Lil Uzi Vert’s Rock-Star Style Is Shaking Up the Rap World

Rap music has a long, long history of taking inspiration from rock-n-roll. There are highlights like Run DMC’s cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and low points like Lil Wayne’s “rock” album Rebirth that might come to mind. There is no shortage of links between the two genres musically.

But recently, we have seen more and more rappers taking cues from the rock-star lifestyle and look, not just the music. Acts like Travis ScottPlayboi Carti, and even Migos have added subtle and not-so-subtle rock flourishes to their already eclectic personas and musical style. However, the 2017 rapper who seems to have taken the most cues from rock-n-roll has to be Lil Uzi Vert.

Lil Uzi Performance
Image via Getty/Cooper Neill

Whether it is his highly regarded single “XO Tour Liife”(which is tagged as alternative rock on Soundcloud), insane stage dives at live shows, or even posting videos online of himself jamming out to Paramore in the car, the 22-year-old has made it crystal clear that he is inspired by rockers of the past and present.

Most of all, he’s doing his best to look the part. His constant, unapologetic blurring of the traditional lines between men’s and women’s fashion can definitely be credited to rockers like David Bowie or Iggy Pop. These artists helped pioneer rock’s androgynous style, wearing makeup and skin-tight leathers and embracing more feminine movements in their performances.

 

Louie x Vert🤐👀🤔 #liluzivert #Gotcash

A post shared by Lougotcash (@lougotcash) on May 13, 2017 at 12:20pm PDT

Earlier this year, Uzi was roasted by the masses for rocking what has now become an infamous fit. Up-and-coming New York rapper Lou Got Cash posted a photo on his Instagram alongside Uzi, who was donning a low neck, distressed sweater from Faith Connexion, a spiked choker and a Goyard purse-looking satchel, and the internet’s floodgates opened, questioning his masculinity and his place within the rap community.

How did he react? Like any rock-star would. This past May, he showed up to the the Billboard Music Awards in a $2,400 women’s Valentino white see-through blouse, telling the haters during his interview with Sway Calloway, “They never felt these fabrics before.” No matter what he wears, Uzi just simply doesn’t give a fuck what you think about it.

For a lot of Uzi’s inspirations, look no further than Marilyn Manson. Uzi has declared his fandom for Manson numerous times. Perhaps the most blatant instance of this was during an interview with Nardwuar back in 2016: “At age 27, I will leave this Earth for this man right here—the Pale Emperor,” said Uzi, referring to a Manson tour poster Nardwuar gave him.

Manson has always been a style icon in his own right. His all-black goth wardrobe, accented with leather whenever possible, and makeup were a uniform for rebellious teens in the late ‘90s. Manson left a mark on high fashion too: He appeared in a campaign for YSL back in 2013 and performed at Stella McCartney’s Pre-Fall show in 2016. More recently, Manson’s style legacy lived on with 2016’s rocker tee trend, as the likes of Justin BieberKylie Jenner, and, of course, Uzi have all been seen rocking his old merch.

But Uzi is someone who takes this inspirations further—rocking an old tour T-shirt isn’t enough. He’s repeatedly said that he was inspired to get his first set of platinum grills when he saw Manson donning a pair in his “Dope Show”music video. And check out his own custom Ben Baller chain—an iced-out, spiked choker chain with a blinged-out Marilyn Manson face pendant.

The chain is a perfect example of what Uzi has been able to do with his fashion. He’s takes clear inspiration from the rock-star aesthetics of the past, while adding a fresh hip-hop spin to the equation. He is stepping away from the traditional idea of what a rapper is supposed to dress like, perhaps more than we’ve ever seen before.

It is this self confidence and nonconformity that have allowed Uzi to make his style more than just a sideshow. He said it best in a 2016 interview with Global Grind: “I am a rock-star. I am rage.”

