Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Lil Uzi Vert – New Patek

No, we did not intentionally score this such that it matched the song’s run-time…


Julian Axelrod: Uzi’s “Venice Bitch”: One of our last living rock stars takes a dreamy, indulgent sojourn through the outer reaches of their mind, pushing up against the borders of their persona just to see if they can. It feels like three songs stuffed into one, or unedited audio of a xan’d-in-the-booth freestyle, but Uzi’s raw charisma holds this ramshackle rari together as it lurches over the finish line. Between the tentacle line and SahBabii’s Squidtastic, octopus-prog is the future of rap.

Taylor Alatorre: With its nearly six minutes of uninterrupted triumphalism, “New Patek” is Uzi’s way of gazing out upon rap’s changing landscape and asserting himself as its singular icon. If there were a country whose founding documents were the Luv Is Rage albums, this is what its national anthem would sound like. Like most national anthems, though, there isn’t much variation, and you kind of start to get the point around the second verse. The production, which sounds like if Zaytoven were commissioned to write music for a JRPG, is precious enough to warrant sustained interest.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “New Patek”‘s formula is familiar — take gospel piano runs (from Dolan Beats this time, though Zaytoven certainly must be wondering if he deserves a check), an out-there sample (this time from “Death Parade,” a 2015 anime), and a constantly skittering array of trap drums dropping in and out, and let cook, and you end up with something that could be found on any number of trap records. What makes “New Patek” distinct is its scale, which runs nearly double the length of “XO TOUR Llif3.” It’s a proggy twist on a punk formula. And over the six minutes of “New Patek,” Uzi acquits himself nicely. He takes the opportunity here to demonstrate what makes him the most promising of his wave of Soundcloud rappers, from his shifts from mumbles and whines to pinpointed rhymes to his ear for instantly distinctive metaphors and phrasings. (The one I’m still stuck on is the bit about putting diamonds on his tentacles.) But most of all “New Patek” is a testament to Uzi’s skill as a hookman — there are so many different hooks here that the song feels much shorter than its run-time — its final seconds, where Uzi whispers “Yeah, that’s it” before the track cuts out, feel like a necessary note — the song as it stands leaves both artist and listener with enough energy to go another round.

Alfred Soto: Fun in doses, oppressive in draughts. After a while mumbling forces this listener to put a seashell to my ear. 

Ramzi Awn: Lil Uzi’s rhythm is admirable but structurally, “New Patek” leaves a lot to be desired. Repetition has its place but it can also just be dull. More importantly, male aggression in 2018 is about as interesting as nude performance art.  

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Reminds me of Juice WRLD’s one hour freestyle on Tim Westwood in that I’m confused as to why people care for something that doesn’t cater to an artist’s respective talents. I understand that nearly six minutes of Uzi rapping in a relatively straightforward manner can feel like an exciting “old guard” legitimization of his talents but this has none of the lightning-in-a-bottle energy of Luv Is Rage 2. This Death Parade-sampling, post-Zaytoven-sounding production is enjoyably contemplative but after so long it only leans closer and closer to lethargy. Throw in a few off-tempo lines and a chorus that’s less exciting with each revisit and I’m left mostly unmoved. Even the few lines that feel relatively exhilarating would be better suited in a song more spirited.

Micha Cavaseno: Given the reputation of the Soundcloud rap generation’s reputation for having the most neutered of attention spans, it makes sense that the one who’d not only built a rabid fanbase off of snippets but became arguably the first of them to deliver a major label album that might as well have been comprised of snippets’ worth of input on his end might decide, “Hey, let me make a six minute song.” To Uzi’s credit, he picks a nice choice of a Dolan Beats production to ride on, sounding like a much more baroque spin on the Zaytoven formula to compliment his gurgling and frothing freestyling. Whether comparing himself to Naruto villains (of course this idiot would), sending subliminals at floundering junkie and woman-beater Rich the Kid, or implying he has tentacles (…?), Uzi’s still managed to find himself in complete ease with rap and succeed in spite of his perceivable limitations by sheer force of personality.

Ryo Miyauchi: For all he’s championed as a leading name from rap’s new generation upending the traditionalist culture of hip hop, the spirit of the old-school flows in Lil Uzi Vert as strong as his pop instincts. He refers to a bundle of cash as C-notes in “XO Tour Llif3” after all, and “New Patek” is rap in the classic way: just let that cosmic beat ride so he can rhyme his ass off for nearly six minutes. He leaves an excess of bars, though just focus on a section on the splattered canvas, and a new Lil Uzi Vert song emerges from every verse. It seems like a waste to just let his wealth of good ideas leak aimlessly like this. Yet Uzi harnesses that energy that comes from a sudden spurt of inspiration so thrillingly, the actual ideas feel secondary as long he just keeps continuing this hot streak.

Crystal Leww: A couple of weekends ago, an album started cropping up on streaming sites under the name of Symere Woods, which is Lil Uzi Vert’s real name, with some suggesting that it was a part of a broader marketing ploy. The tracks were fine — fine, not great — and it made sense that Lil Uzi Vert didn’t want them as part of his official artist discography. Album Lil Uzi Vert is absolutely thrilling. Luv Is Rage 2 was one of my favorite releases of last year, and alas, the wave of Soundcloud rappers managed to finally release a studio album that sounded like one. “New Patek” is fine, not great. Uzi’s still got the energy, but at five and a half minutes this doesn’t quite sustain, nor is it tight enough to make me want more. I want album Uzi back again.

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