‘Eternal Atake’/‘Lil Uzi Vert vs the World 2’ Fails to Satisfy

Lil Uzi Vert’s long anticipated album is largely forgettable and indistinct

Lil Uzi Vert’s long anticipated album is largely forgettable and indistinct

Photo Courtesy Apple Music

Lil Uzi Vert’s long anticipated album is largely forgettable and indistinct

Sean Yagi, Staff Writer

Lil Uzi Vert (real name Symere Woods) took music charts by storm earlier this month with the release of his long anticipated album “Eternal Atake,” boasting the largest streaming week on any album since 2018, and the fourth largest streaming week ever at 400 million on demand streams

Woods didn’t rest on his laurels, however, as the next week he released a deluxe edition of the record, “Lil Uzi Vert vs the World 2,” a follow up to both “Eternal Atake” and his 2016 mixtape “Lil Uzi Vert vs the World.” The deluxe version nearly doubled the tracklist with 12 additional songs, extending the playtime of the entire joint project to a whopping 1 hour and 45 minutes spread across 32 tracks.

The long runtime of the album may be to its detriment however, as Woods’ lyrical and thematic shallowness demands for unique flows, strong vocal performances and catchy instrumentals to take the driver’s seat to be entertaining. Woods’ songs generally fit neatly within the generic lines of trap braggadocio, spitting about the luxuries exclusive to him. Seemingly the only thing that elevates him from being just another trap rapper is his fast machine gun-like flow for which he is named, and strong production traditionally tailor-made for him by trusted collaborator Maaly-Raw (real name Jamal Talib Henry). 

However, despite being a sequel to 2016’s “Lil Uzi Vert vs the World,” in which Henry produced a third of the songs, “Lil Uzi Vert vs the World 2” includes no production by Henry, as Woods turns to an endless number of alternative beatmakers for the album. The unique flows put on display by Woods on prior releases devolve into worn-out motifs indicative of an artist trying to forcefully reverse engineer a hit.

Furthermore, when Woods released the tracklist for the album prior to the project’s release, red flags appeared in the form of a lack of featured artists on the album. However, this was made up for on the deluxe with an abundance of artists working with Woods to varying levels of success.

The album starts off with the track “Myron,” which exemplifies the main problem with the project: none of the songs are distinct enough to stand out as a hit, as on each track he displays the same flows, lyrical content and trap instrumentals. “Myron” has a passable instrumental, with a pattern of light, upbeat synth chords with basic percussion backing the vocals. However, Woods’ flow on the track doesn’t differ from anything he’s done in the past and doesn’t evolve over the course of the song. 

Things only deteriorate for the next couple of tracks, as the songs lose their sense of structure and the instrumentals become more bland, minimal and repetitive. 

The fourth track of the album — “Yessirskiii” — restores hope in the project’s potential, as Woods obtains the help of fellow rapper 21 Savage (real name Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) and producer Pierre Bourne (real name Jordan Timothy Jenks). Jenks delivers the best production on the album with a spacey, melodic beat that is complemented by Abraham-Joseph’s stripped-back vocals. Abraham-Joseph transitions from his quick, multisyllabic flow near the beginning of the track to a slow, overly enunciated flow which rides the wavy production perfectly. Woods varies his cadence just enough to keep the listener interested on the latter half of the track.

Another patch of mediocrity hits soon after “Yessirskiii,” with songs that run for far too long with redundant sounds that only succeed at forming an amorphous block of trap rap resulting in listeners not being able to distinguish where one song ends and another begins.

The deluxe portion of the album ends with a mixed batch of songs, including bangers like “Moon Relate,” “No Auto” and “Leaders,” where Woods and his featured artists share unique flows, vocal deliveries and explore slightly different topics rather than the usual serving of women, fashion and money. Sadly, the tracklist is dragged down by songs that sound like any of Woods’ prior work copy pasted on a trap beat being mass produced in a factory.

The non-deluxe portion of the album is where the main issue with the album — the lack of a unique sound — really gets amplified. Without the feature support that Woods had on the first leg of the project, his solo material alone can’t carry him through 18 three-minute songs.

Songs like “Prices,” “Chrome Heart Tags” and “Bust Me” were highlights, as they had some semblance of structure with clear instrumentals and catchy vocals, but a large majority of the other songs sounded homogenous and structurally disjointed.

“Prices” far overshoots the bar set by the rest of the album, showing Woods on the top of his game vocally, delivering what may be the best hook on the project with a bold, well articulated voice demanding respect from the listener. His delivery juxtaposes the ethereal beat perfectly, with the choir humming in the back of the instrumental painting a heavenly scene as Woods’ commanding voice soars above.

One song in particular — “POP” — shows the limits of Woods’ ability to carry a track by himself. The beat is too slow and sounds like a metal beam groaning under too much stress. Woods’ quick flow doesn’t fit the slow instrumental, and throughout the song it sounds as if Woods is stalling for time to think of new lyrics to spit, as he repeats the same lines over and over again. The rhyme scheme is so simple it sounds as if he is reading out of a PG-13 Dr. Seuss book, and at one point near the end of the track, he repeats the word “Balenci’” 15 times in a row without interruption. While “POP” was the guiltiest transgressor, many more songs were just as uninspiring as this track, which made listening to the second leg of the album a chore.

The normal release of the album ends with the same mediocrity it displayed for much of its duration. The final song of the album, “That Way,” again exemplifies Woods lack of originality as he samples the hook of “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, and even plagiarizes art drawn by a Korean artist for the single’s cover. While the song itself isn’t terrible, it doesn’t stand out as being any different from the rest of his discography or anybody else’s.

While there are some gems in the track list, they are few and far between, and require the listener to skip a vast majority of the album. Woods’ attempt at a project of this length failed to meet the expectations of listeners due to a general blandness felt throughout the tracks. If this project revealed anything, it was a lack of Wood’s creative vision and willingness to stray not only from industry clichés but from his own past mediocrity. 2.5/5