Lil Uzi BET Awards
Image via Getty/Bennett Raglin/BET

 

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Drake’s 10 Thirstiest Moments

It's harder than ever to maintain your composure as a single human being in 2017. Regardless of your gender or sexuality, Instagram models and pictures of your high school crush in a bathing suit are only a few clicks away, and sometimes it's difficult to refrain from stopping at just smashing that like button.

Drake knows this better than anyone. He has songs upon songs dedicated to his pursuit of women, including drunk-dialing anthems for exes like “Marvin's Room,” and he rubs elbows with celebrities average people can only fantasize about. Being a star isn't going to prevent Drake (or anyone else for that matter) from falling for beautiful women or lacking self-awareness from time-to-time. 

So in honor of Drake shooting his shot at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, we're going back through some of Drake's thirstiest moments in history, when he let his desire for a woman take him just a little too far. No shade buddy—I have certainly been there before.

Jhené Aiko, Saturday Night Live

drake hugs jhene aiko

Some of you have probably been in a crowded setting—like a graduation party or a reunion—that ends with a lot of people saying goodbye to one another all at once. It can lead to some awkward situations as guests try to be polite, even to people they don't really want to see.

When Drake had the chance to say goodbye to singer Jhené Aiko​ on the SNL stage in 2014, he didn't want to waste the opportunity. Unfortunately, she did not seem interested in returning the favor, and unlike the struggle hugs at your 10-year reunion, this botched hug was broadcast to millions of people and saved as a GIF for all of eternity. That's a spin move that puts Barry Sanders to shame.

Skylar Diggins, 2014 ESPY's

Once you're a multi-millionaire musician who can, you know, actually hang out with star athletes, it's probably past time to stop wearing their jerseys. But as part of his busted courtship of basketball star Skylar Diggins, Drake walked on the ESPY's stage draped in Diggins' jersey, ready to read an original poem about their theoretical marriage, “Can I Dig In?”

Yes, it was just as corny as it sounds. Diggins was a good sport about the whole thing, but when push came to shove she opted for the parent-like smooch on the forehead, even as sparks quite literally flew behind the pair. 

Lorde, Instagram

 

Wifey (Low Key) 💍💍💍

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:57pm PDT

At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, there's nothing low-key about calling someone “wifey” to your Instagram following of over 36 million people. Maybe all the broken-hearted songs have been written because Drake hasn't realized some things are best kept between two people, and two people alone.

But unlike with some of his other thirsting, however, Lorde may in fact be cool with it:

OK, so maybe this guy knows what he's doing sometimes. 

Mia Khalifa, Down in the DMs

Former porn star Mia Khalifa has made a habit of exposing dudes who try to get all up in her direct messages, and Drake is no exception. During a 2015 interview, Khalifa revealed she had a big celebrity slide into her DMs whose name rhymed with “rake,” so you can put the pieces together fairly easily.

From the sound of things, his flirtation didn't go over well. “It was flattering but his intentions were clear. It was just so cringeworthy,” said Khalifa. Better luck next time, Drizzy.

The Gonzalez Twins, UNLV Women's Basketball

UNLV's women's team has never drawn over 5,000 people to a home game, but the lack of a following didn't stop Drake from crashing the scene back in 2015. Once he became aware of the presence of a pair of sisters, Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez, the Toronto native started showing up and lurking amongst the sparse crowd at UNLV home games.

Drake is a big hoops fan, of course, but the Lady Rebels were only 18-14 that season. It may help him shed his reputation as a sports front-runner, but that's a lot of mediocre basketball to watch just to meet a couple college girls.

Rihanna, 2016 MTV VMA's

Drake's speech to set up Rihanna's acceptance of the Vanguard Award at the 2016 VMA's was pretty touching for a while, as he talked about their history together and sang her praises as an artist. And then he dropped the now infamous, “She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old” line, and nothing was the same.

