When I first heard Lil Uzi Vert, I remember thinking that his buzz and the excitement around him was more compelling than the music. He was an interesting character, colorful in every sense of the word, fashion-forward, and the poster child (along with Lil Yachty) for the new wave of quasi-rappers who successfully break hip-hop tradition. He was also quick to list off influences like Marilyn Manson and GG Allin, establishing a rock star persona that sets him apart from many new school rappers. He stood out, but it still seemed like his ceiling would be a loyal following, potentially a few crossover hits, and a stronghold on youth culture.
But in 2016, everything changed. Songs like "You Was Right," "Money Longer," "Seven Million," and "Ps and Qs" were undeniable hits and omnipresent any time you were in a room with more than 10 people under the age of 25. The hype was translating into mainstream success stronger than good branding and magnetic energy.
Then in 2017 came "XO TOUR Llif3," Uzi Vert's best and most popular song yet. It features everything that made Uzi Vert popular in the first place without sacrificing anything. This isn't an attempt at pop crossover or a simplified version meant for mass consumption—it's just a really good Uzi song, sharper and more focused than anything he'd released yet. The song peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and dominated social media clips, memes, and playlists that drive culture more than radio and media coverage does these days. It's clear now: Lil Uzi Vert is a star, and it's starting to feel like he's on the cusp of even bigger things.