Taylor Swift’s sixth album, reputation, could be the year’s buzziest release — and though it features only two guest appearances, they’re from 2017 commercial powerhouses, Future and Ed Sheeran. Both artists appear on the LP’s second track, “End Game.”
While Sheeran has previously collaborated with Swift — he featured on and co-wrote the Red track “Everything Has Changed” — “End Game” is Future’s first team-up with the pop star. He spouts an energetic (and unusually G-rated) verse, rhyming about his “reputation,” “bad boy persona,” and protecting a lover with his life. Sheeran, for his part, also addresses some of the album’s themes, singing, “For all my flaws, paranoia, and insecurities/I’ve made mistakes and made some choices, that’s hard to deny.”
Future featured Kanye West — who seemingly negatively looms over reputation cuts including “Look What You Made Me Do” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” — on his 2014 song, “I Won,” but the 33-year-old rapper’s collaboration with Swift doesn’t come entirely out of the blue. In a 2016 commercial for Apple Music, Swift jokingly lip-synced Drake and Future’s 2015 hit “Jumpman” — and the song subsequently enjoyed a hearty sales boost.
Swift scored a No. 1 on the Hot 100 with reputation‘s lead single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” and will likely top Billboard‘s albums chart for the fifth time with the new LP. But her collaboration with Sheeran and Future proves game recognizes game. Both stars topped the albums chart this year — in fact, Future did it with two different albums, in back-to-back weeks. And Sheeran and Future also had seismically popular singles on the Hot 100, with Future’s “Mask Off” peaking at No. 5 and Sheeran’s “Shape of You” topping the chart for 11 weeks.
Listen to “End Game” on reputation, available now.