When Drake tried to put the moves on her after he speech was done, further evidence on video makes it look as though he got curved. The on-again, off-again nature of their relationship probably makes this look worse than it actually was, but just like that annoying couple you all know and hate follow, he very easily could have said and done this behind closed doors. Based on some of the looks on her face during his speech, Rihanna seemed like she also would have preferred a more private moment.

Rihanna, That Damn Billboard

 

When he extra ❤🏆!!!

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Aug 26, 2016 at 3:43pm PDT

Speaking of that moment at the VMA's, Drake also went through the trouble of broadcasting his appreciation for Rihanna on a billboard spotted by the singer. I've heard of grand gestures, but you could send some flowers or treat her to a spa day and I promise she'll appreciate it just as much, my guy.

We could probably do a whole list of Rihanna-related thirst from Drake. Remember, this is the guy who said he wanted to “go half on a baby” with the singer during a concert shortly before the 2016 VMA's.

Doris Burke, Raptors vs. Warriors Game

Doris Burke is one of basketball's leading ladies, so it's hard to blame Drake for taking a liking to the whip-smart ESPN analyst. But wearing her face on a sweatshirt and asking her out to dinner through an interview courtside? That's a little bit much. But maybe Drake knows better on this one—Burke seems like she's into the idea.

Vanessa Hudgens, 2017 Billboard Music Awards

Drake's latest foray into public thirst is just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions. After carving out some space in his acceptance speech to say Vanessa Hudgens looked “incredible,” Drake decided to take his admiration of her beauty to the next level almost immediately. He did what any admiring man would do in his shoes: he took it to the 'gram.

I have a lot of respect for the two-pronged attack, even if Nicki Minaj didn't seem all that pleased about it in the crowd.

Nicki Minaj, Their Entire Relationship

While Drake's turn as an admiring lap-dance viewer was mostly for show in the “Anaconda” music video, the image of him staring down Nicki isn't exactly off-brand in the history of their relationship. On Nicki's song “Only,” Drake admits the only reason he hasn't slept with her is because she already has a man in her life. 

Of course, someone being tied up with a significant other has never stopped him before, and he reiterated on “Only” he wasn't done with his pursuit. “When that's over, then I'm the first in line,” he said at the time. He and Nicki have had a rocky relationship in the years since that song dropped, but things are looking up as of late. Maybe all this waiting in line will finally pay off! 

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Everything We Know About Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘Luv Is Rage 2’ (So Far)

During this weekend's Billboard Music Awards, it was Sway who point-blank asked Lil Uzi Vert what was up with Luv Is Rage 2. Uzi's response was a simple… and confusing: “It'll be out soon. Like, really soon. Like sooner than soon.” 

What does soon mean in rapper time? That's hard to say. Travis Scott recently said he'd be dropping new music “in a few days,” which turned into three songs being posted on his SoundCloud… 10 days later. With his insane tour schedule (and some legal trouble), we can understand Travis not being able to make it to SoundCloud-dot-com to bless the masses with new material. Uzi? Uzi's been teasing Luv Is Rage 2, the sequel to 2015's Luv Is Rage, since late 2016, though.

For true Uzi fans, how soon is “soon”?

And while we're on the subject, what do we really know about Luv Is Rage 2? If you've followed Lil Uzi Vert on Instagram, you've probably heard a grip of tracks from this project, and the anticipation is high as hell right now, especially for diehard Uzi fans (including those of the “shoot up my school because I don't have your project” variety). Let's cut the bullshit and figure out everything we know about Luv Is Rage 2.

Release Date

Again, let Lil Uzi Vert tell it, Luv Is Rage 2 is going to be out “soon.” His Twitter bio says “coming Soon,” he told Sway that it'd be dropping “sooner than soon,” and while I don't know what it means to tweet your project title next to a sleepy face emoji and a fire emoji, something tells me that too might just mean “soon.”

