It's no secret that Lil Uzi Vert doesn't stick to the norms of rap and hip-hop. From his fashion sense to his sampling choices, he's always been someone that isn't afraid to subvert the boundaries of genre, and make music that is innovative and ahead of the curve.
To celebrate the wonderful weirdness that is Lil Uzi Vert, as well as his new collaborative album with Future, Pluto x Baby Pluto, we've put together a few reasons why Lil Uzi Vert has managed to change the way rappers look at genres, and how he's made a lane for himself by making music that excites him, rather than what's the flavour of the month.
1. He's a huge fan of the Backstreet Boys
On Lil Uzi Vert's Eternal Atake single That Way, he decided to sample the Backstreet Boys - a band from his childhood. Growing up in Philadelphia, they played non-stop on the radio, and I Want It That Way was one of their biggest songs.
The sample forms the basis of That Way and shows off another side to Uzi's sound. It's a left-field choice for a sample, but in typical Uzi fashion, after hearing it it's clearly the perfect choice for the track.
It even got the approval of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter, who also wants Uzi to feature on their next album. Nick took to Twitter to talk about the track, saying, "OMG! Freaking LOVE @LILUZIVERT now you’re gonna have to be featured on our next album bud."
OMG ! Freaking LOVE @LILUZIVERT now you’re gonna have to be featured on our next album bud. #LilUziVert #backstreetboys #liluzibackstreetboys #ThatWay #iwantitthatway #newuzi #uzibackstreet #backstreetboysuzi https://t.co/e2u0CFnnfT
— Nick Carter (@nickcarter) March 1, 2020
Thanks Nick ?? https://t.co/rOAc4MbrfU
— BABY PLUTO ?????? (@LILUZIVERT) March 3, 2020
2. Uzi made emo/pop-punk rap huge
When Lil Uzi released his track XO Tour Llif3, he made a club banger that was perfect for the emo generation. It's no surprise that he embraced emo music in his raps, because he's a huge fan of emo and pop-punk.
One of Uzi's favourite songs is Paramore's Ain't It Fun. Speaking to Zane Lowe back in 2017, he said that Hayley Williams is one of his biggest inspirations. “She’s like the best. It’s hard to top that. She’s like the best, just of my generation... There’s nobody bro.”
3. He's actually a rockstar, not a rapper
At his 2018 Sydney show, Lil Uzi declared himself to be the only living rockstar. It's not the first time he's said it, either, saying the same thing in a 2016 interview with Hot 97, as well as on Playboi Carti's Woke Up Like This.
In many ways, rap is the new rock music, which Uzi recognises. His attitude, fashion sense and symbolism in his music ties him more to rock than it does to rap, and he's proud of that.
4. He's more of a fashion icon than a musician, at least according to him
Uzi's Instagram is a dedication to his style, and he thinks that his dress sense is his best quality. Speaking to GQ, he says that fashion is his true passion, and something that takes up most of his time.
Speaking about his fits, Uzi says, "Honestly, in my heart, I think I do this better than music." It's a sentiment that designer Virgil Abloh echoed, saying, "Lil Uzi isn't even human. He is another level of a creative being.
"To me he is an Impressionist painter replacing pigments with ready-made brands and clothes."
5. He's also got some serious directing chops
As part of the promotion for Eternal Atake, Uzi dropped a short film, BabyPluto. It was his way of introducing us to his alter ego Baby Pluto, and was directed by both Uzi and Gibson Hazard.
The film features Uzi working in an office building, before things start to get seriously weird. We don't want to spoil it for you, but it's fair to say that Uzi could have a future in the movie industry if he goes down that path down the track.
6. He's a huge fan of a moshpit
When you go to a Lil Uzi Vert show, chances are you'll end up part of a moshpit. It's something that he loves starting at his shows, and something he seeks out in his own life.
Back in 2018, a clip of Uzi moshing at a Lorna Shore show (a death metal band) got everyone's attention, because he looks like he's having the time of his life. Is there a more genuinely happy musician in the world than Uzi?
7. He's a self-confessed anime lover
When he's not making music, chances are you'll catch Uzi watching anime. In his music he's referenced series like Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Pokémon and more, and he's not afraid to show off his love for Japanese culture.
More recently, we were introduced to his wild anime car collection, including cars emblazoned with Cowboy Bebop designs, as well as characters from the manga series Disu x Komi and Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor. When you're a superstar, you can get your cars looking like they've come straight out of a cartoon.
8. He can still out-rap your favourite rapper
When he's not making genre-defying music, Uzi is featuring on more traditional rap tunes, and absolutely bodying them. It's no surprise that the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, Juice WRLD, Lil Baby, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Future and more have all gotten Uzi to jump on a track with them.
While he's not afraid to push the boundaries, he's also got the respect of his contemporaries. He's a bonafide superstar, and he's gotten there by doing things his way.