Published Mar 09, 2020The breadth of styles and sounds that Lil Uzi Vert explores on Eternal Atake is as vast as the cosmos on the LP's cover art.
Supposedly an intergalactic concept album — especially on the skits; earthly lyrics about cars, girls and industry status abound on the songs — the Philadelphia rapper's sophomore major label effort boasts futuristic, infectiously catchy production. Key track "Homecoming," for instance, features percussion that sounds like it was distorted by a black hole's gravitational force, along with synths that drone and chirp like a Star Trek gadget. The instrumental on "I'm Sorry," meanwhile, whirs and pulses like an android's innards. And the tightly sampled laser sound effects and RED ALERT-esque klaxons on "You Better Move" amount to a fun and engaging sci-fi soundscape.
Kudos to producers like Brandon Finessin (a longtime collaborator), Bugz Ronin, Oogie Mane and Supah Mario. Their skills behind the boards make the album sound as epic as a space opera. Those producers don't merely complement the shooting-star lyrical non sequiturs that Uzi fans love— they also make the music catchy enough to lure in haters of the rapper's offbeat bars.
And while Uzi is lyrically light years behind Kendrick Lamar, J Cole or even contemporary 21 Savage, he's an undeniably versatile performer on Eternal Atake. So yes, his puns about denial v. the Nile river, or his boasts about being like Mother Goose, land with laughable thuds (though perhaps that's this fun-loving MC's intent?). But Uzi nimbly switches from relatedly lovelorn speak-singing on "Bust Me" to rugged, speedy punch line powerhouse on the very next track, "Prices." That transition is merely one of the energetic and unpredictable performative tricks Uzi pulls off on this stadium sized LP.
For these reasons and more, rap and pop fans alike will surely deem Eternal Atake worth the wait after the notorious industry drama that lead to years of delays and hype. (Atlantic)