Review: Lil Uzi Vert, ‘Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World 2’

On LUV vs. the World 2, Uzi unwinds from album responsibilities to share the best of his B-sides.

Lil Uzi Vert appears to be in autopilot. On the release day of the much-delayed Eternal Atake, the Philly rapper announced a deluxe edition to the album. “How many y’all want on deluxe?”, he asked on Twitter, amassing 200,000 likes with the blink of an eye. Equipped with a promise to treat 2020 like 2016, the demand is clearer than ever. That is mainly because the Internet snippets shared by Uzi over the last two years did not make their way onto Eternal Atake. Fans never forget snippets, treating their favourite ones like shrines. A deluxe provides Uzi with the opportunity to share these songs, while doubling it up as a sequel to his breakout mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World.

None of the fourteen songs that land on LUV vs. the World 2 would have fitted on Eternal Atake. But they deserve life of their own. Uzi Vert compiles the best of his B-sides without the burden of a structure.

The approach of LUV vs. the World 2 is simple; put out the songs that fans want (and help the streaming numbers). This provides a creative freedom to Uzi. He is liberated to record in a natural capacity. With the help of producers such as Pi’erre Bourne, Oogie Mane and his rap peers, Uzi creates melodies organically, rather than manufacturing a single-worthy hook. It leads to both an appreciation for the cohesive sound of Eternal Atake and the carefree core of LUV vs. the World 2.

Uzi’s most popular snippets live up to their hype. Opening track “Myron” is an instant tone-setter, where hooks and verses entwine for a constant 3-minute melody. Mixtape Uzi is in full effect on “Lotus”, his signature flair bursting through the most simplest of lines (“I pull up in a Lam’, this not a Lotus”). Tracks like these find a middle ground between ‘vintage’ Uzi and the evolved martian we know today.

At times LUV vs. the World 2 is a sequel only in name, but a few of its tracks bear semblance to the original. “Come This Way” could have easily been on the first edition, subtly reminiscent of “You Was Right”. Vocally, “Moon Relate” also fits the mixtape’s title; all it misses is an accordion to convince listeners.

LUV vs. the World 2 allows Uzi to exercise numerous collaborations. “Wassup” with Future is glitter-coated with a starry beat and the simplest yet catchiest hook of the album. Future pops in to match Uzi’s singing reminiscent of his Hndrxx performances. Uzi enters Chicago’s world on “No Auto” with Lil Durk. Uzi may not possess the aggression of a Chicago rapper but it works. “Strawberry Peels” with Young Thug and Gunna is delirious in its hyperactive beat and bass. Nav and Uzi Vert’s chemistry on the closer “Leaders” is undeniable; they are distant structurally but are both built for the beat.

Do not be mistaken, these fourteen songs are designed to be taken at face-value. LUV vs. the World 2 is purposely loose, void of a connecting trail to tie the songs together. It’s a mixtape where a play on shuffle is fully justified. It also isn’t as infectious as its parent album, Eternal Atake. Uzi’s best hooks were saved for the album, but his ear for melody still doesn’t escape him on certain hooks (“Trap This Way”, “Moon Relate”).

For the most part, LUV vs. the World 2 is a sequel in name only (even his signature “What?” ad-lib fails to make an appearance). Regardless, Uzi Vert’s B-sides were worth a release, comfortably flexing for case as one of the best trap artists in his lane.

Rating: 7.5 / 10

Best tracks: “Trap This Way (This Way)”, “Come This Way”, “Moon Relate”, “Wassup”, “Lotus”