Has Lil Uzi Vert gone nu metal? Are they boldly going where… well, a few have gone before? The answer is a resounding and somewhat disappointing “kind of.”
Their third studio effort, Pink Tape sees the Philadelphia rapper taking from an eclectic pool of influences that pans out to an otherwise mixed bag of take-em-or-leave-em tracks. Notably, the project contains a few nu metal-inspired experiments, including a cover of System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey.” The mix is faithful to the original without being too derivative and includes some added hip-hop flair – with hard tuned vocals and sporadic ad-libs. Uzi’s vocals promptly kick in and they certainly give it their all. Though the cover isn’t bad by any means, the combination of the instrumental and uncharacteristically sung vocals may leave you scratching your head. It holds its own as any cover song should at minimum, but it’s not as evocative and creative as, say, Denzel Curry’s cover of "Bulls On Parade."
We also get a couple of collaborations on the album, including Bring Me The Horizon and BABYMETAL, who's featured on the album’s closing track. Both songs could be hit or miss depending on your tastes, but do land considerably better than the SOAD cover. Bring Me The Horizon enters the ring on the track “Werewolf,” which could perhaps be more accurately described as a collaboration between Lil Uzi Vert and Oli Sykes. Despite Sykes taking center stage with Uzi for the main performance, the band puts up a downright good instrumental. It almost has you convinced this is an unreleased deep cut by the band rather than a tune off of Uzi’s newest album, where they almost take the role of a featured artist on their own record.
BABYMETAL enter the fray on the appropriately named closing track “The End” (disregarding the bonus tracks afterward). This song is nothing short of a banger, with no other way to put it. BABYMETAL bring all of their essential trappings and energy into this track, and if you like anything the group does, you’ll certainly be able to enjoy this song. Uzi once again only has a brief verse on this track, giving them more of a feature role than BABYMETAL.
These songs show flashes of greatness from Uzi and prove that they definitely had interesting ideas, but not fully realized concepts for this project. Over the album’s dense 90 minutes, not everything quite pans out. It falls just short of delivering a knock-out punch of consistency and had the potential to wrangle the elements of popular and niche culture together.