In typical highly anticipated fashion, Lil Uzi returns from his 3-year hiatus to shake things up with his new album, Pink Tape.
If you’ve been a long-term Uzi fan, you will remember the agonizing road to his second studio album Eternal Atake. A 3-year hype campaign in which Uzi only released four singles, leaving fans to clutch at any leaks they could download and screen record from Youtube.
While the road to Pink Tape has continued for the same length of time, Uzi didn’t leave his fans in a drought. His Red & White EP had a few notable tracks like Final Fantasy, Space Cadet and For Fun, and of course, Just Wanna Rock and Watch This (ARIZONATEARS REMIX) which both took the world by storm online.
However, all of that was merely a build-up to the album that would lie at the end of the tunnel, Pink Tape, Lil Uzi’s third studio album which was announced way back in late 2020.
Now on the 30th of June, it’s here and once again Uzi polarizes the rap community. So, let’s get into it.
Firstly, Uzi hits the ground running with the album intro Flooded the Face, adding to his prolific resume of quality album openers. The beat is punchy and cinematic, and the hook makes the song feel as epic as Eternal Atake’s Baby Pluto and very much feels like an anthem that will be remembered.
When the second track Suicide Doors begins, so begins the experimentation of the album. Encapsulating the brash heavy metal sounds of the current rage era, the production on Suicide Doors feels like it could be played over a Fast & Furious scene or a chaotic drag race level on an old Need for Speed game.
Uzi enhances his vocal performance by utilizing a croaky, sandpaper-style flow that grates its way into the rage aesthetic precisely, making the sound feel grungier than anything else.
Aye, is a revamped version of his cult-favourite leak Rage Music that did the rounds on the internet in 2022. This new version Aye sees the addition of a more prominent beat switch and a Travis Scott feature that gave the song a much-needed break from its repetitive chorus.
From this point on Uzi blurs the lines between anime, rock, hyperpop and rage all to the point where it’s uncertain if you could even call Pink Tape a rap album anymore.
X2, produced by Opium’s golden child Ken Carson, is a rap/hyperpop hybrid meant for pure fun. The fast-paced bubbly keys and Uzi’s playfully hyper tone embodies the Japan/Tokyo aesthetic the album originally derives from.
Endless Fashion, featuring Nicki Minaj, and The End, featuring the Japanese rock duo BABYMETAL, embody the strange pop rap/anime fusion that Pink Tape is questing for the duration of the project and are both cheesy and ridiculous in the best way possible.
On the other hand, with rage being another prominent sound on the album, it was inevitable that metal was going to make its way into the soundscape somewhere. Bring Me The Horizon outperform every other feature on the album (sorry to all ragers and barbz) and puts up a stunning display of heavy metal on the song Werewolf, where Uzi correctly takes a backseat to let them shine.
Uzi himself performs his own cover of System of a Down’s classic Nu Metal song, Chop Suey, in a way that feels tributary rather than uninspiring and distasteful. However, some die-hard Nu Metal fans may drastically disagree.
SCORE/Excellent: Lil Uzi’s albums are so hyped and anticipated because everyone knows he’s an artist who is not scared to experiment and on Pink Tape, he did exactly that. Although some ideas could’ve been fleshed out more like Spin Again and Aye, Pink Tape’s varied sound works to its benefit and makes the 26-song tracklist feel like a rollercoaster rather than a slog. Even though we’ll probably have to say goodbye to Uzi again for another three years, he’s at least leaving us with a solid album that feels fun and replayable.
[We rank albums on a scale of: Poor, Mediocre, Good, Excellent, Outstanding]