Despite announcing his seeming retirement from music earlier this year, Lil Uzi Vert returned on Thursday (March 28) with a new song called “Free Uzi” — a surprise as it didn’t come via the regular avenue of music delivery. The song appeared on SoundCloud on a new account named, fittingly, “freeuzi.” It’s a grand return for a rapper re-energized and hopefully the first step in a path toward his official reintroduction.
“Free Uzi” is a three-minute Uzi frenzy. The rapper sounds hungrier than ever, returning to his gripping freefall of a flow as he opens up to fans about some of his issues, being on the hook for $3 million in taxes the biggest of them. His rapping approaches Jack Nicholson’s Joker in levels of intensity. The track’s beat is the same one used for G Herbo‘s 2012 song (going by Lil Herb then) “Gangway” and its fast and chaotic and nature matches this newer, hungrier Uzi perfectly. His voice is also pitched up higher so it adds to the feeling of weightlessness.
The song also arrived with an accompanying video on YouTube that doesn’t have the bells and whistles of his past releases, instead opting for something more down to earth. He wears a hat the entire time but we’re able to get a peek at what his dread-less head looks like thanks to his new afro desperately fighting for space under his cap. His haircut, to many, signaled that his “retirement” was finalized, but now it looks like he’s just closed the book on that chapter of his life.
Even more intriguing is that the song’s arrival was called a “leak” by Uzi’s label, Atlantic Records, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork report. A source also told Rolling Stone that Uzi himself was the one behind its release — and a link to “Free Uzi” appears in Lil Uzi’s Instagram bio.
Prior to his retirement, Uzi expressed his frustration with Atlantic Records and its imprint Generation Now about his inability to release new music. Earlier this month, DJ Drama, one of the heads of the imprint, said that the rapper is free to release his forthcoming, long-delayed album Eternal Atake, “tomorrow or any day he wants.” With the wheels on Uzi’s music career finally turning again – he’s reportedly being repped by Roc Nation management now – it looks like we could be getting something in the near future.