Anyone walking through Camden Town on Monday evening would have been drawn to the block-long queue trailing from the Electric Ballroom; the sight of hundreds turning out for DJ Semtex’s ARRIVAL showcase with Lil Uzi Vert.
Semtex did a fine job warming up the sold out crowd with tracks from Future, C Biz, Drake, 67 and more. So good, that by the time he handed over the decks to Lil Uzi Vert’s DJ, the audience dressed in sweat-drenched Vlone tees and North Face puffers were chanting the Philly rapper’s name in anticipation.
Arriving onstage, Uzi went straight into tracks like Do What I Want and Money Longer, kicking and jumping along with the frenzied crowd as the beats dropped. We bounced with each “ya” from the opening line to his verse on Migos’ Bad and Boujee, and came through for the acapella sing along of You Was Right, reciting every single lyric back to him without fault.
The 22-year-old had full control over the Electric Ballroom and whipped up circle pits like a true rockstar. He even had to cut short his performance of Too Much Sauce after a fight broke out in the pit. “Who over there getting knocked the fuck out,” he asked, before going straight back to the music. The rockstar antics continued as he christened the crowd with a spray of champagne. Uzi’s carefree, wavy dance moves definitely get a shoutout too, switching up from fist-pumps to snaking hips clothed in leather trousers that probably cost more than it does to rent a flat in Shoreditch.
Push Me To The Edge
All My Friends Are Dead ++🙄🎸® pic.twitter.com/UBfo1fWZll
— LIL UZI VERT FANPAGE (@LUVTheAlbum) March 7, 2017
Hands down, Lil Uzi is rap’s current eccentric-in-chief. If you wanted to describe his swagger to someone completely unfamiliar with millennial rap, you could do worse than ask them to picture what’d happen if someone made a trippy anime where a bunch of scientists genetically splice Lenny Kravitz with a skate park loitering Lil Wayne – diamond grills and all.
For the archaic rap dinosaurs who refuse to recognise his wave, he had a message as colourful as his dreads: “…all them niggas hating on Lil Uzi, fuck them niggas. If I wasn’t doing so good I wouldn’t have no haters so all I gotta do is stay on my Ps and Qs” before launching straight into, duh, Ps & Qs.
He ended the show on a melancholic note with the first ever performance of XO TOUR Llif3 from his newly dropped Luv is Rage 1.5 EP, the follow-up to his 2015 mixtape. “All my friends are dead / Push me to the edge,” he belted staying true to his brand of cool kid nihilism that swings between the two examples in this diagram. The fact that the show came to an abrupt end – there was no walk out music – was fitting: this was a short, sharp shock. Go with it, or be left behind.