Pluto x Baby Pluto is an uneven affair, less a successful collaboration than a platform for one ascending rapper to overshadow one feeling the fade.
At first glance, the collaboration between Future and Lil Uzi Vert that birthed the Pluto x Baby Pluto mixtape makes a lot of logical sense — and seems like it should be a mutually beneficial endeavor. Both of the principle rappers’ styles place as much importance on melody as they do dexterous cadences, and both favor glossy trap beats as the production of voice over which to exorcise stories of heartbreak and tribulation. Both even express the emotions of their music, more often than not, through an Auto-Tune’d croon perfectly in sync with their prickly, triple-time rhyme schemes. In the early going of Pluto x Baby Pluto, Future and Uzi match-up well, running through creative boasts about their iced-out accessories or their scores with women, with Future sounding more enthusiastic than he has on other recent projects: When he sings “I got designer all over” on the chorus of “That’s It,” his voice wails with glee like he’s rubbing that gear all over his face. There are even a few tracks, like “Marni on Me,” where the two rappers execute verses that respond to each other almost bar for bar. But as the beats turn more neon and chromatic, it’s hard to deny that Uzi steals the show; he can adapt to a Wheezy or a Zaytoven production without breaking a sweat, and even unlock a whole new persona when he’s paired with Brandon Finessin (one of the architects of his latest solo album, Eternal Atake). In contrast, while the shiny, neo-swag-rap feel of “She Never Been to Pluto” and “Bankroll” should have inspired Future to capitalize on his own strengths, his voice is more often overpowered by Uzi’s. Thus a collaboration with the great promise of chemistry instead plays as a meeting between one rapper on his way to the top and another all but accepting his role as a hanger-on.
Published as part of Album Roundup: Oct. – Dec. 2020 | Part 4.