2017 was the year when the entire world started believing Lil Uzi Vert when he says he's a rockstar. On “XO TOUR Llif3,” Uzi brings together electric charisma and pop punk undertones over a contemplative TM88 beat, and he captures a complicated mood somewhere between numbness and euphoria. It's an urgent song about relationship troubles and substance abuse, but when you play it in any room with more than three people, it turns into a celebration.
This brash, bittersweet tone has been bubbling on alternative rappers' SoundClouds for a couple of years now, but Uzi's “XO TOUR Llif3” is more evolved—focused and fine-tuned like a pop song with none of the reckless disregard for structure so common in the underground. It's one of the most inescapable tracks of the year, and even ten months after its February release, we still aren't sick of it.
At the very least, "XO TOUR Llif3" will be remembered as a 2017 anthem—one that amassed over a billion streams in the year and cemented Lil Uzi Vert as a superstar. If things keep going the way they are, however, the song could end up with an even more significant spot in hip-hop history. As alternative-minded, so-called "SoundCloud rappers" continue to cross over into the mainstream, this song could be remembered as a signal of things to come.
Whatever happens, we'll look back on “XO TOUR Llif3” as the standout moment to the strange and exciting year of music in 2017.—Jacob Moore