The phrase “damn Uzi” has been trending on Twitter all day, and this time it’s (finally) not because Lil Uzi Vert’s fans are stressed about album delays.
Rejoice! Eternal Atake has arrived.
Without warning, the 18-track album hit streaming services on Thursday morning, marking the first time we’ve heard a new project from Uzi since 2017’s Luv Is Rage 2. Leading up to its release, Eternal Atake had become one of the most highly-anticipated albums in all of rap, and now we can finally hear what Baby Pluto has been up to all this time.
Shortly after it dropped, Uzi told fans, “Give it a week you will understand the whole concept,” so we’ll be back with a deeper analysis next week in our full review. But after waiting so long, we couldn’t help but share some of our first reactions after a couple initial spins. Here are 9 big takeaways from Lil Uzi Vert’s long-awaited album, Eternal Atake.
Uzi’s in his own world
On an album with as much hype as Eternal Atake, Uzi could have collaborated with anyone he wanted to. Before it dropped, we were speculating about features from artists like Future and Playboi Carti, and it wasn’t out of the range of possibilities that someone like a Drake or JAY-Z might have ended up on the tracklist. Nope. Uzi said fuck all that and dropped an hour of music with only one feature. And the only guest (Syd) isn’t even a rapper! After moving past the initial disappointment that we wouldn’t see any of our dream collaborations, it became apparent that this was a smart choice by Uzi. Artists refer to themselves as “aliens” all the time, but Uzi really isn’t like any of these other rappers, so he’s most effective when he gets to exist in a universe of his own making. On Eternal Atake, he does exactly that, taking us on a ride through a web of odd references (Zoom, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Blue’s Clues are all mentioned on the same damn song) over beats that would have fallen apart in the hands of anyone else (name another rapper you’d actually want to hear rap over sounds from Space Pinball). Without the distractions of other rappers, who would have just pulled him back down to Earth, Uzi has room to invent characters of his own creation: Baby Pluto, Renji, and Uzi. We wouldn’t want it any other way. —Eric Skelton
No one raps quite like Uzi
“I live my life like a cartoon,” Uzi gleefully raps on “You Better Move.” Not only is that one of the most self-aware things I’ve heard from a rapper this year, it doubles as a mission statement for this whole album. Uzi raps like he tweets, weaving together a collection of left-field insights that only fully make sense in the context of the rest of his world. When I checked the Genius page for Eternal Atake, I almost expected to see each line followed by a bunch of alien emojis. Instead, I read beautifully strange observations like, “I’m like Mother Goose, if I say shoot, they gonna shoot.” What other rapper do you know who would compare themselves to Mother Goose?! Never change, Uzi. —Eric Skelton
Play it loud
Honestly, I feel like I haven’t full experienced this album yet because I still haven’t heard it in the car or the club. If there’s one stylistic theme to Eternal Atake, it’s that each song was made to be played loud as hell. Remember when Travis Scott tweeted, “Tame and King Krule albums at high volumes,” earlier this week? Well, I love King Krule, but I don’t know anyone who plays his music at “high volumes,” so that must have been a typo and he really meant “new Uzi” instead. Whether it’s the hard-hitting rap songs at the beginning of the album or anthemic, melodic tracks like “P2” at the end, these songs are ready for stadiums. Fortunately, it appears Uzi is on the same page. “This is a performance album,” he tweeted on Friday afternoon. “#ETERNALATAKE TOUR!!!!!!!!!” —Eric Skelton
Shoulder shimmying, eye-rolling Uzi makes appearances
Eternal Atake signals the return of the shimmying, eye-rolling Uzi. There are positive things to say about all of the sides of Uzi that appear on the album, but this side of him is especially fun to see. Flossy bars like “Put her right in the condo, her in the Benz/And I did all of that, don’t wanna see her again/And honestly on to better things, that's her friend” on “Lo Mein” embody the attitude and sassiness of Uzi’s signature eye roll. We dare you to play back records like “POP” or “P2” without your shoulders taking on a mind of their own. Uzi even urged fans to hit the move while listening to “Silly Watch.” Just imagine him performing any of these tracks live. How will he not break out into a shoulder and eye roll combo? —Jessica McKinney
