Lil Uzi Vert's Pink Tape gets experimental: Album review

Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert / Johnny Nunez/GettyImages

The long-awaited release of Lil Uzi Vert’s third studio album has finally arrived nearly three years after they teased the project on June 30, 2023. Uzi initially announced Pink Tape was in the works in 2020, the same year their last studio album Eternal Atake was released. 

The rollout for Pink Tape started in December 2020, when Uzi gave a peek of the album on a lengthy Instagram Live, which saw them play unreleased tracks at the time highlighted by one of the project's most popular songs, "Aye" with Travis Scott.

We received the first official taste of Pink Tape on Oct. 17, 2022, with the two-time RIAA Platinum-certified hit "Just Wanna Rock". The smash hit gave us a taste of the wild and experimental journey we were about to take with Pink Tape.

Lil Uzi Vert gets experimental on his newest project Pink Tape

Pink Tape is a lengthy trap/pop rage/rage album, nearly 90 minutes long throughout the 26-song tracklist. Uzi gets more experimental and unhinged at points on this album, which isn't necessarily bad. The biggest issue with this project is the length of the tracklist. It feels like Uzi could've cut the weaker 26 tracks to get a more concise and focused project.

The album starts with entertaining trap/rage bangers, "Flooded the Face" and "Suicide Doors". "Flooded the Face" is one of the best tracks on the album, with the vintage, fun Uzi flow.

"Suicide Doors" is more experimental, with some range and club-inspired beats from Venezuelan singer, producer, mixer, and composer Arca.

The first big feature of the project arrives on the third track, "Aye" featuring Travis Scott. As one of the first songs that was teased from the album, "Aye" was already a fan favorite among Uzi and Travis fans before it released on Pink Tape on June 30.

Uzi and Travis deliver a solid performance with a ton of energy on "Aye", behind a tremendous BYNX beat. Both artists float over the the slowed rage 808s and menacing brooding strings on BYNX's production.

The next few songs on the tracklist aren't as memorable as the first three. Still, Uzi does a nice job of keeping the energy up without any features. "Crush Em" is a trap metal and rage-inspired song with good energy and decent vocal delivery from Uzi.

Pink Tape's first real dip in quality comes on "Amped". The vibey trap and rage production loses its zest on "Amped", with an underdeveloped hook and a really repetitive and boring beat. The guitars get a little annoying after the first minute of the song and nothing Uzi does adds any sort of interesting layers or different elements.

And outside of a solid two-track run with "x2" and "Died and Came Back", the tracklist starts to lose some steam after "Aye" and "Crush Em". "Spin Again" and "That Fiya" suffer from some of the same issues as "Amped". We've heard much better tracks in terms of the quality of songwriting and vocal delivery/rapping from Uzi.

I did find myself enjoying some aspects of the song "Endless Fashion", which features female rap icon Nicki Minaj. Outside of some of the cringy MAGA and republican political references from Nicki, there are a lot of catchy parts of this track. The hook and chorus are catchy, and Nicki's other verses are pretty good.

"Mama, I'm Sorry" is a good track that is more introspective. Uzi reflects on their life experiences through the success they have had in the music industry, along with their own personal flaws. The experiences that Uzi had in the last half-decade or so shaped who they are today.

"I’m a rockstar for life, I can’t help it (Ayy)
Every time that you rage, yeah, you felt it (Yeah)
Put the game on my back and I held it (Ayy)
Gettin' backends on backends from Belgium (Ayy)"

Verse 1: "Mama, I'm Sorry"-Lil Uzi Vert

The first half of the tracklist wraps up in a pedestrian way, with Uzi delivering a decent, but nothing special, flow on "All Alone". The beat is pretty normal in Uzi's catalog and there isn't anything about the songwriting or delivery that sets this track apart.

However, the energy picks back up in a big way to start the second half of the tracklist, with three straight bangers in "Nakamura", the lead single "Just Wanna Rock", and "Fire Alarm" featuring Snow Strippers.

"Nakamura" is easily one of the best songs on the record, delivering an awesome sample from a WWE walkout song and great vocals from Uzi. This song is a great example of how Uzi pushes the boundaries in different ways, this time with rock inspirations in the production and song structure.

"Just Wanna Rock" is a good song to keep the energetic vibes alive between "Nakamura" and "Fire Alarm". The latter of those two tracks features the innovative electropop duo Snow Strippers. Uzi featured on a Snow Strippers song earlier this year. They returned the favor on the club anthem "Fire Alarm".

Uzi continues to experiment on this record, with a pulsing jersey club beat and some awesome vocals layered into the first couple of verses from Snow Strippers. "Fire Alarm" could be one of those songs that ages like fine wine on this record since it is so uniquely-produced and distinct in the tracklist.

The next half-dozen songs or so are great, outside of a dud in "CS".

Uzi stacks more solid features on tracks like "Werewolf" with metal band Bring Me The Horizon and "Patience" with Cactus Jack trap singer Don Toliver. "Werewolf" is surprisingly good given that Uzi doesn't have a ton of experience with screamo and metalcore-style delivery.

But Uzi does an excellent job picking up the tempo of their delivery to keep the back-and-forth energy between their verses and the chorus from Bring Me The Horizon's lead vocalist Oli Sykes.

"Pluto to Mars", "Patience", and "Days Come and Go" are more of a return to what we would usually expect from Uzi. There are more bubbly pop rap and trap-style beats on these three tracks, featuring consistent delivery from Uzi. Don also delivers a solid feature on "Patience".

I want to shout out a unique element on "Days Come and Go" with the hyper-pop inspiration on the production and vocals from Uzi. There aren't a ton of tracks on Pink Tape with this much hyper pop inspiration, but Uzi pulls it off well on "Days Come and Go".

If Pink Tape ended on the tracks "Rehab" and "The End" with BABYMETAL, that would be the perfect way to cap a solid record. "Rehab" is another more mellowed-out trap cut that is solid but doesn't stand out in any big way from some of the better songs on the record.

"The End" is a raging trap-metal cut that has a chorus between Uzi and BABYMETAL that seemingly moves at a tempo the speed of light. If the record ended here, it would be a perfect way for Uzi to cap an entertaining but experimental album that is the best yet in their catalog.

But they opted to throw in the three bonus cuts that brings the album up to 26 songs. The bonus tracks "Zoom", "Of Course", and "Shardai" aren't the worst I've ever heard from Uzi, but they aren't all that memorable either. "Shardai" is probably the worst of the bunch.

All in all, this is a really fun project from Uzi where he pushes the boundaries in ways we didn't see them do on their last two studio albums, Luv Is Rage 2 and Eternal Atake. There are some excellent songs on this album that pull inspiration from genres outside of rap, such as metal, alt-rock, hyper pop, and jersey club.

If Uzi took out some of the filler tracks on this record (especially the bonus cuts), this would probably go down as one of the best rap albums of the year. Either way, it is still my personal favorite Uzi album to date.

Score: 7/10