Drake and Future are an odd couple, a duo with differing skill sets that often complement each other but sometimes don’t. They’ve scored classics together. (See: Honest’s “Never Satisfied,” Scorpion’s “Blue Tint,” DJ Drama’s “We in This 1.5,” Lil Wayne’s “Love Me,” FBG the Movie’s “Fo Real,” FUTURE’s “Used to This,” and the best songs from the collaborative album What a Time to Be Alive.) They’ve also made songs that feel like one is carrying the other. With Future around, Drake can have a little gangster cred, as a treat. Future singles can enjoy a wider reach with mainstream music’s top dog along for the ride. Sometimes, the pairing illuminates a qualitative deficit between the two. On DS2’s “Where Ya At,” Drake was a riot trying to match Future’s gravelly vocal tone, but he ate on Pluto 3D’s “Tony Montana” remix (exaggerated accent notwithstanding), leaving a short, memorable verse that marginally edged out Future because the Atlanta artist was a little too deep into his bag of Scarface references. (“I know Sosa!”)
This week, the latest Drake and Future mind meld, “Life Is Good,” sets the two on opposite sides of a two-part beat and side by side in a music video where they dance through different scenes, like the trailer for a buddy comedy. Drake’s intro delivers more of the passive-aggressive, despondent-ruler energy he pivoted to on 2015’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, covering 2018’s dustup with Pusha-T in a pithy one-liner (“Niggas caught me slipping once, okay, so what?”) and setting his audience on notice about the impending follow-up to Scorpion. The beat quickly switches from airy synths to heavy low end for Future’s part, where our patron saint of toxic energy talks trash and flexes on wealth and sexual prowess. It’s energetic and catchy, as most Future songs tend to be at a minimum, but the lack of interplay between rap heavyweights makes it feel lesser to a team-up like Drake and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode,” where the back-and-forth between the two lives on the record as well as in the video.
The video for “Life Is Good” is a laugh because Future clips are usually about the man being impeccably dressed and a little distant. The intentional slapstick here feels new for him. The scenes where he’s required to be a bit of an actor add a secondary level of unintentional humor. Memeable videos are Drake’s bread and butter, so while Future carries the song, it’s Aubrey leading the way in most of the comedic bits here, although tellingly, the clip is most enjoyable at the end where the pair seems to be trying the least. What’s the verdict? “Life Is Good” will go off in clubs thanks to both artists’ Midas touch. The video seems destined to live as a constellation of GIFs. If you need a shot of Future baking a pie, or Drake doing a double-cup toast behind a drive-thru window, or the two of them doing synchronized moves on a glowing dance floor, Saturday Night Fever style, you’re covered. Personally, I wanted a little more.