Imagine your ex-girlfriend was expecting a child with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Now imagine your ex-girlfriend was Ciara. The rapper Future doesn’t need to take part in this little thought experiment because it is his literal situation. And he is not playing.
Future and Ciara’s hostile estrangement has lasted a whole lot longer than their short-lived engagement. The couple officially got together in 2013 and cemented their union with a duet. But the “Body Party” was over almost as soon as it began, with Future allegedly mistaking their monogamy for…something very different. Faster than you could say “Ciara probably shouldn’t have posed for the cover of Brides magazine,” rumors leaked that the rapper had been getting dressed and undressed with his wardrobe consultant. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before Ciara, by then the mother of Future’s child, took her goodies elsewhere. In 2015, Future’s ex and Seattle’s favorite Seahawk took their lack of relations public. The famously abstinent-until-marriage couple announced their engagement after less than two years together—probably a good call for everyone involved (except for Future).
Any serious breakup is followed by predictable stages of grief. After all the crying and the bad TV comes bitching on Twitter and blowing up your ex’s spot on social media. Give or take a few steps, and eventually you’ll find yourself moving on. Unfortunately for Ciara, Future just can’t seem to get himself to acceptance—he’s stuck in petty mode, and shows no signs of letting go anytime soon. The rapper ultimately gave an interview contradicting their established breakup narrative, claiming that he “called [the engagement] off way before any cheating rumors came out.” He added that he declined to clear the air sooner because he “felt embarrassed for her.” When asked about his ex’s wholesome approach with her new boo, Future replied, “God told me something else. He ain’t tell me to wait. I guarantee you that. We prayed afterwards though. After we did it, we prayed. That’s a true story.”
Next, Future sat down with The Breakfast Club to tell the world how he really felt about Russell Wilson playing daddy with Future Jr. “Of course I wouldn’t want someone pushing my son. Like, that’s the number one rule,” he explained. “You know this dude for a few months and you’re bringing him around your kid? Who does that? Nobody does that.” Of course, a lot of Ciara and Future’s acrimony stems from actual legal issues. In a subsequent Twitter rant, Future cursed out Ciara as a “bitch” with “control problems,” alleging, “I gotta go through lawyers to see babyfuture…the f--kery for 15k a month.” Because no bad tweet goes unpunished, the mastermind behind “1, 2 Step” quickly hit her baby daddy with a $15 million defamation suit, alleging that his accusations were out of line. Adding insult to insult, Future fired back with a countersuit claiming that Ciara wasn’t famous enough to be defamed in the first place, even going so far as to label her last album a “flop.” To his credit, the rapper dropped the case when a judge awarded the couple joint custody.
Nowadays, Ciara is expecting again and just glowing. Meanwhile, Future is pulling a Taylor Swift and mining his heartache for musical material. Hot off his self-titled Future, the rapper has just released his sixth studio album HNDRXX. These two projects are notable for a whole bunch of reasons. Released just a week apart and notably light on features, they showcase an artist at peak productivity. Additionally, the drastic difference in tone between Future and HNDRXX proves once and for all the when it comes to range, Future has it. But while the rapper’s sound is shapeshifting, his single-minded obsession with his ex is something of a constant. As bloggers and fans have been quick to point out, multiple tracks on HNDRXX appear to be taking shots at the R&B star. On “Selfish,” Future and Rihanna commiserate over their broken hearts. While Ciara isn’t overtly called out, it bears mentioning that she and Rihanna had words on social media back in 2011.
But the most incendiary track on HNDRXX is the opener, “My Collection.” In it, Future raps, “She told me she was an angel, she fucked two rappers and three singers,” likely alluding to Ciara’s past relationships with stars like Trey Songz and 50 Cent. “I don’t know how you would feel about me if I ain’t have millions,” he goes on to wonder, adding, “She got a few athletes on speed dial / I’m tryna get the case dismissed before I see trial.” In the song, Future all but confirms that he cheated on Ciara, which makes it even stranger that he’s still set on dragging her so many years later. The chorus boasts, “Anytime I got you, girl you my possession / Even if I hit you once, you part of my collection.” If you’re such a playboy, Future, then why you mad, bro?
In an interview with Zane Lowe and Beats 1 radio, the rapper admitted that one track in particular on the album—undoubtedly “My Collection”—was sure to ruffle feathers. “It might get more attention that I want it to get,” he said. “It might get the wrong attention, it might get great attention. Who knows? I just know it’s a song I feel good about. This is not me holding anything back.”