by Ari Gordon, Opinions Editor
photo courtesy of Pitchfork
The three year wait for “Eternal Atake,” Lil Uzi Vert’s highly anticipated second solo studio album, eventually ended during C block physics on March 6. I could not believe my eyes. I promptly listened to it while in physics and had a very enjoyable listening experience, mostly out of shock that the album actually dropped. The more I listened, however, the more the initial excitement faded away, and I became increasingly disappointed with the album.
Throughout the album, Uzi simply repeats his winning formula of simple trap songs like “POP” and “Secure the Bag.” The music is devoid of any new style, idea or delivery. I had no problem with the formula on “Luv Is Rage,” Uzi’s first album, and looking back it seems his music peaked in that first album. There is no arguing whether or not Uzi is a good rapper — he is — but he seems to refuse to try anything that stands apart from the rest of his music. Uzi’s lack of originality leaves me craving anything new, leaving me wondering the point of listening to an artist’s new music if it sounds exactly the same as the rest of their releases.
Despite my criticism, Eternal Atake isn’t all bad. “Chrome Heart Tags,” “Bigger Than Life” and “Baby Pluto,” ethereal ballads that seem to travel across space and time, highlight Uzi’s potential and serve as signs of what the entire album should’ve been.
Though “Eternal Atake” is filled with incredible space trap themes and unique instrumentals, the album still lacks substance. The alien and space themes that were prevalent in the album cover and promotional videos have essentially nothing to do with the album besides the beats, which was extremely disappointing. We could’ve gotten some insight into Uzi’s life, as we haven’t gotten any music relating that isn’t just flexing his riches for the past three years. Once again, however, Uzi didn’t take advantage of the opportunity; he stuck to mindless bars instead of heartfelt messages.
The way Uzi has maintained hype through the years has been through an ample supply of unreleased leaks, which were at an all-time high in the years leading up to the album’s release. These leaks were entire songs with legendary producers and artists, and they showed a glimpse of what “Eternal Atake” could have and should have been. For some unknown reason, few of these leaks made it into the album.
After the novelty of the album’s release subsided, Uzi promptly announced the release of a deluxe version of the album. Although a deluxe album would only ever add a few new songs with other prominent rappers, I hoped this version would help compensate for the lack of theme and originality in the album. My hopes were high as Uzi still had hundreds of songs that had never hit public release.
Instead, the deluxe put a poorly cobbled-together collection of rejected songs from “Eternal Atake”, onto the already lackluster “Eternal Atake.” The features were passable, with songs like “Bean” and “Yessirskii,” but even in the songs featuring another artist, Uzi didn’t bring the same energy as other artists; it felt like he wasn’t even trying. Even 21 Savage was able to produce a more impressive verse than Uzi. Songs like “Strawberry Peels” make the deluxe version feel like Uzi took the worst songs that didn’t make it into “Eternal Atake”, got some mediocre features and called it a day.
The alien theme was almost thrown out the window in this version, and it is just impossible to see how anyone could call either of these albums above average. It was simply missing any form of special. If the delivery, lyrics or even instrumentals were unique, the album would’ve been infinitely better.
Various digs at Playboi Carti, Uzi’s ex-best friend and frequent collaborator, are scattered throughout the album, showing a shift in Uzi’s style, towards a more mindless pop-churning machine, instead of a special artist who only focused on making the best music. This album is not terrible, but it is most certainly disappointing. If the only rap you listen to is Rap Caviar, you might love both the deluxe and the original, but if you have ever listened to any of Uzi’s albums front-to-back, it is easy to see how mediocre “Eternal Atake” is, particularly compared to how brilliant it could’ve been.