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Could Future & Juice WRLD Be Trap's Trojan-Horse Advocates For Drug Policy Reform?

Future (right) and Juice WRLD blur the lines between celebration and social critique in three videos.
Future (right) and Juice WRLD blur the lines between celebration and social critique in three videos.

America's full-blown opiate crisis makes absolutely nothing ironic about the title of the recently released collaborative album, Future & Juice WRLD Present... WRLD ON DRUGS. It may not be the first trap album to sonically mirror the effects of our drug-induced mass hysteria, but the execution here is nothing short of addictive.

The duo representing Atlanta and Chicago, respectively, dropped a trio of surprisingly profound videos from the album today, each revealing the downward spiral toward national oblivion.

In "WRLD ON DRUGS," directed by Spike Jordan, the two stars forgo camera time for an unexpected piece of social commentary that highlights the sharp distinction race plays in the nation's unfair treatment and punishment of drug dealing and abuse. "Realer N Realer," directed by Rich Nyce, finds Future and Juice WRLD inhabiting the lower rungs of society — i.e., the trap in all caps — including scenes shot in East Atlanta on the street named for hometown civil rights icon Hosea Williams.

The third visual, helmed by Cole Bennett of the Chicago-based multimedia venture Lyrical Lemonade, turns up the vanity as the two pilot a DeLorean to the middle of nowhere for an apocalyptic take on a luxurious future funded by designer drugs and total desperation. "You didn't see the road we took here was grimy / You don't know everything we been through," Future warbles before they drive off into the sunset. If it's hard to separate the celebration from the social critique, that's exactly the point.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer. An Atlanta-bred cultural critic, he helped document the city's rise as rap's reigning capital for a decade while serving on staff as music editor, culture writer and senior writer for the defunct alt-weekly Creative Loafing.