Let DJ Don Cannon (who co-founded the Generation Now label that Uzi calls home), though, the project isn't coming out “no time soon.” At least, that's what he said in April of 2017. “If you didn’t hear, Luv Is Rage [2] is not dropping no time soon. It’s not going to be a long time from now, but not within this month. We still working on the album. It’s a process. You got to make the album, mix the album, master the album. Put it out. That takes time when you’re perfecting it.”

Features

During his livestream, Don Cannon also spoke on how Uzi's massive hit “XO Tour Llif3” would be getting a special guest when it hits Luv Is Rage 2, but as of right now, there's no word on WHO this guest will be. Judging by his recent output, Uzi could have everyone from Migos to ASAP Rocky to Iggy Azalea to Travis Scott and Gucci Mane on Luv Is Rage 2. Hell, he might get on his EDM shit and do something new with Steve Aoki. Both Young Thug and Wiz Khalifa were on the first Luv Is Rage release as well, so it'd be safe to assume that one of them would be on this.

In terms of producers, we'd assume that Don Cannon would be all over it, as well as Sonny Digital, TM88, FKi, and the other producers from the first Luv Is Rage. Uzi's Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World also featured beats from Metro Boomin and WondaGurl, and beatsmiths like Zaytoven and Nard & B were on The Perfect Luv Tape. We feel like somewhere in the middle of these producers (plus some surprises) will make up how Luv Is Rage 2 will sound.

Songs

This is the area we know least about. The only confirmed track on Luv Is Rage 2 is “XO Tour Llif3,” but it was also a part of the four-track Luv Is Rage 1.5 EP that dropped on Feb. 26, 2017. During the last few months, Uzi has spent time previewing track after track on Instagram. Of course, none of these have had track titles, but there's some heat in these snippets.

 

Love your girl more den I love myself 😌❤️® LUV IS RAGE 2

A post shared by @liluzivert on Dec 9, 2016 at 5:42pm PST

 

🤘🏾😉🔥®

A post shared by @liluzivert on Jan 11, 2017 at 8:35pm PST

 

Forreal ? 🙄 LuvIsRage2🔥 coming soon® OldFlow

A post shared by @liluzivert on Dec 21, 2016 at 2:15pm PST

 

🔜 2.®

A post shared by @liluzivert on Nov 27, 2016 at 6:45pm PST

Hopefully most of these are on Luv Is Rage 2… or drop at some point.

Expectations

This is an important moment for Uzi. After making a name for himself via his 2016 grind, this is truly the year he should be shining in. “XO Tour Llif3” proved without a shadow of a doubt that he has widely-appealing tracks at his disposal. Problem is, he's going to have to raise the bar in terms of his hit-making ability. “XO Tour Llif3” can't be the only gem on this project.

Uzi will also have to prove that he's bigger than the hype surrounding him, which usually has to do with what he has on and how he acts on stage than for his actual tracks. Uzi's feeling like the next rap superstar, and a strong showing with Luv Is Rage 2 could bode well for those claims.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Break Down Drake and Tory Lanez Ending Their Feud

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska recap last night's Billboard Music Awards and Drake's big night. The squad also break down Drake and Tory Lanez ending their beef and what it might mean for both going forward. To stay on the topic of beef, the crew look at the Partynextdoor and Jeremih situation and how it got to where it is. Later, Budden and Akademiks react to the new T-Wayne project and debate about whether pop stars like Katy Perry are taking advantage of the Migos buzz. To wrap, the guys discuss Logic's huge second week sales drop and what Kanye West working with Pusha T on his next album really means. 

 

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LeBron James Exchanges Words With Heckler and Reporter After Frustrating Game Against Celtics

LeBron James had a tough time against the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night. He only scored 11 points during the game—and didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter—as the Celtics overcame what was a 21-point deficit at one point to win 111-108 on a buzzer beater from Avery Bradley. It was LeBron's lowest point total in 107 career home playoff games, according to ESPN, and it was just the second time in LeBron’s playoff career that he was held scoreless for an entire fourth quarter.

