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WRLD on Drugs may be forgettable, but still worth a listen

This past week, the unexpected duo of rap stars Future and Juice WRLD surprised fans with the release of their collaborative album, “WRLD On Drugs. Fans immediately recognized the potential for the album, famous for its praise of substance abuse and distress from heartbreak. However, neither artist truly captures the respective sounds that have made them so successful in the first place.

By no means is the album unbearable, yet much is left to be desired. Juice WRLD never quite reached the sound from his debut album, “Goodbye and Good Riddance,” that sparked his meteoric rise to hip-hop stardom. The album relied heavily on the theme of sour relationships and self-medication, popular topics in today’s hip-hop.

While good for short-term success, the duo’s album tested WRLD’s sustainability in the upper echelon of rap. Working with another artist forced the young Chicago rapper to expand his horizons, which made for an underwhelming performance that, despite still being respectable, paled in comparison to the hot start that he began his career with.

The album begins with songs such as “Jet Lag” and “Fine China,” in which WRLD uses catchy hooks and simple, well-timed verses to complement his beats. Yet, this diversion from his niche topics that he established with his emotional, drug reliant reputation resulted in WRLD sounding near-devoid of emotion throughout the majority of the songs on the project. When faced with more challenging topics for his songs, WRLD lost a piece of the character heard in his voice that brought him so much early success and left him sounding more generic on this album.

As for Future, his resume boasts a long line of popular collaborations including albums such as “What a Time To Be Alive” with Drake and “Super Slimey” with Young Thug. This collaboration seemed unlikely, given the hype and well-known friendships that have surrounded his joint efforts with other artists.

Future, age 34, seemed to play a mentor-like role in some songs, often having a single verse and thus allowing WRLD, age 19, to showcase both his rapping prowess and his ability to sing his choruses in a melodic yet articulate fashion that sticks in the minds of his listeners, thanks to its catchiness.

Future’s song sans-WRLD titled “Oxy” even falls short of the quality of music listeners are accustomed to from him. Despite a feature from Lil Wayne, the song lacked a strong hook and engaging flow beyond Wayne’s contributions.

The album did have some worthwhile tracks that are signs of optimism for WRLD’s future. “7 AM Freestyle,” “Hard Work Pays Off” and “Ain’t Living Right” were some of the bright spots on the album that are worthy of consideration in your personal music libraries.

The album also featured popular artists such as Young Thug, Nicki Minaj, Gunna and Young Scooter, which makes it a must listen for any of their fans. “WRLD On Drugs” may not be a memorable album that maintains relevance for over a handful of weeks, but it is a solid album that is worth the listen.