It was probably only a matter a time before the label pulled the plug on Lil Uzi Vert’s leaked track “Free Uzi,” even with the pitch shift trick he applied to sneak it past automated copyright detection. From the moment it hit the net, it was just a takedown notice away from being scrubbed — especially since it was originally uploaded to a fake account on Soundcloud. It was also a freestyle over an unlicensed beat — G Herbo’s “Gangway,” to be exact — so it’s not like he was actually getting any money from it, either.
Still though, it’s pretty disappointing that the only versions left online are the bootleg uploads that seem to pervade Youtube’s search algorithm whenever a highly-anticipated track drops. You can still listen to the track and even watch one of the dozen or so uploads of its guerilla-style music video, but in terms of showing support to Uzi and proving to Atlantic that releasing his long-delayed album Eternal Atake would be a lucrative idea, they won’t help him out much.
The track’s release was an encouraging sign of progress toward the album’s eventual release, especially since Uzi signed up to work with Roc Nation management, who’ve helped other artists out of tight situations in the past. Other rappers have also used leaks and fan-mounted campaigns to force their labels to comply with release dates, so maybe “Free Uzi” just might help get Uzi free in the end.
Lil Uzi Vert is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music.