Just a few days after the release of their collaboration Pluto x Baby Pluto, Future and Lil Uzi Vert are back for more with a deluxe version of the record. As the original tape received mixed reception due to its lack of focus and bloated tracklist, their answer to this was making the expansion have only six songs and a 21 minute running time. Looking to end this era on a high note, can Future and Lil Uzi refine their previous effort?
Keeping things short and sweet, the trap legends are able to make an experience much more focused than their predecessor. “Tic Tac” shows a side of Uzi I wish we heard more as his drugged up songwriting and monotone delivery do their best at serenading a female. Building on this Uzi Vert goes deep into his bag as we see everything from translucent singing on “Heart in Pieces” to dramatic cries on “Because of You”. Going through the rest of the tracklist, the 26 year old rapper shows his dominance as he previews styles for what a possible Eternal Atake sequel could sound like. Whether it’s his climatic self-reflection on “Baby Sasuke” or the lyrical recklessness of “Bust a Move”, it’s clear the Philadelphia rapper’s building on the foundation of the acclaimed sci-fi epic. This flips the roles of their previous offering as Future is more one dimensional and faint here. On each song, it mostly feels like he’s echoing and reinforcing what Uzi already did and not necessarily pushing anything forward. The only cut that feels like his own is “My Legacy”, which strips down to a simple showboating ballad. Even though Future and Lil Uzi Vert work better as a duo here, the new tracks fail to captivate the listener the same way last week’s album did. This leaves the project in a weird state where it’s clear what’s given is not bad, but nothing comes close to the highs of an LP that’s still fresh in many heads.
Sonically, a lot of the vocal sides principles repeat themselves. Most instrumentals are curated to the style of Lil Uzi, and that’s clear from the start of “Tic Tic” as its spacey drums are both engaging and intoxicating. Despite its similarities to previous material from this year, I didn’t mind revisiting the sounds of one of trap’s most groundbreaking records. From the sappy and glitchy “Heart in Pieces” to the chopped up and robotic soul sampling on “Because of You”, nearly every track brought me back to a song of the March released Eternal Atake. For example, “Bust a Move”s binding synths feel like a direct modification of “Futsal Shuffle 2020”, which can be looked out as both a positive and negative. On the one hand, honoring an era that brought in so much success and praise is natural, but blatantly rehashing an LP that hasn’t even been out for a year does appear a little lazy. “Baby Sasuke” was the definite standout as its culmination of the records sounds make for an epic grand finale. As a whole, the soundscape fails to do anything groundbreaking but still manages to be enjoyable nonetheless.
While Pluto x Baby Pluto (Deluxe), ultimately does little to nothing in enhancing the overall experience of the standard version, it’s still one of the few tolerable expanded albums this year. I think this can be attributed to the legit attempt from Hndrxx and Uzi at broadening their vision as opposed to other acts like DaBaby and G Herbo, who added a full-length album’s worth of songs onto their pre-existing works. Moving away from this era, I’m sure both Future and Lil Uzi Vert will continue to build upon their renowned legacies, but as a duo, I’m sure this will be the last time we see them make a joint effort.
- Fun revisit to Eternal Atake era
- Lil Uzi performs way better here
- Future’s presence is near nonexistent
- Not bad, just forgettable
Written by: Marc Dator
Scored and edited by: Marc Dator founder and owner of Fantastic Hip Hop