Needless to say, LeBron was frustrated while speaking with reporters during his post-game press conference. He was asked to explain what happened, and he responded by saying he had “a tough game, period.”

“Me personally, I didn’t have it,” he said. “My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game, building that lead. But me personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”

And a short time later, LeBron took his frustrations out on Kenny Roda, who works for Cleveland radio station WHBC. Roda asked LeBron about his poor performance during the game, and LeBron responded by asking Roda why he only comes around to ask questions to him after Cavaliers’ losses.

“I was just pretty poor,” LeBron said. “What else do you want me to say? It seems like you only ask questions when we lose…You always come around when we lose, I swear.”

LeBron also reportedly shot Roda a look when his press conference was over:

Roda responded on Twitter by pointing out that he has been to four of the five Cavaliers’ home playoff games this season:

It wasn’t the only example of LeBron showing off his frustration following the game, either. According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, LeBron was also involved in a tense altercation with a fan on his way to his post-game press conference. The fan apparently heckled LeBron for only scoring 11 points, which prompted LeBron to yell “What did you do?” in his direction. The fan responded by shouting back about how he had played basketball at a local college called Hiram College before he was whisked away by security guards.

Despite the loss on Sunday night, the Cavaliers still have a 2-1 lead over the Celtics in the ECF and will look to move one step closer to the NBA Finals when they return to court for Game 4 in the Cleveland. It’s hard to imagine LeBron playing as poorly as he did in Game 3 when that game takes place.

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Drake Shoots His Shot at Vanessa Hudgens, ‘Squashes’ Beef With Ludacris at Billboard Awards

“I had a close friend of mine that didn't support my album, but then, like, supported other people's stuff, and I asked him why,” Drake said during his acceptance speech after winning the award for Top Billboard 200 Album for Views at the Billboard Music Awards. “The response was 'I don't want to look thirsty, and you get enough love as it is.'” That interaction taught Drizzy a valuable lesson: “We're all here on Earth for a limited amount of time. We gotta show love while we're here.” 

Then, Drake got a couple of things off his chest. “Vanessa Hudgens, you look…incredible tonight.” Now we all know what was going through the rapper's mind when the camera caught him staring at Hudgens during the opening monologue. 

Nicki Minaj, however, wasn't happy with Drake's comment.  

Drake admitted that he and Ludacris haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but he's still a big fan and loves him. Drizzy also expressed his gratitude for finding his way back to Nicki Minaj. 

He even showed his appreciation for Lil Wayne before bringing some levity back by closing his acceptance speech and commenting on his father's purple suit with purple shoes game. 

Afterwards, Drake seemed to be shooting his shot, following her on IG and liking one of her pics. Savage mode.

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Drake Reportedly Has ‘Memorable’ Moment Planned for His Billboard Music Awards Performance

It sounds like Drake has already won the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.

Not only is he up for 22 nominations (an all-time high record shared with The Chainsmokers), he’ll also take the stage for a live performance. And according to the show’s producers, Drizzy’s set will be one for the books.

“You know, Drake does not perform on television very often so I think whenever he does it's a real event,” executive producer Mark Bracco told Billboard. “We built a real terrific relationship with his team, working creatively with them and coming up with a big idea, and I think it's gonna be a very, very big moment in the show. It's not a surprise necessarily but it's gonna be a moment that people aren't exactly expecting…It'll be memorable, I promise you that.”

Bracco explained it took months to lock down and prepare for Drake’s BMA set. Once it was revealed how many nominations the Toronto rapper had earned this year, the pressure really increased.

“Obviously he then became the biggest nominee and that's a big deal and just trying to come up with something really different and unique and exciting and spectacular,” Bracco said. “And that's what Drake deserves is a big, huge moment and, luckily, in working with his team I think we've come up with something creatively that's going to be really astounding.”

