeks. Over the past decade, Future has not only solidified his place as one of Atlanta’s greatest rappers but has arguably become the most influential hip-hop artist of his generation.
Future: The Dungeon Family’s motto is just always being different. That’s the O.G., legendary wisdom I got from Khujo and Big Rube. I had to dumb my music down to to get the listener’s ear, but now I know where I can come back and take them. I can always come back and take them somewhere, because I’ve got their ear now. Once you’ve got their ear, then it’s time to say something and really give them a message. You relate to the people, and you can touch their heart.
Future Describes Dungeon Family Ties And Purposely “Dumbing Down” His Music | HipHopDX