Future’s intoxicating anthem “Mask Off” thrives in its subtle darkness, fabricating a world centered on the tireless chase of escape.
The song features an unusual flute sample from “Prison Song,” which was composed by Tommy Butler for the 1978 musical Selma about the struggles of the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. The flute part interweaves with the hypnotic chorus to create the song’s driving hook.
The music video, directed by Colin Tilley, places the song in an apocalyptic context that carries political weight. Future, who is accompanied by Amber Rose, drives calmly through a surreal firestorm of destruction, criminality, and gregarious violence. Tilley explained his intention behind the video in an interview with Billboard.
What I wanted to do with it, I kind of always want to stay relevant with everything that’s going on in the world and be able to tie it back to the music, the artist, and everything that’s happening. I wanted to create this really gritty, raw world, but capture it in a really surreal, hyper-realism way. I was really taking this shitty situation that we have with our president and everything going on right now in the world, and taking it two, three years from now, but having Future basically be the puppet master that is controlling everything as he’s moving through this world kind of untouched in this chromed-out car where everything basically bounces off it. I wanted to capture everything off of that car, too. I really wanted to pretty much feel the world from that car’s perspective.
While “Mask Off” is not as outwardly political as a musical about Martin Luther King, the sample of “Prisoners Song” fits with Tilley’s dramatic visualization in the video. Future names off drugs in the hook as usual, but throwing words out there like “Parliament” and “Guillotine” reflects a deeper social consciousness of unrest and violence.
For more, check out Future’s Zumic artist page.