Drake’s Young Money labelmate Nicki Minaj is expected to open the awards show and will be accompanied by Lil Wayne, David Guetta, and Jason Derulo. There’s no word if Drake will join Nicki on stage; however, fans are crossing their fingers that the two, along with Weezy, will perform their hit single “No Frauds.” We’ll just have to wait and see.

Drake’s nominations include Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Selling Song (Drake Featuring, WizKid & Kyla “One Dance”), and Top Rap Album (Views). To see his big performance—as well as any potential wins—be sure to watch the 2017 BMAs on Sunday 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

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Why Beyonce Is Going to Get Snubbed Once Again at the Billboard Music Awards

The 2017 Billboard Music Awards are set to take place Sunday, and if you're expecting Beyoncé to score big at this year's event, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

We don't say that as a slight to Beyoncé's 2016: Lemonade is a classic, “Formation” is undeniable, and she truly dominated the stage with her tour by the same name. But as we saw at the Grammys earlier this year, that kind of acclaim doesn't necessarily equate to awards show accolades.

The criteria for the nominee and winner selection process for the Billboard Music Awards is different than the Grammys, in that they place more weight on the commercial success of an artist and their work. Lemonade moved an impressive 2.1 million album-equivalent units in 2016. However, that falls behind Adele's 25, which moved 2.3 million. And keep in mind, 25 sold much more than that when it came out in late November 2015; this fall, it went diamond

And at 4.1 million, Drake's Views outpaced both in 2016. Beyoncé is up against Drake and/or Adele in four categories, so kiss those goodbye.

There's also the Weeknd factor. While his recent album Starboy hasn't sold as much as Lemonade, he's been more of a visible figure than any other pop artist over the last six months, with successful singles and a major headlining tour to boot. And you can never rule out Rihanna's star power.

If you still don't think this is a possible outcome, check back on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Beyoncé was coming off the surprise release of her fifth solo album and received seven nominations, including Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top R&B Artist. She went home with zero trophies.

​I think she'll earn more awards this time around, but not in the bigger categories. My Beyoncé-related predictions:

  • Top Artist: No
  • Top Female Artist: No
  • Top Billboard 200 Artist: No
  • Top Billboard 200 Album: No
  • Top Touring Artist: Yes
  • Top R&B Artist: No
  • Top R&B Album: Yes
  • Top R&B Tour: Yes

You can catch the Billboard Music Awards this Sunday, May 21 at 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC to find out how Beyoncé fares.

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Miguel Fan Being Tested For Brain Damage After Billboard Awards Incident

carter

By Maurice Bobb

When Miguel accidentally kicked Khyati Shah in the head during his spirited performance of “Adorn” at the Billboard Music Awards last month, the subsequent gifs and memes had the whole world laughing, including the Kaleidoscope Dream crooner, who tried to make light of the mishap. But it doesn’t seem like anyone’s laughing now.

According to TMZ, the victim’s lawyer, Vip Bhola, is alleging that his client may have suffered brain damage due to the infamous Hulk Hogan-esque leg drop.

“Some of the difficulties she’s experiencing are cognitive in nature and lead to suspicion of a neurological head injury,” said Bhola, who further alleged that Shah didn’t receive proper medical care after the kick and should have been rushed to the hospital. Instead, Shah was given an ice pack and even spent time backstage with Miguel while he conducted an interview.

“Well, I think it’s kind of clear what happened. But I’m very happy to bring my new friend, Khyati; we just met. Unfortunately, we did not meet under the best circumstances, but I think we’re OK,” Miguel said with Shah by his side. “The crazy thing is, when you’re performing and you’re just kind of into it, you never know where it’s gonna go and where you’re gonna go with it, and how that might turn out. So this is one of the less-favorable moments.”

“I adorn him,” Shah added at the time, seeming to have to no hard feelings about being kicked in the head by her favorite singer.

Bhola says his client will await the results from the neurologist before she decides to move forward with a lawsuit, but given the fact that she’s already retained legal counsel, there’s a really good chance that Miguel will need to lawyer up.