Nothing is ever linear when it comes to Lil Uzi Vert. Album rollouts take years instead of weeks, and titles, track lists and release dates are all malleable until the moment these projects hit streaming services. Uzi proved this once again this past week with their brand new EP/mixtape Red & White, with a release so drawn out that we couldn’t even tell you what the release date was.
It becomes crystal clear after the first full listen of the nine-song tape (10 songs on SoundCloud) that this served as a catharsis for Uzi. While some of it may be self-inflicted, the dramatic build-up and impatience from fans for an album, in this case Uzi’s upcoming studio album The Pink Tape, can bring with it so much pressure to succeed.
The last full-length solo project that came from Vert was March 2020’s Eternal Atake and its LUV vs. The World 2 deluxe a week later. An entire global pandemic has taken course since the last time we got a pack of solo Uzi tracks, considering their’s and Future‘s collab album Pluto x Baby Pluto came in Oct. 2020.
So, Uzi’s steady release of Red & White feels like them saying, “Sorry for the wait,” pretty much like Lil Wayne did with his mixtapes literally titled Sorry 4 the Wait 1 & 2 before he put out Tha Carters IV & V. What gives the EP/mixtape this overwhelming sense of acknowledgement of the fanbase is the fact that most of these tracks were likely not made during sessions for The Pink Tape, and are songs that they’ve either previewed in years past or were intended to land on previous albums of theirs. Uzi’s quite literally feeding their fans with songs they’ve been dying to add to their libraries.
Whether it be “I KNOW” and “FLEX UP,” both teased in 2017 and were cut from Luv Is Rage 2, or the electric intro and outro “SPACE CADET” and “F.F.“, both previewed by Uzi last summer in 2021, fans’ dedication is being rewarded all throughout the project.
But, not only is this just a nostalgic gift for fans, especially because it sees the reunion of Uzi and their longtime frequent collaborator Maaly Raw on production, but the music is also just great. While tying in fitting, attractive space-themed elements that they introduced on Eternal Atake, Uzi’s energy, effort, beat selection and charisma all over this thing are the best we’ve seen from them in a long while.
Uzi makes lightning in a bottle feel like an every day thing on here, with each idea or decision hitting its mark. The infectious, melodic “I know you hear me calling” hook on “SPACE CADET,” the repetitive, upbeat “ISSA HIT” declarations, the wacky, gender-role-obliterating “GLOCK IN MY PURSE” flow and the toned-down delivery and groovy instrumental on “FOR FUN” all remind hip-hop fans why Uzi is “one of one,” which they rapped on “CIGARETTE.”
On Red & White, Uzi got both the fans that were already hyped for The Pink Tape, and the ones that needed some convincing, to turn up their excitement levels as high as they can go. If this is a preview of the quality of music we can expect from Uzi on their upcoming studio album, sign us up.
Get ready for ‘PINK’ by mixing ‘RED & WHITE’ below!