Let’s not sell Lil Uzi Vert short. The Grammy-nominated Philadelphia rapper is a commanding, dynamic performer with incredible charisma, athletic stamina and a daredevil’s drive to completely obliterate the boundary between artist and audience. It was what grabbed us here at The Key when we first encountered him, jumping offstage and climbing on top of food vending trucks at the Roots Picnic, finishing his set perched on high, dancing for an energized audience below.
This was the Lil Uzi that took the stage last night to a sold-out crowd at Temple’s Liacouras Center for his year-end throwdown, A Very Uzi Christmas. The basketball arena was decked out in tune with the rapper’s goth-inspired aesthetic — open caskets on either side of the stage pumping pulsing light and dry ice outward, two LED boards in the shape of inverted crosses — and as Uzi leapt from the upper deck to the front row to the bumping bass of “444+222” from this year’s Luv Is Rage 2, sashaying between pyrotechnic plumes, it was pretty clear: this show could have been Uzi and Uzi alone, and it would have been an incredible night.
But that’s not how it went down. Continue reading →
2017 has been a record-breaking year for North Philly rap star Lil Uzi Vert. Before releasing the full length Luv Is Rage 2, Uzi’s “XO TOUR Llif3” went quadruple-platinum, breaking multiple records for streaming numbers and hard-copy sales. Luv Is Rage 2 also recently went gold after debuting at #1 on the Billboard 100. Uzi is now a certified rock star and lives his life to fit the part. And just when we thought he was taking a break from releasing new music, he gifted us four new songs on the deluxe version of Luv Is Rage 2: “Skirr Skir”, “Loaded”, “Diamonds All On My Wrist,” and “20 Min.” Continue reading →
Few artists have captured the attention of the Philly hip-hop scene in 2016 quite like Lil Uzi Vert. From a show-stopping set at The Roots Picnic to a massive set at Made in America, with several mixtape drops, the coveted XXL freshman cover and a packed house at The Fillmore in between, he’s definitely the man of the moment.
That Fillmore show is the place where the Vice digital video series Noisey & Friends catches up with Lil Uzi for a short profile. We get to meet a line of fans out front singing the rapper’s praises — the young dude in the Black Flag t-shirt who claims he “was on to Uzi a month before the wave started” is totally a music snob in the making — and we also meet Uzi’s entourage. Continue reading →
If this is wonderland, that makes Lil Uzi Vert the mad hatter. The latest visual from the Philly hip-hop celebrity sees him holding court at a tripped-out garden party: guests flash unnerving cat eyes, blobs of amorphous goo seep from person to person and a rabbit scampers across the scene, all to the tune of “You Was Right” from this year’s Lil Uzi Versus The World project. The man behind it all, meanwhile, looks like he’s having the time of his life — which is how he tends to look at any given point, anyway. Dude has one of the most infectiously amped personas in hip-hop. Continue reading →
Lil Uzi Vert is a name that’s been on the lips of hip-hop prognosticators for the past year and change. His rabid fans and the hype they create has led to more than a few “next big thing” proclamations, and one look at his performance from Roots Picnic shows you just why. The 21-year-old, who hails from the Francisville section of Philly, was in the midst of his song “WDYW” – a hammering rager with a clubby beat – when he decided to take shit, literally, to the next level.
For almost a decade now, hip hop mag XXL has been rounding up the best new artists in the game to feature front and center on their annual Freshman cover. Started in 2007, scene staples like Kendrick Lamar (2011), Kid Cudi (2009), Future (2012) and Chance the Rapper (2014) have all graced the cover and gone on to acquire massive followings (and make killer albums, of course).
This year, the cover crew included Cheltenham rapper Lil Dicky – along with another Philly artist, Lil Uzi Vert – and for the mag’s first installment of class-of-2016 cyphers, Lil Dicky shares some screen time with Desiigner and Anderson .Paak. Continue reading →
Man, North Philly veteran Freeway has gone through hell and back in these past few years with a handful of serious health scares such as getting diagnosed with kidney failure in 2015 and needing a transplant earlier this year. He is a fighter who refuses to give up, especially on his music. Continue reading →
The Roots’ founding member Black Thought announced the release date for his upcoming mixtape after teasing the project earlier this year. Titled Streams of Thought Vol. 1, the mixtape drops Friday June 1, conveniently the day before the Roots Picnic. Announced via twitter Friday, the tape is set to be a collab between Black Thought and super producer 9th Wonder and The Soul Council.
The Roots hold court at their annual picnic, headlining their historically star-studded “Jam Session” which previously included stars such as Pharrell, Erykah Badu, Usher, Snoop Dogg, and, this year, Dave Chappelle. Black Thought also appears billed separately on the lineup, bringing back his live mixtape set with J. Period while sharing the stage with Fabolous and Jadakiss. (Maybe the set will see the debut of songs off Streams of Thought.) Continue reading →