Two hip-hop legends, Bun B and Soulsonic Force’s Mr. Biggs, anchor a harrowing and breathless exploration of American racism and violence in a new short film, The Future is Mine.
“The Future Is Mine” is an eight-minute opus that covers Columbus’ arrival in the Americas through the end of slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, the election of Donald Trump, the white supremacist march in Charlottesville and the recent police killing of George Floyd. Bun B and Mr. Biggs draw on all this history in their cutting bars and the righteous hook repeated throughout the track, “We try to douse the fire, it continues to burn/Like the Boogie Down Bronx, it continues to burn/Like that cross in the yard, it continues to burn/Can’t you see the fire, it continues to burn.”
Bun B and Mr. Biggs crafted The Future Is Mine with legendary hip-hop producer, John Robie, who worked with Mr. Biggs on several seminal Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force records, including Planet Rock. Another key player in the project was Michael Zilkha, who revived his celebrated label, ZE Records, to help release the song and video.
“Having the opportunity to record with some of the originators of the culture, from the musical aspect as well as the lyrical, brings my love for hip-hop full circle,” Bun B tells Rolling Stone. “I’m so honored that Michael Zilkha asked me to record with John and Biggs on something that not only harks back to the earliest days of hip hop sonically but also speaks to the national conversations happening today about race in this country.”
Along with producing The Future Is Mine, Robie directed the short film. He pulled together an array of archival photos — provided by Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss — and paired them with new animations and sequences featuring a troupe of 24 dancers choreographed by J Lyn Thomas.
“We have reached a pivotal point in history where artists not only have an incredible opportunity but a responsibility to use their talents to raise awareness and provoke change,” Robie says. “An aggressively old-school jam whose production was purposely meant to fit into a self-penned musical set in the Eighties became transformed by a covenant that Biggs and I have had for many years, to bring meaning and message back into music. To create something turbulent, timeless and timely. And when Bun B graciously joined forces with us to help spread the word, just like the movement to end racial inequality itself, there was no stopping us.”
Zilkha adds: “The song itself offers a dark history lesson, but the film John directed transforms it into a work of anger, hope and even joy. Houston has been my home now for 34 years and it is an honor to have worked on this project with fellow transplants Bun B, and photographers Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss.”