Ladies and gentlemen: Lil Uzi Vert is finally ready for us to board the Mothership.
After numerous delays and setbacks, the Philadelphia rapper’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Eternal Atake, is upon us. Initially announced in July 2018, the journey to Atake has been a rocky one: album covers have been revealed, singles have been dropped, Uzi and Atlantic Records—particularly the DJ Drama and Don Cannon-led imprint Generation Now—have butted heads. Every frustrated tweet and Instagram Live session has led to this moment.
It’s been three years since Uzi made the jump from SoundCloud rap darling to commercial superstar with his 2017 debut album, Luv Is Rage 2, and its septuple-Platinum certified single “XO Tour Llif3.” His infectious melodies have kept fans on edge through leaks and loosies and wondering when, if ever, his official album would see the light of day. One psychedelic promo video and Twitter-certified album cover later, it appears we have our answer.
The wait is over: let’s see what Baby Pluto has in store for his next chapter.
In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding, and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish. Stream now on Audiomack.
1. “Baby Pluto”
“Welcome to Eternal Atake.” Thank you, it’s been a long road. Uzi starting this album off RAPPING. “Whip out the four-door, ready for war.” This sounds like a chandelier covered in baguettes gleaming from the inside of a UFO. There go the drums! “These boys ain’t believe me, a real rock star.” Uzi sounds fired up like he’s been waiting for this moment. “I made a million off a mixtape.” This is an intro.
2. “Lo Mein”
Seamless transition, nice touch. Uzi’s voice is dancing over hi-hats. Oh, the rest of the beat crashed through the wall. “King of my city like Leon, man.” Uzi is switching flows and melodies so fast. I’m dizzy. The “Up, up, uppity” had NAV energy but I’m not mad. I am mad at these Asian-sounding synths closing out the song. Lame.
3. “Silly Watch”
Harsh piano keys over some pounding drums. Oh man, Uzi isn’t here to play. Uzi’s flow here reminds me of a slower version of “Free Uzi.” The Fetty Wap bar was nice. Uzi sounds like a person who knows they have too much money. I can imagine him throwing bands out of a spaceship. Did he just reference baccarat? Is Uzi James Bond? Must investigate further. “Hugh Hefner died so I can’t get bunny top,” shut uuuuup lol. “Silly Watch” is interstellar milly-rock music. A headbanger for real. I’ll be back.
Starting off with a denial/The Nile bar. Doo-doo. Don’t explain the line Uzi, just RAP. Oh there he goes. He put his foot on the gas. Voice drops and flow changes galore. Uzi is hopscotching across constellations. It’s great hearing Uzi with so much energy. He’s truly been waiting to be let off the leash. He makes “MULTI MULTI MULTI” sound like scripture. He’s hitting Lil Wayne levels of breathless rapping here. “BALENCI BALENCI BALENCI BALENCI / BALENCI BALENCI BALENCI BALENCI.” Someone send a doctor into the booth, holy shit. Is he BREATHING RIGHT NOW???? He went nuclear. “POP” is in all caps for a reason. This is Red Bull music. Scratch that; this is Cocaine (the energy drink) music. What a rush. I’m calling this one a sleeper hit. The song ended with an abduction. Is there a story going on here?
5. “You Better Move”
The production so far is more cohesive than on Luv Is Rage 2. I love this ray gun sample against these drums. Kitschy in a cool way. I, too, used to watch Zoom. “You Better Move” is made for shifting gears in an invisible car. I can hear DaBaby on a remix. “Versace drawers, you Fruit on the Loom.” Uzi rich talk is always exciting. “You Better Move” is gonna be a mosh pit starter, just watch.
Right into the bounce with no moment to breathe. “Anthony Davis, don’t deal with a penalty.” The beat reminds me of a slowed-down version of DaBaby’s “Suge.” Uzi had bars to get off on Eternal Atake. The rapping is breathless. He said he’s moving like an alien. I almost wish there was a Wayne feature. A Birdman bar because of course there is. This is the one moment where I’ve come back to Earth and I’m waiting for my tractor beam back up. Loving the energy but it’s not grabbing me like the others. Others are gonna be ready to throw heads through the wall. This is an album for the ragers, for sure. Can’t wait to see how it translates live. Uzi is being strapped to a table. He’s really trying to escape from aliens.
7. “I’m Sorry”
The first down moment on the album. The energy is scaled back just a tad for a love ballad. Big “Feelings Mutual” energy. Uzi love songs have a bubbly quality few can match. Toxic fan-artist love always makes for crazy music. “I’m not the one who’s sprung” followed by bars about drowning in rum. Yea, you sprung, g. This song is cute but it’s not a favorite.
8. “Celebration Station”
We’re starting off with some Dance Dance Revolution music. Word to Alphonse. I feel like I’m playing games in an arcade next to an early 2000s wedding. Weird energy. Rap line-dancing music is always a treat. My favorite thing about this project so far is Uzi finding a new flow on every song. You never know what you’re gonna get with Uzi. I need a Cascada remix of this song. Uzi is walking through the UFO now. “Where am I?”
