Future Stars: Lil Uzi Vert (Atlantic)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

The hip-hop scene may be constantly moving with the trends, but one thing never seems to go out of fashion – being called Lil. The latest proudly petite rapper is Lil Uzi Vert, real name Symere Woods, who is 5”4. His debut album went to no.1 last week on the US album chart, the Billboard 200. Confusingly titled Luv Is Rage 2, it’s a follow-up to his first mixtape Luv Is Rage, released in 2015. And as the title suggests, his music certainly has a darkness to it that distinguishes it from his contemporaries. The 23-year-old takes inspiration from rock music, citing Marilyn Manson as an influence, alongside Kanye, Pharrell, and other inventive rap artists. He first came to prominence collaborating with ASAP Ferg in 2015, and when the Luv Is Rage mixtape emerged a few months later, it featured two even bigger names, his Atlantic labelmates Wiz Khalifa and Young Thug. However, it wasn’t until early 2017 that he achieved mainstream success. His biggest hit so far has been as a featured artist on Migos’ Bad and Boujee, a US no.1 single back in January, but he gained individual recognition at last week’s VMAs, where his single XO Tour Llif3 won the Song of the Summer award. The video for XO Tour Llif3 has almost 300 million views, even though it is simply a cartoon of Lil Uzi driving. He also appeared on the VMAs performing the track with Ed Sheeran as a medley with Shape Of You, although as many media outlets have agreed, Cardi B’s reaction was the highlight of the performance.

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