Backstage at The Wendy Williams Show, Future's team are nervous about his early-morning appearance. It's 8 a.m. in late March and the rapper, who is scheduled to be a guest on the daytime-talk show, is either late or taking a nap. But his group of assistants are all here, including a stylist, who's steaming and organizing a rack of clothes, sneakers, and hats in one of three dressing rooms, and a digital-marketing representative from Epic Records, who will take photos to post to Future's Instagram account. His hairstylist, Shekinah, from T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, flirts with his bodyguard while the rest of us wait.
As Williams' warm-up DJ energizes a studio audience of middle-aged women with cuts from Swedish House Mafia and the Knife Party, the rapper's publicists are setting boundaries with the show's producers about which subjects are off-limits. Although the Atlanta-born musician is soft-spoken with an easy charm, Williams' format isn't much different from a tabloid reporter's celeb-gawking. And since he's currently engaged to Ciara, a very famous singer who also happens to be very pregnant, everyone is a little on edge about the gossipmonger's line of questioning.
That is, everyone but Future. "Oh, they're keeping it tuuuurnt at The Wendy Williams Show? Alright, alright," he drawls, smiling widely as he appears, peering out of a dressing room. "How do I look?"