Despite not being slated as one of Rolling Loud 2018’s headliners, Philadelphia native Lil Uzi Vert concocted perhaps the most memorable performance to grace the festival. Emerging from a cloud of smoke among a giant skull and set of crosses arranged on the stage, Uzi was met with deafening cheers from an insatiable crowd the moment he dropped his first verse.
Always a nontraditional trap artist, Uzi was as charming and entertaining as ever, sporting a broad grin while adjusting the collar of his Adidas tracksuit between songs and making faces at the adoring crowd.
Seamlessly breezing through his eclectic, high-energy set, Uzi not only performed the chart-toppers from Luv Is Rage 2 that have made him a commodity within the trap industry but also paid homage to the unique tracks from his earlier albums that launched his ascent to rap stardom.
Uzi shined the most during songs like “The Way Life Goes” and “Sauce It Up,” when his unaccompanied vocals filled the smoky haze of the night air. Through moments like these, Uzi unabashedly reminded the crowd of his sheer talent as a lyricist apart from the autotuned tracks and bass-heavy beats often associated with his music.
Yet aside from his unwavering musical prowess, the most compelling component of Uzi’s Rolling Loud performance was his sincerity with his fans about the rather emotionally heavy topics laced throughout his music. Not one to shy away from addressing depression, self-medicating behavior and the likes through his lyrics, Uzi admitted to being an “emo rapper” and discussed the ways in which creating his upcoming album helped him work through his own feelings. To the crowd’s astonishment, Uzi even teased his upbeat, upcoming single “New Patek” and was met with an overwhelmingly positive response.
With his enviable lyrical command and quirky sense of style, Uzi owned his place on the stage and delivered a truly unforgettable set that remains a highlight of the festival.