Zachary Beck knows what he wants out of life. As Arizona rapper Futuristic, he yearns to fill mid-size theaters and sell millions of records worldwide.
He’s not far from achieving that, thanks to a strong DIY work ethic.
“I’ve always had multiple hustles and I’m always grinding for what I want,” says Futuristic, a McClintock High School graduate. “I’ve gotten what I’ve expected.”
With 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 118,000 on Twitter, Futuristic shows what could be ahead for the Arizona rap scene. He is scheduled to perform Sunday, October 22, during Lost Lake Festival at Phoenix’s Steele Indian School Park. Headliners include The Killers, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer and Odesza.
Futuristic has two albums coming out, and chose not to reveal much more about them. His Arizona Mills store, Guest List, focuses on men’s and children’s styles. His portfolio also boasts a recording studio and a few artists under his wing.
“It’s really fun,” he says. “I like business as much as I like music. It’s just as exciting as music.”
Inspired by Will Smith, Ludacris, Eminem and Busta Rhymes, Futuristic, 26, has been rapping since he was 6 years old.
“My family’s in music,” says Futuristic, who moved from Illinois to Tempe in high school. “My pops is a drummer. My older brothers —one’s a drummer/guitarist/bassist. My other older brother raps. My little brother plays drums. From a very young age, I was always around music.
“When you’re in a house and it’s there, you do music without even thinking.”
He knew he was on the right path when he sold out the former location of Club Red in Mesa.
“It was just crazy,” he says. “I was backstage talking on the mic before I went on and everyone went nuts. They knew every word. It was a 500-cap (capacity) room, the old Club Red. It was nuts to me that it sold out.
“It’s always tight, especially when it first starts happening. When it happened in other cities, people knowing all the words, it was like, ‘Damn.’”
In fall 2015, he was featured on A Great Big World’s single, “We Hold Each Other,” which allowed him to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Shortly thereafter, he released a joint album with friend Devvon Terrell, Coast 2 Coast, which sold more than 30,000 copies and hit No. 2 on the iTunes chart.
Until recently, Futuristic limited his team to a manager, and now has booking agents. He was featured in Forbes magazine, an impressive feat not only for a rapper, but for an independent artist.
“It’s definitely been a lot of hard work,” he says. “Literally, it’s been hard work being creative. You have to come up with new ways of introducing yourself to people.”
Futuristic has toured for the last three years. He spent this summer traveling North America as part of the Warped Tour, a production that hosts few rappers.
“It’s like glorified camping in a way,” Futuristic says with a laugh. “There are 60 bands on every day. You figure they have 10 people with them. At the end of the day, you want to shower and there are only five showers. Stuff like that. You have to walk a mile to get to a good bathroom.”
This year, Futuristic released a handful of non-album singles including “Wave” and “Epiphany” (featuring NF), both of which fared well. He admits it’s the least amount of music he has released in a year, opting instead to “live real life.”
“I had been going nonstop,” Futuristic says wistfully. “I moved back from L.A., bought a really dope house and got a car — things I’ve never done before. This year has been dope. My little brother lives with me now. It’s fun to be back around family and friends.”
He promises the new music will be different, and describes the tracks as “positive” and “inspirational.”
“It’s not the braggadocios fast raps that I used to do,” Futuristic adds. “I think it’s just about growing. When you grow as a person, your music has to grow with you.”
He doesn’t, however, want his career to grow as wildly as his business and life ventures.
“I don’t want to be Drake big or Justin Bieber big,” he says. “I don’t want to be so big where I can’t do anything. I want to be able to go around the world, sell out 5,000-cap rooms, have other artists under me who are successful.
“I want to help other artists in Arizona come up and do the same thing. I want my clothing line to be successful. I want to do everything. I want to help my community and help my family and do what I love to do every day.”
Lost Lake Festival, Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, lostlakefestival.com, times TBA Friday, October 20, to Sunday, October 22, $89.50 for single-day general admission tickets, $224.50 for VIP single-day tickets. See website for ticket packages.