It’s finally time.
On Jan. 11, 2019, Philly rap superstar Lil Uzi Vert abruptly dropped out of the entire music scene with a post on Instagram stating that he had “deleted everything” and was “done with music.” This shocking announcement came barely a month after his second album, “Eternal Atake” was reported to be finished. Some saw the post as legitimate and the sudden departure of one of modern music’s biggest faces. Others looked at it as an in-the-moment rash of spontaneity. Conspiracy theorists looked at it as a way to drum up hype for the project — a publicity stunt. Months later, Uzi reappeared with two singles, ending the uncertainty around the album. “That’s a Rack” was a traditional (by his standards) club hit custom-made to hit repeat at Ted’s, but the more melodic “Sanguine Paradise” caught attention in the music scene, eventually hitting platinum status by the RIAA. The chorus of “Sanguine” shows Uzi at his prime, riding the piano-laced production with buttery vocals that consistently separate him from his competitors in the relatively new “melodic trap” field.
After another break from putting out singles, causing some fans to raise uncertainty about the project once more, Uzi dropped “Futsal Shuffle 2020” in December. With a TikTok-able dance (sorry), a synth lead straight out of Geometry Wars and samples from Tyler, The Creator and Nardwuar, the single shot up to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 — and for great reason. I fondly remembering confusingly interlacing the song with my Christmas playlist, permanently and irreversibly associating the explicitly not-wintery song with the season.
This past Friday, Uzi tweeted out that the album would drop in two weeks, signalling the long-awaited release of “Atake” next week on March 13th. Doubts about this date were quelled on Sunday, when Uzi dropped his fourth single of the cycle, “That Way.” Featuring a perfect Backstreet Boys sample, his latest single is one of the best hip-hop tracks of the year. Like many Uzi songs, it can be hard to pin down why. To start, any modern rapper confident enough to incorporate a turn-of-the-century boy band into a major single gets respect from me. On top of that, Uzi’s verses ride the slightly restrained yet on point beat like he didn’t take three years between albums. Uzi has floated that there might be one more single before the big release next week, but I’m not even sure he needs it.
“Second album syndrome” is incredibly real in the music industry. You have an eternity to put together your first album but often no time at all to compose its sequel. Increased pressure can get to an artist, as evidenced by Uzi’s frantic quitting over a year ago. That said, by all indications “Eternal Atake” will fulfill the long drought of even the most fervent Uzi stans. In nine days, hopefully the wait will end — look for my review shortly thereafter!