The Philly native’s long-awaited album is a youthful intergalactic adventure.
Patience is a word that doesn’t exist in hip hop anymore. Michael Jackson segregated Thriller and Bad by five years, back when albums existed only in a physical medium. Nowadays, your favourite rapper’s on the clock to drop every nine months. In Lil Uzi Vert’s case, it’s a demand he set himself, famously putting out three mixtapes in 2016. His debut album Luv Is Rage 2 arrived after months of delay. But the wait did not compare to the eternal wait for Eternal Atake, an album where the anticipation could only be rivalled by Travis Scott’s Astroworld. If Uzi’s story is anything to go by, Eternal Atake was a label hostage. All of a sudden a green light was given, and next thing you know fans were voting for the album cover on Twitter.
The wait heightened Uzi’s ambitions. Eternal Atake is a strange, sublunary experience that sees Uzi reaching for the stars, excelling in performance, production and execution.
Frontlined by the Working on Dying production team, Eternal Atake thrives off its galactic sound. The first leg introduces Baby Pluto, one of Uzi Vert’s three musical personas. Here we have a relentless Uzi stripped of his Auto-Tune in replacement of rapid-fire raps over unorthodox, spacey beats. “Baby Pluto” sets the energy near-perfectly, serving as an instant splash of colour to your speakers or headphones. “You Better Move” bravely samples the infamous 3D Pinball ping and somehow comes together. “Pop” is as ridiculous as the Pluto persona gets, resembling a freestyle format over space engine warps. It takes some getting used to, but once the appeal is unlocked it becomes the most entertaining portion of the album.
Uzi’s rapping during this leg of the album is a refreshing left-turn. To contrary knowledge, Uzi Vert started his career with a greater focus on lyricism. On Eternal Atake, he returns to the trope but the content remains trap-centred (jewellery, cars, clothes, women, more cars, more clothes). The effort comes with a few punchlines but is carried by the addictive flows and how Uzi meshes with the beat, particularly on “Silly Watch” and “Lo Mein”.
But entertainment differs from catchiness. The whiny melodies return with “I’m Sorry” over a beat that is both tropical yet electronic. “Celebration Station” is more addictive of a trance than Futsal Shuffle, bringing forward one of the album’s best hooks (“Too much guap, bands, bands / Bad lil foreign, ten, ten”). The tropical melodies continue on “Bigger Than Life”, propped by its sweet ukulele beat that mirrors the pop-friendly personality of ‘Renji’.
These style of songs continue to burst with melody across the final leg of the album. “Venetia” encompasses everything brilliant about Eternal Atake; a hypnotising beat, a killer hook and a compulsive melody. The album’s sole guest appearance, Syd of The Internet, injects a fulfilling contrast to Uzi’s voice on “Urgency”. Its aquatic production allows the duo to soar through the relaxing track.
The accidental hit “XO Tour Llif3” remains Uzi Vert’s best song. It’s no wonder a sequel closes out the album, mirroring the melody note for note. There may not be the killer performance that captured hearts like the original, but is a pleasant surprise.
Eternal Atake aims to take listeners for a further journey through its skits. Multiple songs end with Uzi dialogue that once connected picture Uzi’s abduction and escape to Earth. Unfortunately it’s not a concept that comes together cleverly (Uzi wakes up on the mothership, presses a button and escapes with ease). One can’t help but feel like these passive skits could have been fleshed out or absent altogether.
From lines such as “Yu-Gi-Oh, Yu-Gi-Oh, you wanna duel?” it’s clear Lil Uzi Vert and Eternal Atake are a representation of youth. He finally masters a studio album format, carefully considering his tracklist to represent his futuristic adventure. With endless rapid raps and melodies to its name, Eternal Atake is a long-awaited win for artist and fan.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Best tracks: “Venetia”, “Celebration Station”, “Bigger Than Life”, “Baby Pluto”, “I’m Sorry”, “Urgency”, “Bust Me”, “Lo Mein”, “That Way”