Review Summary: Uzi delivers a diverse dose of melodic pop rap
A lot happened in the year and a half since Lil Uzi Vert teased a cult inspired album cover and the title for his newest album, Eternal Atake. Since then, speculation about the album and Uzi’s career status has run rampant, label arguments that look more like daytime soaps than the Instagram videos they are have been posted, and a whole industry of buying and selling snippets and leaks has arisen, some of the most coveted of which can sell for thousands of dollars. With all the hype and controversy surrounding Eternal Atake, when it surprisingly dropped this week, the biggest question on the minds of many fans and critics was: “Does it live up to the hype?”
To answer simply, and somewhat surprisingly, yes. Uzi and his team have crafted an 18 track (that may expand with an upcoming deluxe version) behemoth of a pop rap album. While this album superficially resembles scores of other trap rap albums that dominate the current pop culture musicscape, Eternal Atake offers a much more eclectic and intriguing listening experience.
First off, to better understand Eternal Atake, and coincidentally Uzi himself, one must break the album into three sections. Each section contains a different style, delivered by an alter-ego of the eccentric emcee. The album kicks off with the track titled after one of the most recently devised personalities, Baby Pluto. This track, and the opening part of the album, show Uzi deploying a blistering flow over an uptempo trap beat. Baby Pluto is a perfect album opener, offering one of Uzi’s best flows to date and preparing the listener for a relentless no frills series of tracks that prove Uzi is more than just a melodic crooner. While Uzi is by no means the greatest rapper bar for bar, the first part of the album packs an energy that is soon furthered as the album transitions to part two.
The middle section of this album allows Uzi to expand beyond the faster flows and more basic beats into his forte of melodic hip hop anthems with soaring choruses. The songs in this section stand out from the more generic sounds of the first section, and are head and shoulders above the legions of contemporary rappers aspiring to mix vocal melodies with more traditional rap deliveries. Celebration Station exemplifies this style, with Uzi repetitively singing in his trademark tone over a bright, bouncy beat done by Working on Dying that incorporates well placed ambient vocal samples to create a euphoric dance meets cloud rap background. However, this extravagant soundscape never overtakes Uzi himself. This section also exemplifies the polish of this album. The beat selection, as well as the overall mixing of the album is as lively as Uzi himself. Chrome Heart Tags is another standout track that shows Uzi working over the most beautiful and well produced beat fellow rapper Chief Keef has ever produced. This stretch of tracks are something only Lil Uzi Vert executes well in the current pop rap scene, leaning hard into uplifting melodies while not losing the songs to poor writing or boring vocals.
Finally, the album comes to a close with a string of tracks that keep up the melodic pop rap style, while twisting it in a more melancholy tone. Here we find highlight track Venetia, that sees Uzi using a nicely sung flow throughout the whole song. Fans of previous hit XO Tour Lif3 will surely enjoy this, as well as the redone version of this song P2. The album ends with two singles as bonus tracks, likely to increase sales through streaming numbers, but also not taking away from the album itself.
The inclusion of these final two songs sums up Eternal Atake about as well as such a long and varied album could be. While Uzi’s label clearly helped concoct this colossus of a pop rap collection that in order to see sales numbers in the six digit range, it is in no way an uninspired effort from Lil Uzi himself. Unlike many of the overstuffed rap albums that are all too ubiquitous these days, Eternal Atake never loses steam and is easy to replay, mostly thanks to the decision of Uzi to feature all of his different musical sides. The album sees Lil Uzi Vert at his most consistent, as well as his most bizarre. Uzi is certainly not the best lyricist, and some of the songs don’t quite hold up to the quality of the top tracks, but overall the album is an excellent entry into the current world of pop rap. With Eternal Atake, Lil Uzi Vert has crafted an album that doesn’t only sound better than the average melodic hip hop project common on streaming platforms nowadays, but one that also displays a genuinely inspired and interesting personality so often lacking in this style of music.