For months, if not years, Eternal Atake has felt like an urban legend. Lil Uzi Vert’s second studio album was allegedly “leaked” multiple times and endlessly delayed. In the months leading up to the album, Uzi dropped a few excellent tracks that were able to sustain the hype for the album. “New Patek” soundtracked a semi-viral dance craze, “That’s A Rack” and “Sanguine Paradise” became party anthems, and “Futsal Shuffle 2020” soundtracked yet another dance craze. Uzi’s affable personality and inimitable energy has made hundreds of thousands of fans fall in love with him. His ability to consistently deliver truly great tracks and even greater full-length projects created a foundation of trust; despite the constant delays, there was the general understanding that Eternal Atake would live up to the hype. And the album certainly does. With interesting genre-spanning samples and risk-taking production, Uzi compensates for his constant lyrical fixation on money and success with a cohesive album that never loses steam despite its one hour runtime.
The first couple tracks on the album showcase a man on a very specific mission. Punk rock persona and Auto-Tune be damned, Uzi is determined to remind us that, above all, he is a rapper who raps. The first six tracks (“Baby Pluto,” “Lo Mein,” “Silly Watch,” “POP,” “You Better Move,” and “Homecoming”) are all filled with innumerable flow and melody switches, rapid-fire delivery, and an sense of grit that propels the whole album forward. “Baby Pluto” is an impressive intro with great one-liners like “Whip out the four-door, ready for war” and the oversued, but still applicable, “I made a million off a mixtape.” “Lo Mein” has the catchiest melody of the six, by far, while “POP” features verses delivered so quickly, it’s a wonder that Uzi finds time to breathe. The production on Eternal Atake is immediately more nuanced and cohesive than Luv Is Rage 2 or Uzi’s other projects. “Lo Mein” features hi-hats that accentuate the punch of the melody, “Silly Watch” is built on the juxtaposition of dissonant piano against robust drums, and ray gun samples are sprinkled all across the album to add to the cinematic feel of the record.
The rest of the album is relentless in its reinvention of metaphors about diamonds, money, and success, but it sounds so good. “Bigger Than Life,” “Bust Me,” and “Prices” add choirs to round out Uzi’s intergalactic trap sound. The choirs add a distinctly human energy to an album that is thematically concerned with outer space and lacks traditional analog production. The “money and jewels” tracks are fun, but the album really heats up when Uzi slows things down and talks about love. “Urgency,” which features Syd, is the only collaboration on Eternal Atake and the love song is an instant classic thanks to the refrain, “I treat my dark-skin like my redbone.” Uzi’s sonic love letter to darkskinned women and monogamy is a delightful and welcome change of pace. “I’m Sorry,” another love ballad, fits somewhere in the vein of toxic Future love songs and soft Drake. The track introduces the “Renji” section of the album where Uzi’s sweeter side comes out for a bit; it’s a rum-soaked apology to his past lovers that’ is sincere and vulnerable. There’s also the excellent “Celebration Station” which samples Ariana Grande’s Sweetener track, “raindrops (an angel cried).” The energy on this track is decidedly melancholic and the pitched up Grande sample only emphasizes the vapidity of the money and jewels Uzi spend so much time rapping about.
The album ends on a high note with a remix of Uzi’s biggest hit, “XO Tour Llif3,” titled “P2.” Uzi switches up the verse melody ever so slightly, and uses the remix as a thank you to his fans for their patience and dedication. Eternal Atake is a victory. Uzi sharpens his focuses on all the parts of his artistry that make him intriguing and unique, and finds a way to parlay those elements into a cinematic project that fearlessly experiments but still remains cohesive.
Key Tracks: “Lo Mein,” “Homecoming”; “POP”; “Urgency (feat. Syd)”; “P2”; “I’m Sorry”