Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Favorite Track: "Million Dollar Play" Least Favorite Track: "Bought a Bad Bitch"
The song “Seven Million (feat. Future)” off of Lil Uzi Vert’s 2016 mixtape The Perfect LUV Tape has long been my favorite trap song of all time. The wavy and psychedelic beat is strikingly brilliant, Future’s chorus exerts unmatched energy, and Uzi’s verses are witty, fun, and full of life. Until my introduction to this song, I was essentially a rock purist, akin to some sort of boomer complaining about the “new music these days”. On this track, it was apparent the two had admiration for each other, dropping mutually fantastic performances and oozing chemistry that pulled me right in. I then spent the next few months delving deeper into trap rap discographies and becoming increasingly immersed in the simple yet effective trap music formula.
In 2020 with the release of the deluxe edition of Eternal Atake, Future and Uzi collaborated again on the track “Wassup”. This track, while not necessarily bad, completely failed to live up to the sheer chemistry that Uzi and Future had displayed in the past. A few months later, Uzi and Future announced their upcoming collaboration album Pluto x Baby Pluto. While I was skeptical regarding the quality of this album given mediocre teasers and the downgrade in quality on “Wassup”, I remained optimistic for Uzi and Future to come through with a song half as fantastic as “Seven Million”.
Pluto x Baby Pluto, although a perfectly fine trap album, is not nearly as fun or charismatic as I had hoped. In a lot of cases, the production is relatively bland, the performances from Future and Uzi are flat-out boring, and most notably, there is little to no much chemistry present throughout this LP. As I was listening to Pluto x Baby Pluto, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the collaboration album from Juice WRLD and Future in 2018, WRLD On Drugs. This album was in heavy rotation for me when it came out, but I never really realized why I found it so intriguing. I was not a fan of either artist in particular at the time, but something about this mixtape felt so gripping to me. After the release of Pluto x Baby Pluto and my frustration with the lack of chemistry on the album, my reason for loving WRLD On Drugs became clear; their chemistry was impeccable. Tracks like “Shorty” showed Future and Juice matching each other’s styles perfectly, changing from trap banger to lowkey, psychedelic rap cut at a moment’s notice. This chemistry and the lack thereof is what makes or breaks a collaboration album, and Pluto x Baby Pluto fails to provide the chemistry needed to create a compelling listen.
The album starts off relatively dull, with the first few tracks “Stripes Like Burberry” and “Marni on Me” throwing a couple mildly catchy hooks about flexing and designer clothing into the mix, but really not offering much else. The former does have a pretty bouncy beat, with some cool but clunky lead melodies floating around in the background, but the bass and drums are a little overpowering in the mix and overtake the somewhat interesting melody quickly. “Drankin N Smokin” is easily one of the better cuts on here instrumentally. Future’s flow and vocal performances are pretty good here and Uzi’s verse on the latter half of the track is quite smooth, but the lyrics across the track are borderline cringy. Lines like “It kinda turn me on the way she lickin’ on my stones” and “She called me Messiah the way I floated in her ocean” really distract from the somewhat plucky and sweet guitar lead that makes the song an otherwise enjoyable listen.
Although I generally was disappointed, the album is not without its highlights either. “F-Off Dat” sounds like a classic Uzi song through and through, with the super bouncy bass and snappy lead melody leaving plenty of room for Uzi to pull off flows reminiscent of his first few mixtapes. Future’s performance on the track is also quite impressive, weaving in and out of the chorus at the end after delivering a super aggressive verse that stays fairly captivating the whole way through. “I Don’t Wanna Break Up” is a bit more sentimental as the title would suggest, and Uzi pulls out all the stops on the chorus vocals here. The beat is fast but his hook remains smooth and somewhat sad, throwing in small details about the slow deterioration of a relationship that are quite emotionally potent. “Million Dollar Play” is probably my favorite on Pluto x Baby Pluto due to the super well produced instrumental. There are a plethora of layers to this track, and even though on the surface it seems like a basic piano melody with typical trap drums, there is an interesting use of clashing hi-hat patterns and a serene flute in the background too. Despite the track detailing gun violence and the chorus essentially being a chant of “Shoot it up, shoot it up, shoot it up”, the track is still very groovy and danceable.
Overall, Pluto x Baby Pluto was rather disappointing. I have never been a superfan of Lil Uzi Vert or Future, but there is generally a pretty quality output from each artist respectively. This project manages to feel less like a continuation of the spunky trap music chalk-full of personality usually exhibited from the two, and instead, they manage to cancel each other out and provide a sound that is quite generic as a holistic collection of tracks. With Pluto x Baby Pluto, I did not find the chemistry-filled trap wonderland I had hoped for; instead, I came out the other end with a few highlights and a hope that Uzi and Future manage to come through with more personality-filled projects in the future.