Lil Uzi Vert has used the last 5 years of his star-powered career to create a whole new generation of rappers while also still maintaining the continued respect from hip-hop veteran masterminds.
Also known for sporting a playful fashion sense that is a matrix of high fashion labels like Chanel mixed with the essence of Andy Warhol, he is not only challenging rap expectations but rap fashion aesthetic as well.
Concerning the origin of his name, Lil Uzi Vert stated in an interview that a guy commented that he rapped very fast, like a machine gun, and from that moment on, he was known as Lil Uzi. He later added the “vert” part as a reference to him always on the up-and-up succeeding, such as going straight up on the charts or with any of his successes.
In just a few short years, the tattooed face trap emo-rap aficionado has made himself a household name and there seems no end in sight for the trajectory of his music career.
Symere Woods was born July 31, 1994, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Little is know about his family but what is known is that Vert grew up listening to Mike Jones and Ying Yang Twin and claims them as his biggest influencers and even revealing that Mike Jones’ debut album was the first album he ever purchased.
Very would later switch gears and began to listen to Meek Mill and Wiz Khalifa, who were also big influencers of his style, especially having helped him create his own unique trap sound.
Vert decided to experiment with his style by listening and incorporating elements of alternative genres of music such as Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and other different styles outside of rap. Very is a huge Marilyn Manson fan and even said that when he was thirteen, his favorite album was Mechanical Animal, Manson’s 1998 third studio album.
After hearing his friend William freestyle over a Chris Brown track, Lil Uzi Vert decided to begin rapping while in the tenth grade. Vert, William, and his other friends decided at that point to come together to form the rap group, Steaktown. However, the group was short-lived and would disband when Vert was seventeen years old.
Around this time, Lil Uzi Vert dropped out of school after Steaktown disbanded and started working at a dollar store to make ends meet. However, Vert quit shortly after being hired, which led to him being kicked out of his home by his mother.
The situation with his mother led to him getting his very first face tattoo, “Faith”, when he then used to encourage himself to take rapping more seriously and turn it into a fruitful career for himself.
Vert began taking his rap career seriously in 2010 when he took on the stage name “Vert”, which was short for “vertical”. This was a reference to “vertical jump” which was to mean his success would always continue to be on the rise. Later on, he would add “Lil Uzi”, which came about when someone described his rap style flow to be as fast as a machine gun. Lil Uzi Vert’s first EP under his new stage name Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1 was then released in January 2014.
The EP was part of the phonk genre, meaning it had elements and was inspired by the early 90’s rap from Memphis, Tennessee. The track also had trippy and psychedelic beats and mainly put most of its strengths into the track’s lyrics. The single “White Shit” was eventually released alongside a Youtube music video. The Spaceghostpurrp produced track went viral in 2017 within the hip-hop community and thus catapulted Vert into mainstream success.
Around the same time Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1 dropped, Vert caught the attention of ASAP Mop and Def Jam’s producer, Don Cannon, after DJ Diamond Kuts sampled one of Vert’s tracks on a radio station. After Cannon and Vert linked up, Vert was then signed to his The Academy imprint label and they shortly got to work to produce Lil Uzi Vert’s first mixtape which released in August 2014, The Real Uzi.
After The Real Uzi dropped, Vert was then signed to Generation Now, which was run by DJ Drama and an imprint label belonging to Don Cannon and Leighton Morrison.
After Vert signed with Atlantic Records, he followed this up by being featured in the Carnage track single “WDYW” that also featured ASAP Ferg and Rich the Kid. During this time, Vert also dropped a couple of tracks on SoundCloud such as “No Wait”, “Pressure” and “Dej Loaf”. These tracks were notable as they featured producer Metro Boomin and collaborations with Lil Durk. Vert then gained even more mainstream exposure when he showcased his talents in the Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa’s combined August 2015 tour, “Boys of Zummer”. This appearance on the tour exposed more people to Lil Uzi Vert and helped build exposure for him to a new and wider audience.
Vert’s follow up mixtape, Luv is Rage, dropped in October 2015, and featured up-and-coming rap producers TM88, Maaly Raw, and Sony Digital. The mixtape also featured his former tour mate and music inspiration, Wiz Khalifa and Young Thug. The mixtape did well once it dropped and was received positively by both fans and critics.
In 2016, Lil Uzi Vert paid homage to the late producer, ASAP Yams, with the release of the single “Money Longer”, which dropped on his Soundcloud and radio debut.
Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World
In April of that year, Lil Uzi Vert dropped his third and most commercial mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World. The mixtape popped up on the number 37 spot on the Billboard 200 when it dropped, which made the mixtape Lil Uzi Vert’s first appearance on the Billboard 200.