9. “Bigger Than Life”
Guitar beat FTW. Uzi could do nothing but talk about money and I’d never get tired of it. “My diamonds dance like Chris Brown.” That man has a strange legacy. “I ran out of space, put diamonds on my toes.” At least he’s getting creative. Uzi is rapping over a choir and handclaps. Ten toes can never stay on the ground. What weird energy. Not sure how I feel about this one yet. “Bigger Than Life” is the first time I’m off-balance in a bad way. Not sure if I’ll be back.
10. “Chrome Heart Tags”
We’re already 10 songs in? Say what you will about long tracklists, but this album is moving fast. Uzi talking about how he used to text girls while in the same room. Millennial love is special, huh? “I had a glock with a dick, gotta pause that.” Say that shit with pride, fuck that “pause” shit. It’s amazing how ubiquitous Virgil Abloh and Off-White have become in rap. The songs move at a steady clip but I’m less impressed with the beat. Another one I could take or leave. Cool title, though.
11. “Bust Me”
There are many different ways to bust. Uzi has described all of them in the first 40 seconds. This is... a way to start a song. I’m enjoying this so far. I’m back on the sugar high of the album’s first quarter. “300 for a two-door Benz.” Uzi is burning through money. He earned it, though. I hear he just dropped an album. Uzi has a thing for choirs on this album. Uzi singing about $300K Benz with choirs cooing in the background is sending me. What do these aliens want with Uzi? Incorporating skits into the ends of songs instead of tracks in their own right is a smart move. Artists, take notes.
More choirs but with booming drums behind them. This is a nice groove. Uzi found the pocket early. He picks the perfect repeatable phrases. He’s skipping. “Gotta model / with vitalogi / she got a condo / out in Cabo” hahahahaha wow. The rhyme scheme was nuts. There’s so much going on here. “Hickory dickory dock / VVS all in my clock.” He went there!! I like this song. The energy from the beginning is back.
13. “Urgency (feat. Syd)”
A Lil Uzi Vert and Syd track is something I never knew I needed. “I treat my dark-skin like my redbone.” Shout out Black women always and forever. Oh this joint sounds DIFFERENT. Another Uzi love song. He sounds amazing over this production. Almost sounds like it could’ve fit on Syd’s solo album. More breathless rapping. I can barely keep up. Uzi and Syd singing the hook together. Songbirds talking with each other. This shit so fire. “My exes, I think they were bad luck / I promise you’re the last one, yea.” “Urgency” is a highlight. A Wonder Ball of a rap track. What a surprise.
Uzi is rapping over marching band music compressed down for a PlayStation game. It bangs, though. I’ve lost count of the times Uzi said he’ll play with the pussy. “I can make a gay girl turn to a straight.” Facepalm. C’mon, bro. How do you follow up a song featuring a queer artist with talk about turning a gay girl straight? “Treating these Diors like they’re some old Vans.” When he’s not being a bonehead, “Venetia” is a lot of fun.
15. “Secure The Bag”
Almost to the end. Whether it’s Champion or Hermes, you gotta secure the bag. The hook reminds me of Juice WRLD. It’s remarkable to think of how many people Uzi influence with just a handful of projects in a few years. They’ll be leaving this song out of his highlight reel, though. I’m not too impressed. “Keep somebody that I love close by / Because they want me to die with my clothes on.” Shot to the heart. Not a favorite, but not terrible. These skits are weird. Did they abduct him to... keep him from releasing the album? Okay that’s HILARIOUS.
Last official song before the bonuses. What a ride this album has been. He’s remixing “XO Tour Life.” Weird energy to go out on. “I got a whole other check, I’m not talking verified.” The flow of the verse is a little different, which is nice. “Money make me numb now.” After all that excess, he’s become numb to the success. He’s still being pushed to the edge. He’s thanking his fans. Heartfelt. This was his moment and he’s grateful to be standing here, even if he is numb.
17. “Futsal Shuffle” (Bonus)
*Three-minute-and-nineteen-second dance break*
18. “That Way” (Bonus Track)
*Three-minute-and-thirty-two-second karaoke session*
Final (First Listen) Thoughts on Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake:
Eternal Atake was my most anticipated album of 2020 and Lil Uzi Vert certainly delivered an experience. The album is a cathartic burst of pent-up energy.
Uzi’s style hasn’t changed very much over three years. He’s as occupied with money, cars, drugs, and girls as ever. Focus is the main difference. Uzi is rapping with a new determination here, stacking thoughts and flexes and sappy toxic romanticisms in a breathless fashion. Uzi puts all of his frustration and energy into the rapping, which is genuinely exhilarating at its best.
Eternal Atake is less eclectic on the production side than previous projects, mainly Luv Is Rage 2. The beats move in lockstep, all booming low-end and some synth variation, and are almost guaranteed to start mosh pits at concerts. A handful of songs blur together near the middle (“Chrome Heart Tags”) and the end (“Secure The Bag”), which is par for the course of an album just a hair over an hour in length. A little more variety would’ve helped make the tedious stretches more passable.
Eternal Atake isn’t meant for intimate listening sessions. Lil Uzi Vert’s latest effort is supposed to shatter eardrums and shred speakers at concerts and sporting events the world over. The album is too long and a bit too samey for its own good, but rap’s newest Martian has spectacularly returned to Earth. Welcome home, Uzi.