By Reina Matsuura
Two Snapchats chirped at me during the illegal hour of 3 a.m. on Aug. 25. I had been alerted of my responsibility to listen to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Luv Is Rage 2” and report back with opinions ASAP. Officially rising out of the ashes in 2015, Uzi has already produced four complete albums, each one amplifying his cartoon personality and tattoo count through music.
If he spat bars on “The Perfect Luv Tape” (2016), then I suppose this new tape might be more of a snot rocket — slick, sick and confident. Yes, snot rockets are gross, but I expect no less of a reaction from non-Uzi-enthusiasts. Who can hate a man who can cross dress and rap? To quote (read: accused rapist) Kodak Black, “I don’t even listen to Uzi,” because he considers Uzi along with some other rappers “dick in the booty, they confusing the community.” Not only does Uzi shrug this off, he respects sexual consent laws from the very first track, “Two” (“I can’t fuck her, she’s a minor”). He also evokes links between insurance and birth control in a political climate where both are severely at stake. What a nice guy.
If that’s not enough, Uzi’s small 5 foot 4 inch body bubbles with love for his momma (and grandmama) in “Dark Queen.” As a woman of color and fellow rap lover, it’s nice to be celebrated and not feel as though those two things are mutually exclusive.
Personally, my favorite moments of the album are when Uzi tears up other men. In a society where womxn are taught to treat other womxn with hostility, few things are better than dancing with your gal pals while belting, “Heard you fucked her, she embarrassed” (From “For Real” track). “That guy, to me, he a has-been.” Thank you, Uzi, for using your influential platform to speak my words that would otherwise go unheard.
While he may have swept me away from some “has-been” man I’m definitely embarrassed about going home from Gardner with, Uzi is also capable of channeling his inner sad-boy, music we Grinnellians love. “I know it hurts sometimes,” a phrase eerily reminiscent of Spencer Grill conversations during the Grinnell grind, are Uzi’s words of wisdom, ringing truer than ever, especially when he concludes, “but you’ll get over it;” just like we do every weekend.
“Luv Is Rage 2” is different enough to be fresh but still the stable cartoon Uzi persona I admire. In their ode to a successful life, Pharrell and Uzi comment on the alienation of labor, sure to please some of our Marxist listeners. As an album project, it rings like Chance’s Coloring Book, a capstone riddled with political praxis but also a sense of gratefulness for how far each has come with intentions to keep going strong. “Yeah, my life’s a mess, but I’m blessed” — the perfect message for Grinnellians, almost as if Uzi wrote these lyrics for us personally.
Obscure words to look for in Luv Is Rage 2:
Squirtle, Cheerios, Darth Vader, Sprite, Leonardo DiCaprio, red slugs.