Review: Future and Juice WRLD’s Wrld On Drugs doesn’t live up to its potential

The inter-generational collaboration seems like a match made in drug-rap heaven, but it sounds more like a cash-in than the masterpiece it could have been


Rating: NN


Future may be known as the King of Codeine, but newcomer Juice WRLD is trailing closely behind. 

The 19-year-old rapper shot to superstardom earlier this year with a series of pill-, powder- and lean-centric hits. “Lean with me, pop with / Get high with me if you rock with me,” he crooned on his endlessly catchy single Lean Wit Me from earlier this summer. Even if you’ve never tried lean, it’s impossible to not identify with Juice’s infectious melodic drama. What he lacks in lyrical complexity, he makes up for in raw emotion. 

In Future’s music, drug use is a vehicle that exposes his vulnerability and self-awareness: “I’m trying to get high as I can, damn I hate the real me,” he rapped on BEASTMODE 2’s Hate The Real Me

It was only a matter of time before the trap music heavyweights joined forces to make one of the most potentially exciting collaborative projects of the year. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to transform drugs into compelling subject matter on the aptly titled Wrld On Drugs.

The 16-track album includes features from Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Gunna and Young Thug, and deploys all the usual drug references Future and Juice fans have come to expect. A majority of verses explode with cocaine, Percocet and lean references. Over plucky guitar strings, Future brags about calling his plug to sell drugs on Jet Lag, followed by an endearing (if slightly predictable) back-and-forth verse about being astronauts on Astronauts. On 7 Am Freestyle, one-dimensional lyrics are overlaid with minimal triple high hats and 808 drums, creating a watered-down, nearly incomprehensible track that begs to be skipped over. 

There are moments of greatness hidden within Realer N Realer and Hard Work Pays Off, which both deliver relaxed, summery beats and glimpses into the emotional, razor-sharp lyricists that Juice and Future can be. But it isn’t enough to save the album, which sounds more like an attempt at capitalizing on the artists’ fame than the masterpiece it could’ve been. 

Top track: Realer N Realer

Juice WRLD plays RapCaviar Live at Rebel on Monday (October 29). See listing.

music@nowtoronto.com | @claudiamcneilly

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