Lil Uzi Vert brings back hope for Philly and South Jersey hip-hop fans alike with his new album “Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World”


Courtesy of Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert’s album cover for his fourth studio album

It hasn’t been easy to be a Philadelphia hip-hop fan lately – what with Meek Mill’s feud with Drake and apparent fall – but rising star Lil Uzi Vert gives Philly and South Jersey rap fans hope. Lil Uzi Vert, born Symere Woods, has a rags-to-riches story similar to that of Meek Mill. With a little help from Power 99FM mixer DJ Diamond Kuts, Lil Uzi was able to make it out of the underground rap scene and into the limelight. He was catapulted into fame with the near-overnight success of his third mixtape, titled Luv Is Rage, and he secures his status as one of the leaders of the new wave with his fourth, titled Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World.

It’s easy to see why fans of ‘90s and early ‘00s rap may not like current artists like Lil Uzi Vert. To people of previous generations, any given song on Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World could sound like an angry teenager whining over mediocre background instrumentals as opposed to a classic lyricist. However, every music genre has to evolve in order to stay relevant, and Lil Uzi Vert’s unique style proves he has the ability to lead this brand-new class of rappers.

The mixtape’s first track, “Canadian Goose,” is my favorite. Lil Uzi doesn’t just speak over beats, like rappers in the past have. He’s more focused on making music that sounds good, or music that is pleasing to the ear. His whiny but catchy flow is on display on this track as he rhymes over a synthesized trap beat produced by Maaly Raw. His lines come in melodies rather than ordinary sentences. Anyone looking for advanced lyricism has absolutely come to the wrong place; “All I do is think about the cash,” Lil Uzi states in his first verse on “Canadian Goose,” “Yeah, what, getting all this cash / Yeah, what, I’m 200 on the dash.” But for young rap fans, Uzi’s unique, energetic flow seems to make up for his lack of clever lyrics.

Another standout track on Lil Uzi’s fourth mixtape is “Money Longer.” Every mixtape or album has one extremely popular song that receives decent radio play and comes to almost represent the larger body of work – that song is undoubtedly “Money Longer,” which features production from Maaly Raw and DJ Don Cannon. The beat fits Lil Uzi’s style perfectly – it’s choppy and synthesized and off-rhythm, and weird – just like Uzi. He raps about how his life has changed since his rise to stardom; “Nowadays I am on, my haters got sadder / Money got longer, speaker got louder, car got faster.”

The mixtape’s sixth track, titled “Baby Are You Home,” is destined to be a hit simply because of production from Metro Boomin, who is arguably 2016’s most sought-after hip-hop producer. Lil Uzi again proves that he is not of the same breed as rappers who came before him. He showcases his deep, melodic flow on “Baby Are You Home,” rapping about how he just wants one more chance with the woman he loves; “Yeah, she call my phone / Ask me what I’m on / Baby, is you home / I’m in the area.”

Lil Uzi Vert (along with other current popular hip-hop artists) is not looking to tell a story in his rhymes or impress his listeners with clever lyricism and advanced vocabulary. He simply wants to make music that sounds good. People who are upset with what hip-hop has evolved into should come around to accept it, because every genre changes and sometimes even develops subgenres. This is only the beginning of a new wave of artists who stretch the genre of hip-hop to find its limits.