Let me just start by saying, I’ve been a fan of Uzi for a while now, at least a couple years. His feature on the DJ Carnage track WDYW is what grabbed my attention, his verse and hook being arguably the best part of that entire track. He brought a new energy and melodic style to hip hop that hadn’t really been seen before, influenced by his love of alt rock as a kid. Fast forward to now, with 3 projects under his belt and one of the biggest songs this year with XO Tour Life, and Uzi has blown up to be one of the biggest artists of the new generation, and LUV is Rage 2 one of my most anticipated prjoects. The first iteration had a wide variety in terms of style and flow, gave him his first shine, and each of his follow up projects showed a lot of growth and sound evolution. I had high hopes for what 2 could bring to the table, and while what we got was cool, it falls short of being the vibrant and definitive Uzi project it could have been.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good music of the album. Pretty Mami is a bop, 444+222 showcases Uzi’s super strong flow, Neon Guts delivers one of the best Pharrell features in a minute. From the jump you get hints of classic Uzi style, and a lot more metal influence than before without a darker theme that’s carried throughout the entire project. But digging deeper, LIR2 has very few strengths and a lot of weaknesses. A lot of the problems I have with the project come from what feels like a lack of creative control on Uzis part. In my opinion a few of the tracks feel sort of awkward, limited, and more “safe” than a Uzis previous projects, majority of the album feeling designed to appeal a mainstream audience. There’s only a handful of tracks I have in rotation, and while the album is good sonically, it for the most part lacks in terms of content and creativity. I get that being his first official album, the label would want something widely accessible, but throughout the album you can hear a lot of restriction on his creative process. Like, Scott and Ramona, off of Lil Uzi Vs. The World, feels more organic of a love song that something like The Way Life Goes, which comes off a bit generic and seems sort of like a plant. Dark Queen being his version of a mom love song is cool, but other than that, it, like most of the other tracks, has no real depth or substance.
I really wanted this be one of the best projects this year, and while the strength of Uzis fanbase pushed it to be the number one album in the country, musically it just didn’t live up to what I’ve come to expect from Uzi as an artist. While there’s a few issues, he does show out a couple times on the project. Neon Guts is one of the best tracks to come out this year, easily one of the best on the album. Pharrells classic four count into the best and most vibrant production amps you up, and both Skatebord P and Uzi glide over their verses. There’s nothing on the album that’s super bad, but only a select few songs have any real staying power. Lack of features isn’t really an issue, because all throughout his catalog Uzi has proven his ability to stand on his own in his music, but they do leave something to be desired. The Weeknd feature is just ok, doesn’t really add anything to the project. If anything, it would have been cool to see someone like Playboi Carti on the album, just because of how strong we’ve already seen his and Uzis chemistry on a track to be.
All in all, it was a nice introduction of Uzi for people who may have never really listened to his music, but it’s all really surface level material. I’m sure after seeing the sales he got off this project, he’ll be awarded more creative freedom, so maybe we’ll get more of the raw unfiltered Uzi I’ve grown to love. I’d give this one about a 6 out of 10.