The long-awaited Luv Is Rage 2 has highlights but isn’t the infectious body of work that was expected from the calibre of Uzi.
Lil Uzi’s long-awaited album dropped with a day’s notice after being delayed throughout the year. He emerged in 2015 with the Luv Is Rage mixtape, pairing the explosive beats of Maaly Raw and co with his talent for providing infectious melodies. This was followed up by the back-the-back LUV vs. The World and The Perfect Luv Tape, containing his best material to date. It’s easy to write Uzi Vert off as another annoying mumble rapper, but the pockets in melodies and delivery he is able to reach at his peak are hard to dislike – case in question, “XO Tour Llif3”, which managed to change a lot of opinions.
Luv Is Rage 2 had a lot to live up to coming off that hit. Unfortunately, the results are mixed.
It starts off on a very memorable note, with the first five tracks being the best run of consistency on the album. “Two®” serves as a worthy intro, featuring accordion-driven production that’s been heard before on tracks like “Ps & Qs” and memorable Uzi one-liners (“I ain’t gon lie, I got money and the power”). The Satanic-titled “444+222” is reminiscent of “Original Uzi (4 of Us)”, with Uzi utilising the stop-start flow in enjoyable rather than annoying fashion (“Breathe in / Breathe out / Milli / On me / Jay / Z”). “Sauce It Up” and “No Sleep Leak” aren’t anything extremely memorable but don’t derail any momentum. “The Way Life Goes” is a breath of fresh air from the fast pace, managing to single itself out the crowd with its mellow sound.
The middle bulk of the album is where things fall off. Tracks 6 to 10 consists of the most forgettable songs Uzi has put out, with “For Real” being the worst of them. Frankly, the collaborations with Pharrell and The Weeknd were unwarranted, despite the artists being great within their own right. Pharrell churns out a very average beat and performance, while The Weeknd provides a painfully repetitive hook and sounds like his own song rather than an Uzi song. The two just don’t pair up well with Uzi Vert. The stop-start flow heard earlier on the devil song is stale and irritating by the time it gets used again on “Early 20 Rager”. Just like the name of track 10, I’m unfazed by these forced collaborations and throwaway tracks.
There was plenty of potential that wasn’t tapped into. The most disappointing thing about Luv Is Rage 2 is there’s been a handful of album-worthy leaks that should have made the tracklist, such as “Alone Time”, “YSL” and “Luv Scars” from Luv Is Rage 1.5, “Bag” with Young Thug, “Loaded”, and plenty more. These tracks could’ve easily replaced the disappointing middle section and resulted into an excellent album start to finish.
The best song remains to be “XO Tour Llif3” which we heard months ago, closely followed by “Pretty Mami”, originally known as “Let You Know” which I was replaying via radio rip quality for weeks. It restores order after the string of mediocrity, providing the second-best melody of the album (“Spanish girl named Rosa, and she from the coast / She know I’m a soldier, girl I’ll let you know” 🎶)
What brings down the majority of the songs is the lack of inventive production that Uzi is known for. Most of the beats are forgettable, subsequently making the songs forgettable. Uzi, arguably one of the best beat pickers in the current American trap scene, failed to record over anything special for the most part.
An ideal tracklist for Luv Is Rage 2:
3.) Alone Time
4.) Sauce It Up
5.) Luv Scars
6.) Pretty Mami
9.) The Way Life Goes
11.) XO Tour Llif3
Perhaps a more condensed project would have been better. Mixtapes like LUV vs. The World and The Perfect Luv Tape were only 9-10 tracks long, barely leaving any room for filler. Short projects clearly suit Uzi more. LIR2 should have been cut down considerably.
So unfortunately, the high expectations were not met for the long-awaited Luv Is Rage 2. It heavily lacks the imagination and charisma that made Lil Uzi Vert so likeable. It’s clear he hasn’t reached his peak creatively, because the leaked tracks that failed to make the album clearly show he has hits in the bank. But for once, Uzi hasn’t been able to differentiate between the throwaway filler tracks and the leftover tracks with more potential.
Rating: 6 / 10
Favourite tracks: “XO Tour Llif3″, “Dark Queen”, “Pretty Mami”, “Two®”, “The Way Life Goes”, “X”, “444+222”