A retrospective of all the times Uzi danced and made us happy.
Along with eccentric outfits, stage-diving and label drama, dancing has come to be strongly associated with Lil Uzi Vert. This wouldn’t be the case if he weren't one of the only rappers to move so freely, so frequently. You could trace the timeline of his career and encounter clips of him dancing dispersed at various points. Each one made fans fall deeper in love with him. At times, the videos served to promote new music. Other viral videos were extracted from his live performances, capturing him doing what he does while he’s in his element. The best of the bunch might be when Uzi decides to record himself for no apparent reason other than him having a childish impulse to display his talent to whoever’s willing to watch. In light of Uzi’s newly-launched #FutsalShuffle challenge - which calls on fans to show off their best footwork to a snippet of his next single - let’s take a look back at all of Uzi’s most iconic dancing moments that brought smiles to our faces.
Lil Uzi Vert mid-signature shoulder roll at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, 2019 - SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images
If you’re a true supporter, you may have first learned of the Philly rapper’s not-so-hidden talent from a Vine that dates back to 2013. It proves that Uzi was an avid dancer before the fame, as his breakout mixtape, Luv Is Rage, only arrived in 2015. In the chaotic clip set in a kitchen, Uzi ardently pumps it before dropping into a split. He then transitions into a spin that miraculously gets him off the floor. It’s a move that one would expect to demand the caliber of a professional gymnast.
Fast forward three years and Uzi is living in a drastically different world. In 2016, he has more tattoos on his face and he’s being praised as one of the most promising rappers on the come-up. However, the fact that he has more eyes on him than he did when he got down on Vine does not affect his willingness to dance his heart out on camera. A video surfaced online of Uzi going bezerk to a go-go track in what appears to be a hotel room. With each hiccup in the beat, he becomes more consumed in his spastic movements. His homies gas him up as he shimmies, but when one of them shouts, “Fuck ‘em up!”, shit’s taken to the next level. Uzi slams his hat on the ground and drops with it to reveal that he can ALSO break-dance. He pulls off a flare, which elicits an “Oh shit!” from his friend and all those watching at home.
Let’s transport back to a better time when Uzi and Playboi Carti’s bromance was still going strong - before Uzi shared the tragic news a few days ago that they are no longer on good terms for some unknown reason. In 2017, the SoundCloud rap pioneers were often spotted side-by-side and collaborated frequently. A recording of their appearance at a VFILES event in Times Square was shared on YouTube and spawned one of the top #TwitterMomentsOfTheDecade. Uzi served as hype-man while Carti performed “What”, at one point hilariously encouraging his friend to not be shy and go into the crowd. But the bit that was extracted to become a viral clip was when Uzi stood in the background and started doing a sassy shoulder roll. It would come to be known as his signature move, one that led people to bestow him with the title of being the “baddest bitch.” He gave a taste of it in the meme of him performing “Do What I Want” and he still whips it out at shows to this day.
It’s less than a year after Uzi released his debut studio album, Luv Is Rage 2, and fans are already hungry for its followup, Eternal Atake. Uzi was partially responsible for fueling this hunger because he was sharing snippets of unreleased music and, of course, they sounded phenomenal. In June of 2018, he took to Instagram to post a video of him nailing choreography to “New Patek.” While these sorts of videos from other artists tend to have a stench of promotional stunt, Uzi seemed like he genuinely wanted to just show off this dance routine he created. The angle of the camera and the way he stands so miniature in the frame are reminiscent of the awkward webcam videos that kids would upload during the early days of social media. The only flaw of this dance is that he pulled off something a tad too challenging for his average fan to imitate, but at least “New Patek” will always call to mind Uzi smilingly doing the dance himself. After all, it’s not about initiating some viral challenge. Uzi’s just having fun to his own music, which always provides a refreshing departure from self-serious artists.
Uzi must have noticed that his dancing gets the people going (or else it has the byproduct of pressuring his label to release his music) because he shared another self-recorded video shortly after "New Patek" in which he does an elaborate variation of “The Woah.” Since we still haven’t seen the official release of this Working On Dying-produced track, this video sporadically pops up on timelines with people wondering when we’ll be able to dance along too.
It’s 6 AM on November 18, 2019. You roll over in bed, reach for your phone and open Instagram to see Lil Uzi Vert is on IG Live. You wonder what that man could possibly be up to at this godforsaken hour. You click on his icon and there he is, breakdancing alone in a desolate park. There’s no music playing; just Uzi practicing his flare on the cold concrete before the sun has even risen. You thank The Lord for Symere Woods, close the app and start your day in a cheerful mood.
On the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, as people became increasingly irritated by their family members, Uzi came to the rescue. After rehashing some beef and confessing his crush during a tweet-storm, he presented his fans with a gift. He detailed that the next single off Eternal Atake, titled “Futsal”, would be a dance record! To prove that he wasn’t playing, he shared a video of himself dancing to the song. He left the camera on the floor because this particular dance is all about rapid foot movement. He warned that the #FutsalShuffle would takeover in 2020, but it appears the movement is already picking up steam. Even though we only have a 20-second snippet of the song to work with, people are already practicing in various locations and at various times of the day. He’s retweeting those who gave it their best shot and offering them words of encouragement. By the time “Futsal” drops, the whole nation will be shuffling and the ground will be shaking. That’s the impact of Lil Uzi Vert’s dancing.