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Lil Uzi Vert

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Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert Day N Night Festival.png
Lil Uzi Vert at the Day N Night Festival; 2018.
Background information
Birth nameSymere Woods
Also known as
  • Lil Uzi Vert
  • Vert[1]
Born (1994-07-31) July 31, 1994 (age 24)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2010–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteliluziofficial.com

Symere Woods (born July 31, 1994), known professionally as Lil Uzi Vert, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter.

Based in Philadelphia, Woods originally gained recognition following the release of his Luv Is Rage mixtape which led to a record label deal with Atlantic Records under DJ Drama's Generation Now imprint.[5] Woods' climb into the mainstream began with the single, "Money Longer" which debuted at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100, his first entry on the chart. The subsequent mixtape Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World debuted at number 37 on Billboard 200 and was later certified Gold. Woods released two projects following Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World, with one being a collaboration with Gucci Mane. He was given his first Billboard number one single with a feature on Migos single "Bad and Boujee", and later had his first top ten single with "XO Tour Llif3", which peaked at number 7. Woods' debut studio album Luv Is Rage 2 was released on August 25, 2017, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, later being certified platinum. His second studio album, Eternal Atake, is scheduled to be released in 2018.[6]

Early life

Symere Woods was born July 31, 1994 in North Philadelphia in Francisville.[7] Woods grew up listening to Mike Jones and Ying Yang Twins with Mike Jones debut album being the first album he purchased. Woods later began listening to Wiz Khalifa and Meek Mill which influenced his future rap flow and lyrical style.[8] Woods also began listening to Marilyn Manson, Paramore, My Chemical Romance and The All-American Rejects when he was thirteen years old, saying that he is a "big Marilyn Manson" fan and calling Mechanical Animals his favorite album.[9]

Woods began rapping in 10th grade, calling himself a "regular kid, I didn't really wanna rap",[8] after hearing classmate, William Aston, freestyle over a remade Chris Brown instrumental. Woods, Aston and another friend created a rap group, titled "Steaktown" which broke up when Woods was 17.[10]

Woods dropped out of school and soon came to employment at a Bottom Dollar, though barely lasting a week, he quit after four days and was kicked out of his home by his mother.[11] The situation led to Woods getting his first face tattoo, the word "Faith" under his hairline, which provoked him to taking his rap career seriously.[10]

Music career

2014–16: Breakthrough mixtapes

Woods began to rap in 2010 and began to associate with musical groups like Steaktown and in what he says was "just for money"[12] under the name "Vert" originally which he says stood for "vertical" like a "vertical jump."[13] He later changed his name to Lil Uzi Vert from the way someone described his rap flow, saying his flow was "Fast, like a machine gun."[5] Woods' first project, an EP titled Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1 was released on January 19, 2014.[14][15] The project, which was titled as "phonk" and "cloud rap" from the Guardian due to its psychedelic and "trippy" production[16] features Woods with a bigger focus on lyricism than most of his career and was released with the single "White Shit" which included a video. The track, which was produced by Spaceghostpurrp, went viral in 2017 within hip-hop circles following Wood's entry into the mainstream.[17] Shortly after the release of Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1, Woods caught the attention of then industry-mainstays like ASAP Mob.[10]

The project and following features caught the attention of producer and Def Jam A&R Don Cannon after DJ Diamond Kuts played one of Woods' songs on a local radio station,[9][18] who signed Woods to his The Academy imprint and produced his first mixtape, The Real Uzi which was released on August 5, 2014.[7] After the release of The Real Uzi, Woods signed a record deal with Atlantic Records through DJ Drama, Don Cannon's and Leighton Morrison's imprint, Generation Now.[19]

