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Lil Uzi Invites Listeners into His Rocket Ship on ‘Eternal Atake’

Album art from Lil Uzi Vert's "Eternal Atake."
Album art from Lil Uzi Vert's "Eternal Atake." By Courtesy of Lil Uzi Vert / Roc Nation / Atlantic Records
By Drew L. Cheng, Contributing Writer

After nearly three years of anticipation, trap-pop megastar Symere Woods, better known as Lil Uzi Vert, finally dropped the album “Eternal Atake'' and its deluxe edition “LUV vs. The World 2,” the sequel to his acclaimed 2016 mixtape “Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World.” “Eternal Atake,” or, in his own words, to “forever overtake,” marks Lil Uzi’s first album since he crashed airwaves worldwide with his moody trap-pop anthem “XO Tour Llif3” and his Billboard-topping debut studio album “Luv is Rage 2.” His galactic odyssey of a sophomore album is Lil Uzi’s biggest flex yet. Balancing hard-hitting instrumentals with bouncy melodic flows, “Eternal Atake” marks a new level of confidence in, and ownership of, Lil Uzi’s trap-star lifestyle and craft.

From his lead single “Baby Pluto” on, Lil Uzi’s subject matter recycles cliches — the violence he partakes in, the women he sleeps with, and the drugs he takes to cope with both — but Lil Uzi innovates with imaginative concepts and versatility. The 18 track album and its 32 track extended release emulate the supernaturally inspired concepts of Uzi’s previous projects. Where “XO Tour Llif3”’s official music video depicted a drug-induced zombie apocalypse, “Eternal Atake” finds Lil Uzi invested in the concept of outer space. The album visualizer “Baby Pluto,” posted to Lil Uzi’s YouTube channel, features the rapper leading an extraterrestrial cult of sorts after being abducted by a UFO.

The album layout is similarly innovative, presented as a rap saga of three acts, each delivered by one of Lil Uzi’s three rap personas: Baby Pluto, Renji, and Uzi. Leveraging three different narrative voices throughout the album, Lil Uzi delivers perhaps his most sonically diverse project to date.

Though his music has often been labeled as “emo rap” and “punk rap” due to its genre-blending sound, Lil Uzi proves he is still a legitimate hype hip-hop hit maker on “Eternal Atake.” On songs like “Silly Watch,” he sheds moody electronic synths and picks up the tempo. Complete with speaker-knocking bass beats, rapid-fire hi-hats, and hyped “Wooh/Yeah” adlibs, Lil Uzi embodies the swagger and energy of his viral Migos collaboration “Bad and Boujee.” As he calls out “Got a Richard Mille, this not a silly watch (Woah) / All this money make me wan' hit my Diddy Bop,” his voice sounds full of genuine joy and humor, marking an encouraging return to form. These energetic tracks are a refreshing reminder of Lil Uzi’s musical passion after his tumultuous three years of label trouble and tweets about being “done with music.”

Despite the nostalgia for his old style present on some tracks, Lil Uzi does not shy from vocal experimentation. While sometimes detracting from the album’s cohesion, tracks like “Futsal Shuffle 2020” and “Lotus” see Lil Uzi using brassy digital synths to push his futuristic style to another level. His exploration of a new sound is perhaps best captured in “Urgency,” on which he collaborates with The Internet vocalist Syd. Syd’s mellowed vocals on the track in combination with an instrumental shift towards a syncopated bass backdrop give the track a unique R&B flavor à la Jhené Aiko. Following suit in mellow fashion is Lil Uzi, layering smooth, almost jazzy vocals over the track. This sort of vocal experimentation is an example of the way “Eternal Atake” elevates the rapper’s craft. “Eternal Atake” is Lil Uzi firing on all cylinders — drawing from his established sound without limiting his creative exploration.

Perhaps one of the benefits of dropping such a long project — the extended project “Luv vs. The World 2” is an hour and 45 minutes of playtime — is that what Lil Uzi sacrifices in cohesion he gains in versatility. Technical or lyrical, melodic or biting, his flow and delivery offer a shade for everyone. Being the crowd pleaser that he is, Lil Uzi provides fans a sequel to his breakthrough “XO Tour Llif3” with his reflective “P2.” As the track winds to a close, he captures the concept of being frozen in time singing “I don't wanna get older, I'm still livin' in my last year / I hope my life just keep goin', don't worry 'bout that.” Here he plays with the concept of stopping time only to forever live the best moments he is living today.

Lil Uzi’s “concepts” are not exclusive to the tracks themselves, but also woven into the soundbites interspersed through the album. At the beginning and end of songs like “Bust Me” and “P2,” careful listeners are rewarded with inventive audio snippets — muted conversations, the hum of a spaceship engine, a buzzing space portal — that grant narrative dimension to the galactic journey of “Eternal Atake.”

Lil Uzi's latest project finds him ready to take us on a trip through the cosmic depths of his imagination, and for the foreseeable future, seems well worth the ride.

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