Alas! After a month of outlandish memes, viral challenges gone wild and a flute resurgence that had music scholars pontificating on hip-hop's unlikely infatuation with the lamest woodwind of them all, Future has finally dropped a video for "Mask Off." And it's pretty epic.
Like a deleted scene from your favorite apocalyptic thriller, it has everything: burning cars, robbers and looters, masked anarchists, a child oracle and a naked-but-incredibly-poised woman covered in black paint walking down the street. Oh, and Amber Rose in fishnets riding shotgun.
Too over the top? Not for one of the most surprising chart climbers of the year. The song, from the first of Future's back-to-back No. 1 albums released earlier this year, was never intended to be a single, his manager Anthony Selah told me when we spoke a month ago.
"Nobody knew 'Mask Off' was going to be the biggest f****** rap song," Selah said. "I loved the record. I thought it was dope. But I didn't know it was going to be this big." Even before the song's viral explosion, the data provided by streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music let them know the song was rising. "We're now taking 'Mask Off' all the way, globally, we're going for it."
Directed by Colin Tilley (Kendrick Lamar's "Alright"), "Mask Off" the movie goes big indeed. The last time we saw Future rapping on a rooftop, it was atop the famed Atlanta strip club Magic City. The only exotic dancers here are the anarchists, who, obviously quelled by the soothing flute loop, abandon their mission of chaos and disorder near the video's end to become Future's supporting cast. And just like that, the apocalypse is averted. They don't call him Future for nothing.