We just really want a new body of music from Lil Uzi Vert. How bout you?
Remember that Young Thug interview with Clique? The one where he’s sitting outside on the grass, next to an unassuming Frechman, shooting the shit about everything from presidential candidate Donald Trump to that new planet NASA discovered that looks a whole lot like Earth? Of course you do; it’s iconic, much like everything the alien formerly known as Young Thug did in 2015.
In that interview, Thug says that he believes him and Kanye West are both originally from the same block in the same city on this quote-unquote New Earth. Now, in 2018, I think it’s starting to become increasingly clear that Lil Uzi Vert is from the same neck of the woods, sent here to embody the same unbridled rebellious spirit of an early Mr. West or Jeffrey. However, since the chart-topping success of “XO Tour Llif3”, and the subsequent critical acclaim of his studio debut, Luv is Rage 2, it almost feels as if Uzi’s mission is complete and he’s now just aimlessly drifting along.
With every new piercing, tattoo and change in hairstyle, Uzi is beginning to look more and more like that old Thugger we were all mesmerized with. As someone who was initially introduced to the Philly rapper through Thug’s co-sign, shortly before his contributions to Slime Season 2, it’s downright delightful to see the two as close and as happy as ever. But in aping his mentor-cum-confidant’s aesthetics, Uzi also seems to be absorbing some of Thug’s sporadic and oft-detrimental habits when it comes to actually dropping hits. Amidst a months-long psychedelic Instagram antic, Uzi may take some time to chat with a school bus full of children, but his promise that that best music of his and our lives is still on the way seems to be secondary to his current journey of self-discovery.
Most recently, after those aforementioned series of cryptic videos and tweets, the staged hacking stunts gave way to Thugger’s own brand of trolling, which included him ostensibly handing over his Instagram account to Uzi, much in the same way a proud dad cautiously passes down his collection of mint-condition baseball cards to his overeager son. The gimmick was short-lived, with both artists simply teasing new music for a few days before getting bored and reverting back to their day to day.
While all these antics are surely entertaining, I think it’s safe to say that what the fans are really clamoring for is new music, new vibes and new energy from the eccentric young man. But in lieu of a traditional single, the new Uzi music we’ve been receiving has the most unexpected origins: beef.
Amidst a spat with DJ Drama, Rich the Kid chimed in with an I told you so attitude that didn’t particularly thrill Uzi. Instead of letting RTK flex, Uzi sniped back with a scathing, “Boy I’m not signing for 20racks” + an ominous bat emoji. In the following months, Uzi would go on to tag RTK as a real-life crab, and RTK would retaliate by trolling him on Twitter while casting then sacrificing an Uzi look-alike in a music video for his diss song, “Dead Friends”.
Before long, Uzi would hop on G Herbo’s “Who Run It” remix and leak his own powerhouse of a diss, “Rich Forever Leaked.” Rich the Kid essentially brought out the Philly in Uzi - the battle rapper in the young pop sensation - and instead of leaning on his more melodic tendencies, Uzi attacked the “Who Run It” remix and “Rich Forever Leaked” with an innate aggression that’s long-since been sanitized for public consumption. “One of my youngest children just went platinum/Startin' to think he better than my oldest,” Uzi seethes on the former diss track, taking shots not only at Rich the Kid but Offset of Migos, whose own issues with Uzi seem to pre-date Rich’s.
The origins of this beef are clearly more deeply rooted than meets the tabloids. With Rich, Uzi seems to be implying that there may have been some messy situations with ex-girlfriends involved (“You keep showin' me your new bitch/Boy, you're fuckin' on my ex-bitch/She with you for a check, bitch”). And, if we take a second to recall, it was Offset who initially took issue with what he saw as “devil worshipping” amongst youngins like Lil Uzi Vert and Sahbabii. (Neither of those younger rappers seemed to take well to the questioning of their beliefs, or with Offset’s command to, “Get with God."). So where Rich’s jabs were purposefully superficial, belittling Uzi for not being the tycoon he could be, and Offset’s jabs seemed to be stemming for a misunderstanding more than anything else, Uzi’s vicious rebuttals made it clear that here were some hurt feelings here.
By not over saturating the market after getting a taste for the mainstream, Uzi (and DJ Drama and co.) are most likely attempting to solidify Uzi as a generational talent and not a one hit wonder. But with all these recent beefs throwing everyone for a loop, now may be the perfect time to let a new project loose. And with all this culminating in the past weeks with Uzi ultimately pulling up on Rich the Kid for a fair one, at the annual Roots Picnic of all places, what would be more fitting than a sequel to Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World?
The original, released at the top 2016, just a few months after he burst onto the scene with Luv is Rage, was jam-packed with some of Uzi’s biggest hits to date: “Money Longer”; “Grab the Wheel”; “Ps & Qs”; “You Was Right.” Even the minor songs, such as a “Hi Roller” or “Scott & Ramona” became fan favorites before long. If you’re keep track, that means Uzi basically delivered with every song on this concise, 9-track project.
After the extravagant nature of Luv is Rage 2, whose deluxe version brings the tracklist up to a total of 20 songs, a project similar to The World in form and in terms of quality control, would be monumental. With the kind of momentum he has at the moment, there’s real potential here for Uzi to separate himself not only from his contemporaries, but from mentors like Thug who have never been able to pierce through to the mainstream in quite the same way.