Philadelphia's rapper Symere "Lil Uzi Vert" Woods,
a fan of goth-rock star Marilyn Manson,
debuted with the semi-melodic and autotuned emo-rap of the
16-song mixtape Luv Is Rage (2015) where he couples a voice capable
of sculpting a mood with experimental trap productions.
His quintessential emo-rap is perhaps Right Now, wrapped in Sonny "Digital" Uwaezuoke's ominous drones, followed by the drugged singalong 7am over Don "DP Beats" Paschal's acrobatic beats.
But even more creative are two songs produced by the duo FKI (Trocon "FKi 1st" Roberts Jr. and Steven "Sauce Lord Rich" Bolden): the languid Nuyork Nights at 21 and the anemic cinematic Wit My Crew x 1987 that halfway almost detours into neosoul (also produced by FKI).
His pop-trap hybrid got refined on the nine-song mixtape Vs the World (2016), in particular the singles Money Longer
(produced by Don Cannon and Jamaal "Maaly Raw" Henry)
and You Was Right (produced by Leland "Metro Boomin" Wayne),
collaboration with Playboy Carti,
Left Right, the most conventional dance music on the tape.
The song that was reminiscent of the experiments of the first album is the
ghostly African chant Scott and Ramona (produced by Ebony "WondaGurl" Oshunrinde).
An elegant compromise between the two sides of Vert is Ps & Qs
(produced by Don Cannon), where the voice drifts over eerie and almost clownish synth sounds.
The danceable side of his project was also represented by the single
Buy It (2016), produced by Xavier "Zaytoven" Dotson, whereas his
more introverted and experimental side yielded his signature song,
the chant of desperation XO Tour Llif3,
off the EP Luv Is Rage 1.5 (2017).
Then came the full-fledged conversion to commercial emo-rap on the
overlong album Luv Is Rage 2 (2017).
The center of mass shifted towards the more conventional, danceable
The Way Life Goes (produced by Don Cannon, one of his signature songs),
Neon Guts (produced by Pharell of the Neptunes),
which, by the standards of his earlier recordings, are jovial music.
The attention is clearly on the propulsion and less on the atmosphere:
Don Cannon's Sauce It Up and
WondaGurl's Feelings Mutual are designed to make people jump,
Production and rapping are a bit more nuanced in Maaly Raw's 444+222.
On the other hand, Metro Boomin and Pierre Bourne are wasted in X.
And that's the biggest problem of the album: besides having inferior material,
mostly anchored to
stereotypical trap beats and stereotypical autotuned rapping,
it is also cluttered with a lot of filler
Meanwhile, the quality of the mixtapes The Perfect Luv Taper (2016)
and 2 Luv Is 2 Rage (2017) collapsed.
Vert turned into an almost hysterical rapper in the singles
New Patek (2018),
Free Uzi (2019),
Futsal Shuffle 2020 (2019), theoretically the survivors of an album
titled Eternal Atake (2019) that he reportedly deleted;
and the productions were increasingly banal.
Sanguine Paradise (2019) was the most cinematic and suspenseful of
When it finally surfaced, Eternal Atake (2020) was a frustrating
experience, a bloated album of artsy trap rap that is actually bland, with too much monotonous filler. This should have been a four-song EP, and it's hard to pick two more past Chrome Heart Tags and Lo Mein.