Mexico’s DaFuture Crew Maps a Universe of Chill With New R&B Compilation

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What do you do when you’re a young collective trying to make a statement? Complete your first national tour, get your first press — clearly the next step is to unleash a fresh arsenal of tracks. That’s the model groups like NAAFI and Santa Muerte are using, and that’s what Mexico City/Estado de México crew DaFuture has done with DaFuture is Now Compilation 003, a 14-track monster that features core crew members and further flung associates on the same lineup. It’s a show of depth, certainly, for the up-and-coming producers and rappers among the collective’s ranks.

The compilation is stocked with the laid-back R&B that DaFuture is building a name for — the crew inverts typical remix common sense by laying hyphier genres (see: the baile funk vocals on Libano and Upper’s “Violet”) across lounge beats that never go too far into soul territory.

I never knew I had space in my life for a sleepy remix of Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps,” but after hearing Guadalajara’s Phynx go in with a soft touch, I’m not mad. Yung Abe’s “Lightning” and Macross 82-99 and Lotus Cloud’s “Back At It” are two standout tracks, high-energy hits amidst the chill. None of this is to say there are no club moments on the compilation. Facy Sedated, Italy’s Android Apartment, and Shidoshi and Upper throw in songs that would be properly illuminated by a disco ball, or the flashing LED of a Dance Dance Revolution arcade game.

There’s a cornucopia of vibes here. But DaFuture is attempting to establish itself as a label rather than a single group of cohesive artists, so that breadth does have some precedence. We’re living in a brave new era in music production and distribution — you gotta get creative with your presentation if you want to ensure that you stick on the playlist.