Last month, Lil Uzi Vert caught many hip-hop fans off guard when he roundabout admitted on Twitter that he “sold out” to chase the charts. He said that he’s going to be back on “raw talent” mode for 2018, which could mean an intriguing departure from the melody-driven style that made hits like “XO Tour Llif3” and “The Way Life Goes” for a more “lyrical” approach. While we haven’t heard Lil Uzi Vert flex his lyrical chops to his full potential – by his own admission – he seems ready to. We know one person who has no doubt in Uzi’s capability to do just that: DJ Don Cannon.
On a recent episode of Ed Lover’s “Cmon Son” podcast, Cannon spoke on when he first discovered Uzi. After hearing Uzi’s “foreign”-yet-intriguing vocals on the radio, he knew Uzi had potential. He canceled a flight to Atlanta and drove from Atlantic City to Philly to do his research on the then-18-year-old. During a trip through Uzi’s North Philly ‘hood, Cannon learned that Uzi was well-regarded there for battle rapping – which, in hindsight, is the last thing you’d expect to hear about him.
Cannon says he was enamored with how “polished” Uzi’s music was when he first heard it. The best part of the DJ’s recollection is Uzi telling him, “oh, you think I’m this,” before playing songs that in Cannon’s words, were “straight rap,” before dismissing the style as “boring.” He recalls Uzi telling him he was going to be a “rock star,” and that he had the “whole vision laid out” for his career. Millions of streams and sales later, it turns out he saw that vision through – but may be looking to embody a new one.