One of the most heralded hip-hop artists of his generation, Lil Uzi Vert built no small part of his well-deserved reputation off of the promise of a record nobody had heard. For nearly two years, fans eagerly anticipated the release of Eternal Atake, a maddeningly delayed project whose legend grew while tragedy befell some of the Philadelphia native’s emo rap peers, including Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION. With the wait finally over, the patient listenership that made do with running back 2017’s Luv Is Rage 2 again and again can take in his glittering opus.
Without relying on showy features—save for one memorable duet with Syd on the otherworldly “Urgency”—Uzi does more than most of those who’ve jacked his style in the interim. He imbues the post-EDM aesthetic of “Celebration Station” and the video-game trap of “Silly Watch” alike with speedy, free-associative verses that run from gun talk to sexual exploits. An obvious influence on Uzi’s discography, Chief Keef provides the woozy beat for “Chrome Heart Tags,” reminding that there are levels to Uzi’s artistry. Not to be outdone, for the deluxe edition of* *Eternal Atake he appends an entire new album dubbed LUV vs. The World 2. Loaded with features by predominantly Atlanta-based rap all-stars, this bonus offering represents a windfall for Uzi’s base while contrasting with the largely guest-free original version. He gives an energetic performance over the synth swells and 808 rattle of “Wassup” with Future, and lets 21 Savage take the lead on the Pi’erre Bourne-produced “Yessirskiii.” Young Thug comes through twice, embracing Uzi’s return on the bubblegum trap of “Got the Guap” and then linking with Gunna for the club-crushing “Strawberry Peels.” Closing out the side is the uplifting “Leaders” with NAV, a fitting endpiece from one of his most vocally supportive friends.