The mixtape would then go on to spend 55 weeks on the Top 200 and eventually would become certified Gold due to its success on the charts.
To further promote the mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert and Kodak Black then went on the “Parental Advisory” joint tour during May 2016.
By June, Lil Uzi Vert dropped the music video for the single “Money Longer” which then popped up on the Top 100 in July, making this another landmark in Vert’s career as this track was his first appearance on the chart when it debuted at number 92.
The track would continue to do well and eventually shot up to the number 54 slot and then became certified two-times platinum. Lil Uzi Vert’s second time on the Top 100 would happen with his Metro Boomin produced track “You Was Right”, which appeared at the number 89 spot but would eventually rise up the charts and then peak at the number 40 spot.
The Perfect LUV Tape
On July 31st, 2016 Lil Uzi Vert dropped The Perfect LUV Tape, his fourth mixtape that was also released on his 22nd birthday. The mixtape produced singles such as the Future featured “Seven Million” and “Erase You Social”. The mixtape would then appear at the number 55 spot on the Billboard Top 200 upon its initial release and would eventually become certified gold.
Later that year in October, Lil Uzi Vert made news when he said he would be joining The Weeknd on his upcoming tour.
Around the same time as the announcement of him appearing on The Weeknd’s tour, Lil Uzi Vert also dropped the news that he would be working with Gucci Mane on a mixtape set to be released sometime in November 2016. That same month, he surprised and excited fans when he announced that his first studio album, Luv Is Rage 2, was upcoming. However, the album was put through a series of delays prior to its release.
Uzi would then expand his career by working with Migos on “Bad and Boujee”, a single that was released in August 2013 from Migo’s Culture, their sophomore studio album. By January 2017, “Bad and Boujee” would chart the Billboard Hot 100 and became Uzi’s first number 1 chart single as a featured artist, which was his first-ever number 1 Top 100 track.
Luv is Rage 1.5
In February of that year, Uzi dropped the Luv Is Rage 1.5 EP while touring with The Weeknd. The EP did extremely well and was received positively for its nerdy references which included lyrics referencing various animes, borrowing and elevating instrumentals from the vastly popular role-playing game, Kingdom Hearts as well as references to American cartoons such as the Cartoon Network animated series, Steven Universe as well as mentions of hentai.
This EP was also thought to be Lil Uzi Vert’s foray into emo-rap due to its emotional lyrics dealing heartbreak, which is the theme for tracks such as “Luv Scars K.o 1600”. Lil Uzi Very also explores his darker thoughts on life when he also makes many references to suicide and depression with tracks such as the popular “XO Tour Llif3”. This was definitely Lil Uzi Vert’s most personal EP to that date.
The popularity of “XO Tour Llif3” on SoundCloud led to him premiering a live performance of the track during the European stint of The Weeknd’s tour. This led to the official track being added to streaming services like Spotify and Apple music the following week.
By April of that year, “Xo Tour Llif3” premiered at the number 49 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and leather peaked at number seven. This track became Lil Uzi Vert’s biggest and highest-charting song from his own collection, which as of August 2018, made the track certified six-times platinum
Luv is Rage 2
The follow-up album, Luv Is Rage 2 was still stuck in development hell to which led Lil Uzi Vert blaming the delay on DJ Drama when fans started to push for a release date. In late April, Don Cannon stated the album would not see a release date anytime soon but did say that Uzi’s breakout hit “XO Tour Llif3” would definitely be on the upcoming and highly-anticipated album.
While his upcoming album was delayed, Lil Uzi Vert continued to collaborate with other rappers such as with Playboi Carti on his August 2017 single “Woke Up Like This” which is from Carti’s self-titled debut mixtape, Playboi Carti. The two would also later perform the track as a pair at the 2017 Coachella.
The track was a smash and would go on to be certified platinum when it would peak at the number 76 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rumors started to circulate in early August from hip-hop social media personality DJ Akademiks that Uzi’s highly-anticipated Luv Is Rage 2 would be dropping that same month. To curb these rumors, Lil Uzi Vert surprised dropped the album at midnight on August 25, 2017, and as promised earlier in the year, the album featured the lead single “XO TOUR Llif3”.
The album would then go on to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart and would also go certified platinum. Luv Is Rage 2 also produced ten Hot 100 charting singles such as “Sauce It Up” and the Oh Wonder featured “The Way Life Goes”.
By September 2017, Lil Uzi Vert began teasing fans about a potential follow up to his third mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert vs The World. The working title of the follow up at the time was Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World 2 and would be a Playboi Carti collaboration.