Following his signing to Atlantic Records, Woods was featured on Carnage's single "WDYW" with Rich the Kid and ASAP Ferg.[20] He also released several songs on SoundCloud including the Metro Boomin produced "No Wait",[21] "Pressure" which is a collaboration with Lil Durk[22] and "Dej Loaf."[23] He was featured on Fall Out Boy's and Wiz Khalifa's "Boys of Zummer" tour in August 2015.[24] Woods released his second mixtape, Luv Is Rage on October 20, 2015. The project, which features production from then-bubbling producers such as Sonny Digital, TM88 and Maaly Raw with features from Billboard charting rappers such as Wiz Khalifa and Young Thug, was received positively and was featured on numerous music blogs such as Fader,[25][26] XXL[8] and Vibe.[27] He was further called a "breakout artist of 2015" by HotNewHipHop.[28]

Woods started 2016 with a show to honor the deceased producer, ASAP Yams in New York City[29][30] and the release of the single, "Money Longer" on his SoundCloud following a radio debut on Shade 45.[31] Controversy arose in March 2016 after a riot broke out at SXSW's final day during Woods set.[32] On April 15, 2016, Uzi released his third mixtape and first commercial mixtape Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World.[33] The mixtape debuted at number 37 on the Billboard 200 chart, making its Woods first entry on the chart. The project spent 55 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart, eventually being certified Gold.[34] Woods and Kodak Black embarked on a joint tour in May 2016, titled the "Parental Advisory" tour.[35]

He was named as one of the ten 2016 XXL Freshmen on June 13, 2016.[36] Riding the wave of recognition the XXL Freshmen list gave him,[37] Woods released the video for the single "Money Longer" which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the following week, his first entry on the chart, at number 92 on July 2, 2016.[38] The song later peaked at number 54 and is currently certified two-times platinum in the United States.[39] Woods second entry on the chart, Metro Boomin produced "You Was Right" debuted at 89 on July 30, 2016 and peaked at number 40.[40]

On July 12, 2016, Woods announced The Perfect Luv Tape[41] and on his 22nd birthday, Woods released his fourth mixtape The Perfect Luv Tape. The mixtape featured the singles "Seven Million" featuring Future[42] and "Erase Your Social", both of which failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The mixtape debuted at number 55 on the Billboard 200 album chart and is certified Gold by the RIAA. In October 2016, Woods was announced to be an additional artist on singer The Weeknd's tour.[43]

Woods announced a collaboration mixtape with Gucci Mane[44] which was released on November 23, 2016.[45] On the 27th, Woods announced Luv is Rage 2[46] which eventually went through a series of delays.[47]

In December 2016, Woods was signed to Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang[48] though this claim has been speculated as false due to tweets by DJ Drama and Don Cannon.[49]

2017–present: Luv Is Rage 2

Uzi collaborated with the rap group Migos in October 2016 on the single "Bad and Boujee" which in January 2017 reached number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Uzi Vert's first number 1 single as a featured artist, and his highest charting single.[50] On February 27, 2017, Woods released the EP Luv is Rage 1.5 whilst on tour with The Weeknd. The EP was positively received for its "nerdy" nature with Kingdom Hearts themed instrumentals and lyrics referring to anime, Steven Universe and hentai.[51] The EP was also credited as the start of Woods' affiliation with the "emo-rapper" label due to the heartbreak-associated lyrics on the song "Luv Scars K.o 1600"[52] and references to threats of suicide and depression on the stand-out track "XO Tour Llif3."[53][54][55]

"XO Tour Llif3"'s significant popularity on SoundCloud resulted in Woods playing it live on the European leg of The Weeknd's tour[56] and the following week the song was added to streaming services and released as an official single.[57][58] On April 4, 2017, "Xo Tour Llif3" debuted on Billboard Hot 100 at number 49[59] and peaked at number seven, becoming the rappers highest charting song and biggest song, being certified six-times platinum as of August 2018.[39]

Luv is Rage 2 was delayed again on April 2, 2017 with Woods blaming it on DJ Drama.[60] On April 9, Don Cannon confirmed the project wasn't getting released "any time soon" and confirmed that "XO Tour Llif3" would be on the album.[61] On April 7, Playboi Carti's "Woke Up Like This" featuring Lil Uzi Vert was officially released as a single and was performed by the pair at Coachella 2017.[62] "Woke Up Like This" was eventually certified platinum and peaked at number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Wood's collaboration with ASAP Mob, Frank Ocean and Quavo was released by surprise on May 15, 2017, titled "RAF."[63]

