Symere Bysil Woods (born July 31, 1994), known professionally as Lil Uzi Vert, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Characterized by his face tattoos, facial piercings, eccentric hairstyles and androgynous fashion, his music is often defined by dark subject matters and imagery built on a melodic emo approach to trap. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Uzi Vert gained initial recognition following the release of the commercial mixtape Luv Is Rage (2015), which led to a recording contract with Atlantic Records, to whom he signed to under DJ Drama's Generation Now imprint.
Lil Uzi Vert attracted mainstream attention following the release of his debut single "Money Longer" in 2016. The song would act as the lead single for the subsequent mixtape Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World (2016), which also contained the song "You Was Right". After releasing two additional mixtapes in 2016 and 2017, including one in collaboration with Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi Vert was featured on the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping Migos' single "Bad and Boujee". He later secured his first top ten single with "XO Tour Llif3", which won the MTV Video Music Award for Song of Summer.
"XO Tour Llif3" acted as the lead single to Lil Uzi Vert's debut studio album Luv Is Rage 2 (2017), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). At the 2018 Grammy Awards, Lil Uzi Vert was nominated for Best New Artist. His second studio album, Eternal Atake (2020), was among the most anticipated albums in hip hop and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200.
2010–2015: Career beginnings
Woods began to rap in 2010 and began to associate with musical groups like Steaktown and in what he says was "just for money" under the name "Sealab Vertical". He later changed his name to Lil Uzi Vert from the way someone described his rap flow, saying his flow was "Fast, like a machine gun."Woods' first project, an EP titled Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1 was released on January 19, 2014. The project, which was described as "phonk" and having cloud rap beats from The Guardian due to its psychedelic and "trippy" production features Woods with a bigger focus on lyricism than most of his career and was released with the single "White Shit" which included a video. The track, which was produced by Spaceghostpurrp, went viral in 2017 within hip-hop circles following Wood's entry into the mainstream. Shortly after the release of Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1, Woods caught the attention of then industry-mainstays like Mob.
The project and following features caught the attention of producer and Def Jam A&R Don Cannon after DJ Diamond Kuts played one of Woods' songs on a local radio station, who signed Woods to his The Academy imprint and produced his first mixtape, The Real Uzi which was released on August 5, 2014. After the release of The Real Uzi, Woods signed a record deal with Atlantic Records through DJ Drama, Don Cannon's and Leighton Morrison's imprint, Generation Now.
Following his signing to Atlantic Records, Woods was featured alongside Kid and Ferg on Carnage's single "WDYW". He also released several songs on SoundCloud including the Metro Boomin produced "No Wait", "Pressure" which is a collaboration with Durk and ''Loaf". He was featured on Fall Out Boy and Khalifa's "Boys of Zummer" tour in August 2015. Woods released his second mixtape, Luv Is Rage on October 20, 2015. The project, which features production from then-bubbling producers such as Sonny Digital, TM88 and Maaly Raw with features from Billboard charting rappers such as Khalifa and Thug, was received positively and was featured on numerous music blogs such as Fader, XXL and Vibe. He was further called a "breakout artist of 2015" by HotNewHipHop.
In January 2016, Vert appeared at an Mob show in New York City to honor the deceased rapper Yams. In February, he released the single, "Money Longer" on his SoundCloud following a radio debut on Shade 45. Controversy arose in March 2016 after a riot broke out at SXSW's final day during Woods set. On April 15, 2016, Vert released his third mixtape and first commercial mixtape Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World. The mixtape debuted at number 37 on the Billboard 200 chart, making its Woods first entry on the chart. The project spent 55 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart, eventually being certified Gold. Woods and Kapri (born Octave) embarked on a joint tour in May 2016, titled the "Parental Advisory" tour.
