Lil Uzi Vert fuses both facets of his career together with “Eternal Atake” and “LUV vs. the World 2”

Opinion posted 3 days ago in Arts & Entertainment by Caleb Wilfinger .

On the morning of September 16, 2017, shortly after the release of his debut studio album “Luv Is Rage 2,” Lil Uzi Vert teased that he was working on a song for a sequel to his acclaimed 2016 mixtape “Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World.”

In the span of just under two years, the Philadelphia rapper had risen from a relatively unknown to one of the genre’s brightest stars, and he was set to build on that success with the expected 2018 release of “Eternal Atake,” an album that was billed as his opus.           

However, instead of releasing a project, Lil Uzi Vert songs have become scarce over the last couple years, as the rapper verbally sparred with his label and had a short-lived retirement, creating almost otherworldly expectations for his second album. 

And yet, Uzi managed to meet those expectations, crafting an hour-long epic that seamlessly blends an array of rapping styles, flows, and melodic crooning — a feat that wouldn’t be accomplished without the rapper’s natural chemistry with Philadelphia  production collective Working On Dying, who produced the majority of the album’s 18 tracks.   

In the days after the release of the long-awaited album, the rapper announced that a 14-song “deluxe” version of the album would be coming out the following week.    

A “deluxe” addendum to a rap album typically adds several extra songs to the end of a tracklist. But the 25-year old decided to circumvent the norm and make the deluxe edition of “Eternal Atake” an entirely new album entitled “LUV vs. The World 2,” the sequel to the star-making mixtape from nearly four years ago.

On his second new project in the span of seven days, Uzi comes through with an album that feels less like an extension of its predecessor. Rather, it can stand on its own two feet. It also contains what might be his best collection of songs to date, with tracks like “Myron,” “Bean (Kobe),” “Yesirskii,” “Moon Relate” and “Trap This Way” (among others) easily standing up with the best of his previous material.

The Working on Dying collective is back, contributing on five tracks, while Pi’erre Bourne — another longtime collaborator and fellow household name — shows up on four tracks, all of which are clear standouts.   

These are two albums that can undoubtedly be played individually, and still serve as some of the best trap/pop-rap in recent memory. But while “Eternal Atake” is an achievement on its own, placing the two albums on one disc effectively fuses all facets of Uzi’s career to this point.

One could easily make the case that “LUV vs. The World 2” calls back to the defiantly punk ethos and rockstar persona that defined much of his 2015-2017 material, while “Eternal Atake” is propelled by the emotive crooning, vocal dexterity and extraterrestrial themes that fans have come to expect from Uzi in recent years.   

Add this to the fact that half of the tracklist is composed of songs that were previously either leaked or teased in snippets prior to the release of “Luv is Rage 2,” and you’ve got a project that not only satisfies Uzi’s rabid fanbase as a throwback to his earlier catalog, but also one that has the ability to work as a preface of sorts to “Eternal Atake.”

By the time “Leaders,”  the smooth closer to “LUV vs. The World 2,” ends and “Baby Pluto” kicks off the second disc of the double album, it almost feels like a page-turn for the boundary-pushing rapper, as he forges into the next stage of his enthralling career.

 

Caleb Wilfinger is a senior majoring in journalism. To contact him, email to caleb.wilfinger@gmail.com.