At the start of August, it was claimed by social media personality and hip-hop media personality DJ Akademiks that Luv is Rage 2 is dropping within 30 days.[64] On August 24, 2017, Luv is Rage 2 was announced for a surprise release at midnight[65][66] and on August 25, 2017, Lil Uzi Vert released his heavily-delayed debut studio album, Luv Is Rage 2, which included top ten single, "XO TOUR Llif3" as the lead single.[67] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, with 135,000 album-equivalent units[68] and has since been certified platinum. The album also created ten Billboard Hot 100 charting singles, with two, "The Way Life Goes" featuring Oh Wonder and "Sauce It Up" becoming singles. During Ed Sheeran's set at the VMAs, Woods was brought out for a remix to "XO Tour Llif3" featuring Sheeran.[69]

In September 2017, Woods teased a possible sequel project to Lil Uzi Vert vs The World possibly titled Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World 2[70][71] and a collaboration project with Playboi Carti titled 16*29.[72] In October, a joint-tour with Playboi Carti called the "16*29 tour" was announced[73][74][75] further promoting the possibility of a collaboration project. The tour was cancelled shortly thereafter due to Woods claiming he needed to "focus."[76] In October 2017, Woods headlined Power 105.1's annual Powerhouse music celebration, alongside The Weekend, Migos, and Cardi B, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.[77] Woods was also featured on Canadian rapper Nav's platinum-certified single "Wanted You" in November.

On December 4, 2017, "The Way Life Goes" music video was released with a remix featuring Nicki Minaj.[78] The song subsequently peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Woods performed on Stephen Colbert's The Late Show performing "The Way Life Goes" on February 6, 2018[79] Lil Uzi Vert was featured along with Kanye West on Travis Scott's song, "Watch", which was released on May 3, 2018.[80] "Watch" debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Woods was also featured on Playboi Carti's song "Shoota" from his second studio album, Die Lit.[81][82] The song, released on May 11, 2018, peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He was also featured on a remix for fellow rapper Lil Tracy's single "Like a Farmer".[83][84][85]

In May 2018, Don Cannon confirmed that a new Lil Uzi Vert project was dropping in 2018[86] and speculation arose in July 2018 when Woods tweeted "Eternal Atake", pinning it and announcing it was "coming soon"[87] and then at the end of the month sharing cover art for the project.[88] The cover art for Eternal Atake references cult Heavens Gate.[89][90] The art was the source of a threat from the two remaining members of the organization over legal attack.[91]

The first single from Eternal Atake, "New Patek" was released on September 18, 2018.[92] On October 5, 2018, he featured on Lil Pump's single "Multi Millionaire".[93]

Musical style

Complex called Uzi "one of those names to pay attention to in 2016,"[94] and Spin wrote "the 22-year-old has solidified his spot as one to watch...[with] his signature rapid delivery."[95] Noisey called him "articularly charismatic", a "natural entertainer" who is "for better or for worse, yanking people into the future."[96]

Lil Uzi Vert's style of rap has been compared to rock,[97] as well as being labeled with the term emo rap.[2] He has also been described as a lo-fi rapper[98] and compared to rapper Lil Wayne.[99]

Influences

Lil Uzi Vert calls Marilyn Manson "his greatest inspiration."[100] He is also a fan of the band Paramore, specifically citing frontwoman Hayley Williams as an influence.[101] In an interview with Complex, Lil Uzi Vert cited ASAP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, and the Ying Yang Twins as influences.[19]

Personal life

Woods dated fashion designer Brittany Byrd from 2014 to 2017. Byrd, a popular figure among Woods' fans,[102] was attending Parsons School of Design after moving from California to attend the school when she met Woods.[10] Woods first referenced Byrd in the song "Nuyork Nights at 21" from Luv is Rage[103] and has since made multiple songs about the designer,[104] even appearing in the music video for Woods breakout single, "Money Longer."[105] On June 26, 2017, the couple broke up with Woods announcing the news with a new song titled "Stole Your Luv."[106][107]

