Lil Uzi Vert threw the dang wireless mic into the audience and asked fans to sing his beloved, dark single, “XO Tour Llif3.” He danced along.
“Push me to the edge, all my friends are dead,” the audience chanted.
Better late than never.
After a day-of cancellation Oct. 4 for the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lil Uzi Vert’s DJ put on the pregame hype songs at 6:16 p.m. Friday at the Honda stage. At 6:17, the kids up front were moshing.
Rocking white sweat pants and a zip-down hoodie with green flames that resembled a Monster Energy can, Uzi jumped onstage rapping “Sanguine Paradise.”
“If you don’t know me, I go by the name of Lil Uzi Vert,” he told the crowd. “And if you do know me, you know I really do what I want.”
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That led into “Do What I Want,” as a hyped-up kid near me started going nuts. He knocked my phone onto the Zilker Park turf, which, fair.
“Open it up more — that’s too small,” Uzi said to the fans making a center-stage circle pit, before launching into the block-knocking “Of Course We Ghetto Flowers.”
The Carnage collaboration “WDYW” was a sea of pogo-bouncing fans rocking out, as well. It was all nihilistic music for being alone with your AirPods.
Yet the rapper born Symere Woods has, unfortunately, hinted that he’s bored with music and more into fashion these days.
“Honestly, in my heart, I think I do this better than music,” he told GQ recently about fashion. “’Cause the music (expletive) is effortless.”
He’s not wrong about how easy it is for him. Especially live: He can calmly sing-rap over his hazy, warbly songs about diamonds, taking a one-night stand to brunch and haters at-large. Fans fill in the words.
“Wokeuplikethis” proved a point with its “sounding like me” hook. The prolific-on-the-Internet, SoundCloud-made rapper has quietly become a tremendously influential dude. He makes droning, heavy songs that navel-gaze lyrically over intense drum samples; it’s a soundtrack for being sad on Twitter, and one emulated all over social media.
As I walked back toward the ACL Fest entrance, what struck me most was how easy the music was for all sorts of folks to vibe out to: parents on blankets and kids singing along while filming on their phones alike; bros in hoodies seemingly too old to be vaping; and people just here for the selfies.
The emo raps resonated because they’re hypnotic, good and stirringly human. Lil Uzi Vert might be over it, but here he understood and wielded the power of his mass-appeal art.