Lil Uzi Vert’s joint tour with Playboi Carti was then announced as the “16*29 tour”. However, unfortunately, the tour was canceled shortly after being announced due to the fact that Lil Uzi Vert claimed he needed to take time to focus on his career.
However, later in September, Lil Uzi would then headline alongside Migos, The Weekend and Cardi B Power 105.1’s annual Powerhouse music celebration, in Brooklyn, New York
During this time, Lil Uzi Vert guest-starred on Nav’s platinum-certified single from his debut album Reckless, “Wanted You”. The track was released on November 3, 2017, celebrating Nav’s 28th birthday.
The music video for “The Way Life Goes” from Luv Is Rage 2 was dropped in December that year and eventually led to a Nicki Minaj-featured remix thus catapulting the track to land on the 24 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Lil Uzi Vert eventually made his way on the late-night talk show circuit when he performed this track during a live performance in February 2018 on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Lil Uzi then headed back to the studio and was guest featured on Travis Scott’s “Watch” which also featured Kanye West and released in May.
“Watch” did extremely well and even debuted on the Top 100 in the number 16 spot. During this time, Uzi was still cranking out guest features for other rappers when he appeared on the remix for Lil Tracy’s “Like a Farmer.
January 2018, Uzi dropped the news to excited fans that he had completed a new mixtape with famed producer, Wheezy. By May, it was confirmed that a new project from Uzi would be dropping sometime in 2018. By July, the rumor mill was a fire with gossip when Lil Uzi Vert went on Twitter and posted “Eternal Atake”, which everyone assumed was the name of his second studio album. Vert fueled these tumors when he pinned the tweet to his twitter.
To drum up even more hype around the upcoming album, Vert later posted the cover art of the album across his social media profiles.
The cover art for Eternal Atake made national news when it was discovered there were references to the cult of Heaven’s Gate, which was made famous in 1997 when most of its members committed mass ritual suicide. This led to the two surviving members of the cult to take legal action against Vert as they claimed Uzi was copying the cult’s logo style. However, as of date, no lawsuit has been filed.
“New Patek”, Eternal Atake’s speculative lead single, was released that September. Uzi was then featured on October 2018’s “Multi Millionaire” from Lil Pump’s sophomore album, Harverd Dropout.
In April 2019, Lil Uzi Vert started having label issues with Generation Now, which ultimately led to him signing over to the Roc Nation label instead. Under his new contract with Roc Nation, Uzi released the two tracks “Sanguine Paradise” and “That’s a Rack”. These two tracks were also speculated to be on the upcoming Eternal Atake.
Uzi released “Futsal Shuffle 2020” around December 2018 which would then be revealed as the actual album single for Eternal Atake. Lil Uzi Vert followed up in March 2020 with the album’s second single, “That Way”.
Eternal Atake finally dropped on March 6m 2020 much to the excitement of his fans. The release date of the album was dropped a week earlier from when it was originally predicted to debut and the eighteen track album also featured a guest appearance from Syd. Due to the growing hype of the album, it would end up debuting
Eternal Atake was then released on March 6, 2020, with a sole guest appearance from American singer Syd. The release date of the album was a week earlier than fans expected it to release, which caused the album to receive a lot more buzz and ultimately debuted on the Billboard Top 200 and became Vert’s second number one album in the US.
Lil Uzi teased fans that a deluxe edition of Eternal Atake and the sequel to his July 2016 mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World, titled Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World 2 would drop soon.
The deluxe edition of Eternal Atake would feature fourteen additional tracks, and feature appearances from Gunna, Future, 21 Savage, Young Thug, Lil Durk, Young Nudy and Nav.
Eternal Atake continued to be a commercial success and even maintained a leading “number one digital streams” position with the album having 400 million streams in early 2020, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic which forced a lot of people to stay at home and thus lead to them downloading and purchasing music digitally.
Because of the album’s digital streams success, Eternal Atake now had the largest streaming count for any album since 2018 when Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter V.
Lil Uzi Vert then dropped the new single, “Sasuke” in April 2020 which was the first single from the deluxe edition of the album. By July, Lil Uzi was also appearing in remixes such as “Party Girl” from StaySolifRocky. Later, both Uzi and Future began to hint on their social media accounts at the upcoming track, “Pluto x Baby Pluto”. The track was eventually released on July 31st, 2020.
Lil Uzi Vert’s style of rap has also been compared to rock music mixed with emo rap. He is also considered a lo-fi rapper and many comparisons have been made between him and Lil Wayne.
Lil Uzi Vert has been named as someone to pay attention to by numerous music news outlets. Lil Uzi Vert has been praised for his signature rapid rap delivery as well as using articulate artistry to signify his natural entertainer person who will most certainly push music towards a new and innovative future in pop.