Despite the presence of a monster album from a Tennessee titan who skews projections a bit with his continued dominance at the top of the charts, 2023 has sparked quite a few op-eds about the year as the first since the ’90s in not having had a number one hip. -album hopping until the end of July. With most of its top stars seemingly stuck in a creative rut, it makes sense that an album as wild and chaotic as Pink tape – the project anticipated by Lil Uzi Vert fans for years – should become the first of the year to achieve that distinction. From fiery trap anthems to emo and nu-metal-inspired cuts, both sides of the coin offering both the good and the bad in typical Lil Uzi style, some of music’s most innovative and forward-thinking minds also color the list. of producers. Running for nearly an hour and a half, however, Lil Uzi’s famously wacky mind sometimes boils over into disorganized messes that fall apart at the seams. However, as we know all too well throughout his career, they occasionally strike gold.
The opening track “Flooded the Face” is one of the most powerful tracks on the project from a hip-hop standpoint, and shows why you can always trust Uzi to open the floodgates of the genre into more interesting areas when things start to feel stagnant. With thumping bass and overlays on their deep vocals as they deliver the catchy hook, it all feels larger than life as they glide over a psychedelic synth beat. “Suicide Doors” raises the energy even higher, which makes it very moving that Uzi introduces one of the most experimental tracks on the album with a recording of some judgmental comments about the way they dress. With Arca in production, the grinding guitar riffs combined with Uzi’s improvisations being yelled at the top of his lungs is a truly mind-blowing experience – no one uses their voice quite like them as they take on the eccentricities of someone like Young Thug in full. . new level. Uzi’s main jam now is an elongated death metal scream that sounds more like a hissing cat, but for some reason, it really works. A track like “Amped” brings in complex live drums and a nu-metal sound to really accommodate it, as Uzi dials in the squeals and screeches all the way for a hectic, weird track that’s nearly impossible to critically assess—you just have to listen to it. believe it. Most of the album’s tracks have big elements toned down by the wrong decision, and “Crush Em” is the first in a long line: an incredibly repetitive hook takes the energy out of a sung snippet that’s dropped with a flurry of syllables, while “Aye” wastes a superbly mixed violin-focused beat from BNYX by filling most of it with yeses, huhs, woes, and a feature of Travis Scott on the phone.
The utter silliness with which Lil Uzi approaches much of what they do is often very fine. On “x2,” they mention an Instagram account that spreads rumors and call it their “biggest break,” saying they lost their breath in the middle of the song, and conclude the song with an extended song. Twilight reference where they officially claim Team Jacob. With a chaotic cascade of synths at the back, it actually all works and reaffirms its cartoonish spirit. When a song is more of a jumbled mess of motifs, like “Died and Came Back,” it just makes you wonder what the hell you’re listening to a bit more. Opening the track by yelling “rigatoni is not spaghetti” has to be one of the biggest head scratchers of the year. The album starts to fall apart a bit in the middle section – “Spin Again” is a minute and a half long and woke the internet up with an Ice Spice reference – but it actually feels unnecessary for being so obviously bland and average. for an Uzi song. “Esa Fiya” is delivered mostly in a screeching falsetto as Uzi takes a couple of breaks to ramble on about which makes they prefer, which cars are harder to get intimate with, and counts to 9 for no reason. “I Gotta,” on the other hand, brings in an arena-ready synth groove that acts as a horn section (it’s reminiscent of old-school Drake), as Uzi unleashes some triplets and makes great use of the word. “ridiculous”. It is immediately quotable. The first half ends with “Endless Fashion”, which has been mocked by many for being yet another “I’m Blue” sample, but the sample is so popular for a reason and mostly bad, as a reference. questionable from Nicki Minaj’s MAGA, is overridden by the joy of hearing Uzi sing the famous tune with childish glee.
However, a version that doesn’t work quite as well arrives in the form of the track “CS”, which is really just a straight version of System of a Down’s “Chop Suey”. As Uzi utterly destroys the chorus’ beat over an instrumental that feels like a watered-down version of the original and leaves extended periods where the original song hits blank, it’s a major misfire. In other sample news, only Lil Uzi Vert could put interpolations of “Someone I Used To Know” and “I Hate Being Sober” on the same track. “Mama, I’m Sorry” is a calmer melodic tune in which Uzi uses his fondness for an ear-grabbing hook to apologize to his mother for a fast-paced lifestyle that could lead to their death. early. “All Alone” is another that leans on melodic hooks and cartoony, bubbly beats reminiscent of his earlier work, Uzi singing the chorus as they toast his generational wealth. Both fit into a more standard track section, but serve as a nice respite from the craziness, and the “my circle is tight as some Cheerios” line is pretty inspired. The song “Nakamura”, however, might be the best on the album, as Uzi channels the energy of a wrestling intro track, namely Shinsuke Nakamura’s stadium chant. It’s one of the most raucous tracks on the project, and it’s sure to be amazing to witness on tour. “Fire Alarm” is another completely off-kilter idea that catches on, as they enlist progressive electropop duo Snow Strippers and drop their vocals into a dark trap cut that showcases the siren of Silent Hill. Also in this section is the smash hit “Just Wanna Rock”, the success of which still baffles me since it’s barely a song.
To fully bring home the Uzi influences on this project, a true metalcore band on Bring Me The Horizon hits the track “Werewolf.” It’s undeniably well done, but when accompanied by Uzi taking a hint about turning into a werewolf a little too seriously, it feels like it was made for a Sonic game soundtrack. “Pluto to Mars” and “Patience” are slower-paced tracks that drag on a bit too long, the latter finding the tempo too slow as Uzi repeatedly drags the name of his drug of choice, before “Days Come and Go.” “. ” offers a final gem on the track listing. With a genuinely moving tune, Uzi talks about his insecurities. “Rehab” doesn’t have quite as strong a musical impact, but it’s still fascinating to hear Uzi continue to speak candidly, this time about his experiences in rehab and a woman he really connected with and offered guidance as he He was there. “The End” brings the chaos back with a BABYMETAL feature. It’s completely weird, but if anyone was going to fit Uzi’s influences, oddly enough, it’s a J-pop metal outfit.
Pink tape it certainly throws a lot of ideas against the wall, and only half of them stick, but in a world where most of hip-hop’s biggest stars seem incapable of reinventing themselves, it was the job of someone like Lil Uzi Vert to inject a bit of that. adventurous spirit back to the genre, even when it goes a bit off the rails. It is an ambitious and respectable collection.
Favorite songs: Nakamura, Suicide Doors, Flooded The Face, Days Come And Go, I Gotta
Least Favorite Track: That Price