It’s no accident that Lil Uzi Vert is one of the most popular figures within hip-hop. In fact, he admits some of the calculated choices he made to attain that status in a new interview in W Magazine. Commenting on the commercial success of his most recent album Eternal Atake, which debuted at No. 1 two weeks in a row thanks to its split release and is still charting a year later, he says that he considers the album “dumbed down” as a direct appeal to a broader audience.
“All of my music for Eternal Atake got leaked, so I had to redo it,” he recalls. “It didn’t reach its full potential—I just knew it wasn’t the sound I was going for. Let’s just say Eternal Atake, for another artist, would have been really good because it was super dumbed down to where everyone could enjoy it, but that’s not my artistry. I want my new music to be more intimate to my real fans. I wanted it to be almost cultlike.”
Uzi attributes his artistic compromises to playing the comparison game. “I was listening to all the industry guys and their formats—it was confusing me because these guys are getting No. 1’s,” he allows. But I realized the music ain’t even living; their No. 1’s are real quick. I had to realize this is their beginning; they’re younger than me, so they have room to do that. I don’t have room to do that. I used to always look at all the young guys and be like, ‘Oh, shout out this guy.’ I ain’t shouting out nobody no more.” With a new album on the way, he’ll have a chance to make up for his perceived missteps.
Lil Uzi Vert is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.