Another week, another collaborative album between two hip-hop artists. Whereas previous joint ventures by JAY-Z and Kanye West, Quavo and Travis Scott, and Lil Wayne and T-Pain all came after the duos created a history of music together, today's co-stars, Future and Juice WRLD, are a first-time union. With the skyrocketing popularity of Juice WRLD, especially following the success of “Lucid Dreams,” and Future’s solidified status as trap music’s favorite, Future & Juice WRLD Present... "WRLD ON DRUGS". The Atlanta-Chicago connection show promise together; the signs of musical compatibility that make me hopeful.
1. "Jet Lag" ft. Young Scooter
Future is singing about acquiring drugs with the joy of a mother singing about her newborn. An interesting beat to open the album with. It’s messy; the chords and these drums are clashing. Juice rapping with Future doing ad-libs is a joy. I’m happy to hear him rapping from the start. "Jet Lag" is awesome, but production could be better. I like Juice’s cadence. Scooter said rappers are fake because of their fake chains and he’s probably right. I need to peep whatever tape Scooter put out last; the features he’s given Future this year have all been good.
Finally, astronauts have an anthem. This is more like it. Nice keys, nice bounce. The two are doing the fusion dance across this beat. I like the seamless mic pass back and forth. The Boondocks line was solid. And Future is talking about having blood in his eyes. It’s What a Time To Be Alive all over again. Future tends to turn in his best verses for collab tapes. He is sounding strong out the gate. I’ll run this back.
3. "Fine China"
On first listen, I definitely thought Juice WRLD was Swae Lee. “Fine China” sounds like a Sremm record that would’ve fit in somewhere between the first two albums. I’m not in love with Juice’s vocal pitch on this record, but I do like how annoyingly catchy it is. Future comes in very passionately. The two have a good energy. I like the contrast of their vocal textures. A very short effort from Hendrix. I see hit potential here.
4. "Red Bentley" ft. Young Thug
Future speaks. Murda Beatz drop. The drums did not let Nas down. “Red Bentley” is the subtle thrill of whipping an expensive foreign car through American traffic with no regard for anyone's safety or well-being. Thugger entered with a Mortal Kombat bar, and I’ve found my early favorite. Slime did not phone it in. Juice was suddenly summoned. You can tell he’s a student of Future. Rumble, young man rumble. Their hair is gold and their eyes are green on this one. A keeper.
5. "Make It Back"
The first solo record begins with Juice WRLD reflecting on being Xan high in high school. A filthy beat, like a spacey playground of muddy shoes. I like the melodic cadence a great deal. Not bad, not bad. I’ll play again.
6. "Oxy" ft. Lil Wayne Future and Lil Wayne
This is their second collaboration this year. The pitch on Future’s voice is hilariously absurd. The astronaut delivered his verse from Cloud 9. There’s been a bounce to Wayne’s flows lately. Future sounding like he sucked in helium and recorded himself singing into wall mount fan. This worked well once but hearing him try a similar style isn’t as appealing, though. Bizarre isn’t the word. Regular-voice Future returned just to say he has a lot of drugs.
7. "7 AM Freestyle"
Juice said it’s 7 a.m. and they've been sipping all night. Wheezy drop. This is a real freestyle. It sounds like two artists in the booth just going back and forth. If it wasn’t for the beat I would be on the fence. I wish Juice spit the same bars from his Tim Westwood freestyle.
8. "Different" ft. Yung Bans
I love the shortness of these records. I wonder how many of them were done in one take. Now, this is an interesting beat. Future sounds like he dipped his vocal chords in the double cup before singing. The bass is disgusting. SO MANY DRUG REFERENCES. Yung Bans snapped and Juice came in with his lighter full of fluid. The song title is right—it’s different—but I like this one.
Loving Future’s vocals. Yep, we might have us one that could go. I can see "Shorty" getting repetitive, but the production and their melodies are an instant win. They are truly in sync, no Justin. These kicks! You have to shoot dance with your significant other to this one. Barely two minutes. But I like a lot.
10. "Realer N Realer"
Juice WRLD’s presence has Future appearing over some interesting trap sounds. Not completely outside of his norm, but different compared to his recent releases. Another keeper. Loving the up-tempo. Juice is going apeshit on the monkey bars. There's so much personality in this production. The line about turning a stripper into a maid and bringing magic to the crib is a bar. This would’ve been my pick for the first single but they didn't ask me. It’s trap with a touch of that pop magic.
11. "No Issue"
These two have been talking about falling out of love with Xanax for 11 songs. But still, they pop. How many drugs were present during this studio sessions!? The guitar, vocal sample, and drum pattern are all doing it for me. This is probably the oddest-composed beat these two have rapped over. Juice mentions Future a lot, which tells me a lot of his verses were done on the spot. Authentic. The second verse is Future sounding like a tired turtle rapping in slow motion. The song is strange but a nice change from the norm.
12. "WRLD On Drugs" The title track.
The guitar loop builds up nicely. Would have preferred different drums. I like what this could’ve been. Future and Juice sound good together. It’s solid. Catchy hook.
13. "Afterlife" A solo Future record.
Production is mellow, quite soothing. I like this. “I’m a product of the field I’m just in my disguise” is in the running for my favorite bar thus far. Did he record this during the session for this album? It’s so good! Every bar is a bar. “I’ve done birthed a lot of lil' niggas, I’m their father” and he isn’t lying. Keeper.
14. "Ain't Living Right" ft. Gunna
Not really into Gunna's verse but he’s floating something serious. Juice comes in with a nice switch-up. I’m worried about all the parties involved in the making of this album. I don’t think lean is to be chugged, Juice. “I don’t sell drugs, I cop them” is the most 2018 rap lyric yet. I wish Future had a verse. Eh, someone edit and loop the hook for me.
15. "Transformer" ft. Nicki Minaj
Nice beat, nice tempo. Nicki came in with flavor. I like her vocal tone and flow. Overall good performance from Nicki. I’m not totally let down by this. A few lines fell flat, but it was an album-worthy performance.
16. "Hard Work Pays Off"
Juice will become a featured guest who rappers call on to perform the chorus. Write this down. He has the voice and melodies. But I wish this was a Future solo song. This beat is tailored for him. “I been traumatized before but still I’m not afraid,” and the cries for help continue. I don’t have any intentions of hearing that first verse again, but Future delivered.
Summary of "WRLD ON DRUGS"
"WRLD ON DRUGS" is overall a great album more so on Juice WRLD's part. The vocal contrast between Future, Juice WRLD, and the personality-filled trap production creates a vibrancy that’s far more bright than bland. The album cover, illustrated by Paper Frank, is a perfect representation of the drug-inspired content that these two focus a majority of their track list about. Two rapper-singers sharing their struggles with substance abuse contrasted so rich with color, fits amazing. Importantly, Future and Juice WRLD are comfortable sharing songs together. You can easily tell through their lyrics that they enjoy each other's presence and might possibly have more songs coming in the future. There’s a chemistry between the two creative strangers that forms a natural connection. The balance makes for some interesting and noteworthy production through the album. Future and Juice WRLD had the right idea deciding to join forces. "WRLD ON DRUGS" provides a high satisfaction rate for me.