For all the talk about “songs of the summer,” there’s only a select group of artists that can actually say they have a ubiquitous song that blazed the hot months. Lil Uzi Vert is one of them. His “XO Tour Llif3” smash was everywhere in the summer of 2017. The catchy song’s triple-platinum status confirms its near omnipresence. Those numbers helped drive his Luv Is Rage 2 debut album to two million units sold, evolving Uzi from a fledgling so-called “Soundcloud rapper” into a burgeoning star. But a weird thing happened with the surge of momentum Uzi had after Luv Is Rage 2: it screeched to a halt.
It’s only been two years since Luv Is Rage 2, but that gap can feel exponentially longer with society’s collective short-term memory. In that time, Uzi has had gripes with Atlantic Records and DJ Drama, who signed him to Generation NOW records along with Don Cannon in 2015. He’s also openly questioned his passion for music and creative direction. Those qualms worked in tandem to keep the uber-talented Philly musician from his calling as an artist, but it appears that he’s finally set to return to the game with his Eternal Atake album.
In May, Uzi announced that the long-anticipated album was done. On June 5th, a random video was posted to Reddit’s r/hiphopheads section in which Uzi told a fan that Eternal Atake was coming “in two weeks.” Uzi has been teasing the album for over a year. Last summer, he released the artwork for the project, referencing the infamous Heaven’s Gate Cult with an Instagram caption that simply asked, “wanna hear?” That was a cheeky rhetorical question to his devoted fanbase who regard him as one of the best genre-bending artists in hip-hop, adept at meshing his Philly-bred technical lyricism with earworm melodies. But those fans haven’t been able to hear much new music from Uzi, allegedly thanks to his label(s).
In December 2016, he announced that he had signed to Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang. Days later, DJ Drama, the co-CEO of Generation NOW, confirmed that Uzi was indeed still signed to him. That was the first public indication of miscommunication in a relationship that has since seen Uzi subliminally call Drama an “old person who doesn’t understand what’s going on right now” and tell young artists to “never sign to a rapper or DJ.”