Lil Uzi Vert, Luv is Rage 2 | Album Review
Lil Uzi Vert showcases his idiosyncrasies and potential on his proper debut album, ‘Luv is Rage 2.’ Unfortunately, the LP falls short of the glory.
The new breed of rapper is a very, very frightening one. Over the years, things have changed in the game. There’s nothing wrong with evolution and experimentation, but, not all of that experimentation is well-rounded. Yes friends, gone are the days where clear, meaningful bars with a purpose characterizes the rapper. Lil Uzi Vert is part of this new breed. The newcomer has a respectable following. Why? Personally, not quite sure why, but “to each his own.” August 25, he dropped his proper debut album, Luv is Rage 2. It’s interesting…
Starting with the good. Lil Uzi Vert has a distinct sound as a rapper. Distinction in a crowded field is always a pro. Even if Luv is Rage 2 is scattered, the rapper retains his uniqueness in regards to tone. Autotune contributes to that tone, of course. Nonconformity definitely pays off. Also, generally, Luv is Rage 2 is filled with strong production work. The drums hit hard, the bass and the 808s are robust, and the synths are slick. The sound isn’t as distinct as Uzi himself, but he always has a solid backdrop accompanying him.
In regards to songs, there are some highlights. “The Way Life Goes” finds Lil Uzi Vert pop-rapping/singing. This plays to his melodic strengths, particularly given his tone. Again, he’s drenched in autotune, but who isn’t these days? See Future, Young Thug, and Lil Yachty. “The Way Life Goes” sounds more like an urban contemporary song as opposed to rap. Given the new normal, he gets a pass. While the execution of “Dark Queen” is debatable, the theme and message aren’t. Lyrics like, “She don’t want me locked up / Momma I’m gon’ wash up” stand out, particularly given the reality of numerous incarcerated black men.
Additionally, Lil Uzi Vert has other moments. With only two collaborations, both give the album a lift. Sure, “Neon Guts” featuring Pharrell Williams is left field, but it fits both parties involved. This is an instance where eccentricity bodes well. The Weeknd sounds great on “UnFazed,” arguably stealing the show from Uzi. Also, closer “XO TOUR Llif3” can’t be left out of the mix, given its hit-status. It’s quirky, but did spend time in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for a reason.
With pros come cons. Unfortunately for Lil Uzi Vert, Luv is Rage 2 is chocked full of them. As a whole, Luv is Rage 2 sounds like one, great, big, fat mixtape. While mixtapes are permitted to be ‘all over the place,’ one expects more from an album. Even with great production work, Luv is Rage 2 lacks strong material, cohesion, and ultimately, a definitive characterization of who Lil Uzi Vert is artistically. Yes, we get the impression that he is distinct, BUT, what does he wish to do with his distinctiveness. Interestingly, to some extent, perhaps Luv is Rage 2 would benefit from being slightly more predictable.
While there are handful of highlights, there are plenty of low-lights in regards to songs. The beginning of Luv is Rage 2 begins clunky with “Two®,” which doesn’t leave a lasting impression. While the toughness of “444+222” is appreciated, the question is, ‘what’s your point Lil Uzi Vert?’ Where does this oddly titled track fit in the bigger scheme of things? Repetition and gimmickry also hurt the quality of Luv is Rage 2. “Pretty Mami” is definitely a miss, and one that exceeds the four-minute mark. Why oh, why oh, why?
As an artist, Lil Uzi Vert is an acquired taste. His nonconformity should be respected, nonetheless. As for Luv is Rage 2, it’s a big mess. There’s promise, but at nearly an hour with a lack of strong, accessible material, it falls short. While condensing this effort wouldn’t be enough to make it a surefire hit, it would’ve helped. The potential is there for Lil Uzi, but he needs to turn it into something better rounded than Luv is Rage 2 is.
Gems: “The Way Life Goes,” “Neon Guts,” “UnFazed,” “Dark Queen,” & “XO TOUR Llif3”