It’s no secret that Lil Uzi Vert is one of the most talked about artists in hip hop today. Everything from his self identifying as a rock star rather than a rapper, his fashion choices, and his being a leader in the pack of new wave hip hop artists that have been dubbed as mumble rappers has led to countless debates and hot takes.
All that aside, Uzi has always been a rapper who does feature work that I begrudgingly like, but solo stuff that I can’t stand. That is, that was the case until very recently. It actually pains me to say it, but I actually like his most recent single XO TOUR Llif3.
To be completely honest, it’s more than just catchy. The song has moments that prove it could be a masterpiece, or at least more than the sing along club banger that it is currently. Yes that’s right, I said that this song could have been a masterpiece. Unfortunately Uzi under performed as per usual. To back these claims I’ll take you through the good moments of the song, show you where it turns bad, and hopefully you’ll see why it comes out ugly.
Right from the jump we get into the chorus of the song which seems to be depicting an argument between Uzi and his ex girlfriend Brittany. He tells her that he doesn’t care if she cries over him because he can’t feel pity for her since she lied to him and he’s still hurt by the betrayal, to which she counters “baby I am not afraid to die. Push me to the edge.” This is a great moment because it depicts something that is much more commonplace than it should be. He wanted out of the relationship and when he made his feelings known, she basically said if you leave I’ll kill myself. Not in those words, but essentially that was the message. This interpretation is aided by the following line “all my friends are dead.” It’s as if Brittany is saying ‘go ahead and leave it’s not as if I have anything else to live for! All of my friends are already dead anyway.’ Of course that line has a few other interpretations that make it interesting. One could perceive that line as Uzi’s retort to Brittany’s claim of being unafraid of death. Sort of like he’s saying ‘so? All of my friends are dead so you may as well join the club’
He could also be saying the phrase, not as a reply, but after the fight has taken place. Saying to himself now that he and Brittany are no more, he is alone since the only friends that he has are dead (presidents…as in he has all this money but no one to enjoy it with now). All of that show’s a level of depth that has been previously unseen in the rappers career, and he wasn’t even done impressing me yet.
The best line in the song is “I’m committed not addicted, but it keeps controlling me.” This line comes right after the line “Xanny help the pain yeah/ Please Xanny make it go away” These lines combined paint a vivid picture. Specifically, one of Uzi’s dependence on Xanax to function and his denial of relying on it. While also admitting that being on Xanax causes him to act differently than he normally would. It shows that on some level he knows that he has a drug problem, and that his dependence on the drug causes him to behave in ways that he wouldn’t if he were sober, but he refuses to admit that he has an actual addiction. He would rather write it off as being “committed” to his habit, than admit to being unable to cope with the emotional anguish that he’s going through without the aid of benzodiazepines (that’s what kind of drug Xanax is btw. Don’t ever let anyone say this isn’t an educational blog).
Unfortunately, the glimpse of vulnerability and authentic writing that we get is all too brief. After the chorus Uzi starts his verse by talking about his car and how all he really wants is some nice fellatio.
He then spends the first half of the the first verse talking about typical rap cliches (i.e. I have so much money that ____, I’m having sex with your girlfriend because you aren’t ____ enough to satisfy her). He then finally gets to the good stuff I mentioned above and goes through the chorus again, which is nice. BUT THEN he proceeds to call out people for being “fake hard” and for stealing his cadence.
Nothing in the second verse remotely relates to the first, or even the chorus. From a lyrical stand point they might as well be two separate songs. Not only does this ruin the narrative of the song, but all of this typical rapper stuff that he injects into the song seriously undercuts the gravity of what was presented to us earlier. Instead of getting an honest look at a rapper and his vulnerabilities and showing us that despite all of the money and fame rap stars deal with emotional struggles and are regular people just like us, we get yet another rapper telling us about how much more money he has than us and how cooler he is than normal folk. It’s honestly really disappointing. Especially since this song, had it been done right, may have been the song to convince people like me that we’ve been to hard on Lil Uzi Vert. Maybe it would have made us believe that he deserves his high profile status he currently enjoys in the world of hip hop, and we would’ve thought to ourselves “maybe I should go easy on this guy.” But, if anything, this just shows that Uzi is capable of being a great songwriter and deliberately chooses to be wack. And I just can’t get down with that.
What do you think about the song? Do you agree with my take? Do you think I’m being too critical? Does it not even matter because the song bangs either way? Let me now by reaching out to me on my twitter @badicaldude.
There’s Some Flava For Your Ear