Right now, the “sound of Philadelphia,” when it comes to hip-hop/rap, is pretty much just whatever the latest Roots record sounds like. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince haven’t made a record in decades, Meek Mill is part of Maybach Music (and a disgrace), which isn’t a sound of his own design, and Lil Dicky has just started to be taken seriously, let alone developed a unique sound past joke-radio-rap. If Lil Uzi Vert is supposed to be Philly’s new “dazzling rookie,” as Apple Music put it, he certaintly doesn’t sound like Philly, let alone rep it. I’m not saying he has to sound like “Gonna Fly Now” from the Rocky soundtrack, but Lil Uzi’s music sounds way more akin to artists like Young Thug and Future out of Atlanta.
Backpacking on the sound of other artists, Lil Uzi’s contribution to the genre seems to come from just an absorbent amount of ad-lib’s. If anything, he almost sounds like a pop-punk kid trying to be Future. The tracks sound a little dry, as Uzi doesn’t even bring a lot of personality or unique vocal delivery. On tracks like “You Was Right,” he honestly just sounds bored. I actually thought “didn’t I already here this one?” when I got to track 6, “Baby Are You Home,” sounding like every other track on the record. Other than some references to 90’s cartoons, it’s the same topics as his genre competitors: money, sex, and owning brand name fashion. As Anthony Fantano of theNeedleDrop said, “it’s just something to hold fans over until the next Future or Young Thug record.”
His follow-up, The Perfect Luv Tape, is almost just as headache inducing, repeating the line “now I do what I want”ad nauseam, as if there were ever a time where we knew a restricted Lil Uzi Vert. At 22 years old, he sounds five on the track “Of Course We Ghetto Flowers.” I mean, does every line need an adlib? It almost seems as if he got worse since Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World in April. Music for the club or not, he’s completely carried by the production. This guy got on the 2016 XXL Freshmen Class? Maybe I’m a hip-hop fan, maybe I don’t entirely get this new trap-crooner style coming out of Atlanta, and now apparently Philly, but I don’t see any appeal to Lil Uzi Vert. “They say Lil Uzi Vert, who the fuck are you?” he says on “Sideline Watching (Hold Up),” and I have to agree with the masses.