Baby Pluto really likes to rap
Uzi comes out of the gate with guns blazing. Within moments of hitting play on the first track, it’s clear Uzi came to show he can deliver straight bars when he wants to. While he showcases multiple sides of himself on EA, he dedicates the first portion of the album to his trap side. Leading up to the album’s release, he told fans that side of him should be referred to as “Baby Pluto.” “I’m glad it out because this Baby Pluto hit so hard... Baby Pluto make every bitch that played him realize they fucked up,” he tweeted. Now we see for ourselves that this is the side of Uzi that goes hard, preferring hard-hitting verses over melody. Songs like the album’s opener (also titled “Baby Pluto”), “POP” and “You Better Move” highlight his rap skills. They rarely lean on melodies or pop-influenced choruses, but are somehow just as catchy and enjoyable as Uzi’s emo songs. —Jessica McKinney
Happy Uzi is here
We were hoping to hear Uzi in a better headspace on this album, and we got just that. He sounds really happy and carefree, which is a refreshing thought considering so many of his sad tweets over the past couple years. It’s no secret that the journey to Eternal Atake hasn’t been a pleasant one. There have been many delays and false starts, but the album is here, and that sense of relief is reflected in the music—you can catch a jubilant Uzi dancing all over tracks like “Homecoming” and “Celebration.” Even after releasing it, he tweeted on Friday evening, “I keep listening this shit is crazy.” Considering all of what he went through to get to this point, he deserves to relish in the moment. —Jessica McKinney
There might be subliminal shots at Playboi Carti
On “Baby Pluto,” Lil Uzi Vert raps, ‘If it’s beef, don’t partake/No, I do not eat steak,” but he’s left many fans to believe that he could be feuding with his old bestie, Playboi Carti. Later on the track, some fans pointed out that Uzi references Carti’s long-awaited album, Whole Lotta Red, spitting, “Whole lotta, whole lotta red rubies on my neck.” But on the album’s third track, “Silly Watch,” Uzi seems to drop a less-than-complimentary line about Carti, rapping, “I’m with my boys, and no, we do not Milly Rock.” Although he doesn’t name any names, the line is potentially a reference to Carti’s 2017 hit, “Magnolia,” in which he famaously raps, “In New York, I Milly Rock.’ Uzi and Carti have been friends and collaborators for quite some time now and Carti has previously confirmed the two had close to 100 unreleased songs together. Although it’s still unclear whether Uzi was dissing Carti on the album, Uzi has recently suggested that the duo no longer have the strong bond they once had. When a fan asked Uzi if he and Carti were still on good terms in November 2019, Uzi replied, “NO.” We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out. —Jessica McKinney
We’ve gotta talk about these beats! Uzi’s idiosyncrasies and off-the-wall one-liners command most of the attention on first listen, but this album wouldn’t be what it is without the efforts of producers like Brandon Finessin (who is a part of longtime Uzi collaborators Working On Dying), Bugz Ronin, Oogie Mane, and Supah Mario. When it first hit streaming services, Eternal Atake didn’t include production credits, but you can now see the names of everyone who contributed on Wikipedia. Even Chief Keef earned production credits on “Chrome Hearts Tags!” We’ll dive a lot more deeply into what makes these beats so good in our full review next week, but for now, it’s worth giving a special shout out to Dez Wright and Oogie Mane for what they accomplished on “Bigger Than Life,” a song that sounds years ahead of its time. I can’t wait to hear this beat in the soundtrack of whatever Star Wars movie comes out for my grandkids. —Eric Skelton
He successfully pulls off an “XO Tour Llif3” sequel
Whether we’re talking movies, books, or any other form of entertainment, sequels are almost always disappointing. And a musician attempting to make a new version of their biggest hit ends in disaster almost every time. But, somehow, Lil Uzi Vert made a sequel to “XO Tour Llif3” with “P2” that doesn’t suck. Actually, on first listen, it might be one of the album’s best songs. Over similar TM88 production from the original, Uzi borrows his old flow, but gives us an update on his life as it exists in 2020. He also uses the space to admit his fondness of the “XO Tour Llif3” era, rapping, “I don’t wanna get older, I'm still livin’ in my last year.” So, if you were finally getting tired of the original after hundreds of listens, Uzi just saved the day with an update. —Eric Skelton