In June 2016, Lil Uzi Vert appeared in XXL magazine as part of their 2016 Freshmen Class. As part of this appearance, Uzi performed a ‘freshman cypher’ alongside Denzel Curry, Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, and Kodak Black. As of March 2021, this cypher has received over 180 million YouTube views, by far the most for the XXL channel. Riding the wave of recognition the XXL Freshman list gave him, Woods released the video for the single "Money Longer" which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the following week, his first entry on the chart, at number 92 on July 2, 2016. The song later peaked at number 54 and is currently certified two-times platinum in the United States. Woods second entry on the chart, Metro Boomin produced "You Was Right" debuted at 89 on July 30, 2016 and peaked at number 40.
On July 12, 2016, Woods announced his fourth mixtape, The Perfect LUV Tape, which was released on July 31, his 22nd birthday. The mixtape featured the singles "Seven Million", featuring Future, and "Erase Your Social", both of which failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The mixtape debuted at number 55 on the Billboard 200 album chart and is certified Gold by the RIAA. In October 2016, Woods was announced to be an additional artist on Canadian singer the Weeknd's tour.
Woods announced a collaboration mixtape with Gucci Mane which was released on November 23, 2016. On the 27th, Woods announced Luv Is Rage 2 which eventually went through a series of delays.
2017: Luv Is Rage 2
Uzi featured on the hip-hop trio Migos' single "Bad and Boujee". The single was released on August 31, 2016, and is from the trio's second studio album, Culture (2017). In January 2017, around the time the album released, the single debuted atop the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Uzi's first number 1 single as a lead or featured artist, and his highest charting single as both. On February 27, 2017, Woods released the EP Luv Is Rage 1.5 while on tour with the Weeknd. The EP was positively received for its "nerdy" nature with Kingdom Hearts themed instrumentals and lyrics referring to anime, Steven Universe and hentai. The EP was also credited as the start of Woods' affiliation with the "emo-rapper" label due to the heartbreak-associated lyrics on the song "Luv Scars K.o 1600" and references to threats of suicide and depression on the stand-out track "XO Tour Llif3".
"XO Tour Llif3"'s significant popularity on SoundCloud resulted in Woods playing it live on the European leg of the Weeknd's tour and the following week the song was added to streaming services and released as an official single. On April 4, 2017, "Xo Tour Llif3" debuted on Billboard Hot 100 at number 49 and peaked at number seven, becoming the rapper's highest charting song and biggest song, being certified six-times platinum as of August 2018.
Luv Is Rage 2 was delayed again on April 2, 2017 with Woods blaming it on DJ Drama. On April 9, Don Cannon confirmed the project wasn't getting released "any time soon" and confirmed that "XO Tour Llif3" would be on the album. Uzi was featured on fellow rapper Playboi Carti's single "wokeuplikethis*". It was released on April 7, 2017, and is from Carti's debut commercial mixtape, Playboi Carti (2017). The single was performed by the pair at Coachella 2017.
"wokeuplikethis*" was eventually certified platinum and peaked at number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100. Uzi was featured alongside ASAP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Quavo and Frank Ocean on A$AP rappers collective Mob's single "RAF". The single was released by surprise on May 15, 2017 and is from the collective's second studio album, Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy. In early August, hip-hop media personality DJ Akademiks claimed that Luv Is Rage 2 would release within 30 days. On August 24, 2017, Luv Is Rage 2 was announced for a surprise release at midnight and on August 25, 2017, Lil Uzi Vert released his heavily delayed debut studio album, Luv Is Rage 2, which included top ten single, "XO TOUR Llif3" as the lead single.
The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, with 135,000 album-equivalent units and has since been certified platinum. The album also created ten Billboard Hot 100 charting singles, with two, "The Way Life Goes", featuring Oh Wonder, and "Sauce It Up" becoming singles. During British singer Ed Sheeran's set at the Video Music Awards, Woods and Sheeran performed a medley of "XO Tour Llif3" and Sheeran's chart-topping single, "Shape Of You".