Following the death of rapper Lil Peep, Woods announced he was quitting drugs and was attempting sobriety.[108]

After the death of rapper and friend XXXTentacion, Woods asked for help on social media from other rappers for helping to build a foundation against gun violence which would help to keep XXXTentacion's family and future child provided for.[109][110][111]

Controversies

Woods has been accused of being a Satanist,[112] originally by battle rapper Daylyt who claimed that Woods worshipped Satan.[113] Woods has been said to be inspired by Marilyn Manson's worship and support of Satan,[114] who he called his biggest inspiration. In July 2018, Woods told a crowd of fans that they were "going to hell" with him.[115]

In August 2017, Woods created controversy by adding satanic imagery to his social media accounts and saying phrases often associated with Satanism such as "666."[116] Woods frequently promotes Satanism on his social media, which went far enough to warrant his Instagram access being taken from him by his record label.[117]

On May 17, 2016, an image featuring Woods wearing a stripped shirt designed by French company Faith Connexion[118] was uploaded to Instagram. The image was quickly made into a viral meme[119][120] with Woods responding that the shirt cost him $2,400.[121] He responded further after being asked why he was criticized, saying "You know what it is? They’ve never felt these fabrics before.”[122]

Legal issues

On December 8, 2016, Woods was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia for recklessly driving a dirt-bike. Woods and a friend was driving a dirtbike without lights and helmets before being noticed by police. While being chasing by the police, Woods fell off his dirtbike and attempted to run away on foot before being caught and held on $6,500 bond.[123]

In November 2017, the charge was eventually resolved with Woods receiving community service.[124]

Feuds

Woods has had a long-standing stand-still with Generation Now imprint owners Don Cannon and DJ Drama over his music. Woods has insulted Don Cannon and DJ Drama over the delays to his Luv is Rage 2 album,[125] advised people against signing with Generation Now[126][127] and referred to DJ Drama as an "old person."[60]

OG Maco & Reese LaFlare

On April 29, 2016, Atlanta rapper OG Maco went on a rant on social media where he claims that he "paved the way" for Woods and that Woods was "stealing his sauce" (style.) Maco implied there was no issue between Woods and him though Woods took offense to Maco's comment who mentioned Atlanta rapper Reese LaFlare who Woods was feuding with.[128] In August 2016, Woods attempted to assault Reese LaFlare at Day N Night Fest after seeing him through a security barrier, though he was stopped by security.[129][130] In September 2016, OG Maco and Woods resolved their feud.[131]

In January 2018, Woods punched Reese LaFlare in the face and bragged about it on social media, later deleting the tweet.[132]

Rich the Kid

In early 2018, Woods had tweeted about how he was unhappy at DJ Drama's label, Generation Now. In response, fellow rapper Rich The Kid had replied saying that had Woods signed to his label, Rich Forever Music, he would have never had that problem. Woods responded by saying "Boy I'm not signing for 20racks" ($20,000). Rich then replied that it would have been worth accepting the offer either way. Soon enough, things escalated with disses on Instagram and Twitter between the two.[126]

In March 2018, Rich the Kid released a diss track on Woods, titled "Dead Friends", a play on words of Woods 's catchphrase in his hit single, "XO Tour Llif3".[133][134]

An incident occurred in June 2018 at a Starbucks between Rich the Kid and Lil Uzi Vert, who attempted to attack Rich the Kid but was stopped by security.[135]

Discography

Studio albums

Commercial mixtapes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2017 Billboard Music Awards Himself Top New Artist Nominated [136]
"Bad and Boujee" (with Migos) Top Rap Song Nominated
Top Rap Collaboration Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated [137]
"XO Tour Llif3" Song of the Summer Won
2018 Grammy Awards Himself Best New Artist Nominated [138]
"Bad and Boujee" (with Migos) Best Rap Performance Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards Hip-Hop Song of the Year Nominated [139]
Himself Best New Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated [140]

References

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