In September 2017, Woods teased a possible sequel project to Lil Uzi Vert vs The World possibly titled Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World 2 and a collaboration project with Playboi Carti titled 16*29. In October, a joint-tour with Playboi Carti called the "16*29 tour" was announcedfurther promoting the possibility of a collaboration project. The tour was cancelled shortly thereafter due to Woods claiming he needed to "focus". In October 2017, Woods headlined Power 105.1's annual Powerhouse music celebration, alongside the Weeknd, Migos, and Cardi B, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Woods was also featured on Canadian rapper Nav's platinum-certified single "Wanted You". The song was released on November 3, 2017, Nav's 28th birthday, and is from Nav's debut studio album, Reckless (2018).
On December 4, 2017, "The Way Life Goes" music video was released with a remix, featuring Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj. The song subsequently peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Woods performed on Stephen Colbert's The Late Show performing "The Way Life Goes" on February 6, 2018 Uzi was featured alongside Kanye West on Travis Scott's song, "Watch", which was released on May 3, 2018. "Watch" debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He was also featured on a remix for fellow rapper Lil Tracy's single "Like a Farmer".
2018–2020: Eternal Atake, Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World 2, and Pluto x Baby Pluto
Woods in 2018
In January 2018, Uzi announced that he had completed a mixtape with record producer Wheezy. In May 2018, Don Cannon confirmed that a new Uzi project was dropping in 2018 and speculation arose in July 2018 when Woods tweeted the words "Eternal Atake", his second studio album (2020), pinning the tweet and announcing it was "coming soon" and then at the end of the month sharing the then-chosen cover art for the project. The then-chosen cover art for Eternal Atake references the logo of the cult Heavens Gate. The two members who survived the cult suggested that legal actions could be taken against Uzi for copying the logo style.
The art was the source of a threat from the two remaining members of the organization over legal attack. The then-thought lead single from Eternal Atake, "New Patek" was released on September 18, 2018. Uzi was then featured on Lil Pump's single, "Multi Millionaire". The single was released on October 5, 2018, and is from Pump's second studio album, Harvard Dropout.
In April 2019, following label trouble with Generation Now, it was announced that Uzi was now signed to Roc Nation. Two new promotional singles were released in April 2019, titled "Sanguine Paradise" and "That's a Rack", originally thought to be from his highly anticipated studio album, Eternal Atake.
On December 13, 2019, Uzi released a new single titled, "Futsal Shuffle 2020", which is the lead single of Eternal Atake. He then released the second single of the album, titled "That Way", on March 1, 2020. Eternal Atake was released on March 6, 2020, with a sole guest appearance from American singer Syd. The release date of the album was a week earlier then fans expected it to release. "New Patek", "That's a Rack" and "Sanguine Paradise" did not appear on the album. Eternal Atake debuted atop the Billboard 200.
On March 12, 2020, Lil Uzi teased that the deluxe version of Eternal Atake and the sequel to his July 2016 mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World, titled Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World 2, would release the following day, the date fans expected the release date of the original album. The deluxe edition would have fourteen new tracks, featuring guest appearances from Chief Keef, 21 Savage, Future, Young Thug, Gunna, Lil Durk, Young Nudy and Nav. The first half of the album maintained a leading number 1 position (equal to 288,000 album sales in the United States) with 400 million streams in early 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This marked the largest streaming count for any album since 2018 when Lil Wayne's twelfth studio album, Tha Carter V, got 433 million streams.
On April 24, 2020, Lil Uzi Vert released a new single titled "Sasuke", the first since the release of the deluxe version of Eternal Atake. On July 10, 2020, Lil Uzi appeared on the remix of StaySolidRocky's "Party Girl". On July 21, 2020, Lil Uzi and Future hinted at an upcoming joint project titled Pluto x Baby Pluto on their social media; it was released on November 13, 2020 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.
2021–present: Subsequent ventures
In late 2020, Lil Uzi Vert began promoting new singles on Instagram live that were sonically similar to popular releases early in his career. He subsequently announced an upcoming project titled Forever Young, as well as a follow-up to Luv Is Rage 2 and a project to be released exclusively on SoundCloud.