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Lil Uzi Vert Is Back With A New Song — And Dance

Lil Uzi Vert performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas.
AFP via Getty Images
Lil Uzi Vert performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

After weeks of teasing snippets, Lil Uzi Vert has released "Futsal Shuffle 2020," the single that he's "going with" from his long-awaited album Eternal Atake.

Like the best Uzi songs, it's high-energy and disruptive. The synths sound plucked straight from an old Soulja Boy song, there are samples from Tyler, the Creator's 2019 Camp Flog Gnaw set and Uzi's notorious interview with Nardwuar and the dance — well, just try the dance. Consisting of a volley of kicks and hops that look like a cross between a soccer workout routine and Dance Dance Revolution footwork, it's harder than any trending challenge from this decade.

"Futsal Shuffle 2020" arrives after a year and a half of stop-starts in the album's roll out, widely believed to be the product of a cold war between Uzi and Generation Now, the Atlantic Records imprint he's been signed to since 2015.

Lil Uzi Vert's career may be stranger than any other rap star's since his wildly successful 2017. To make the most of the current streaming infrastructure, a single-driven rapper will release new music constantly, maximizing the odds that something will stick and become a hit. But Uzi sunk into the shadows after his smash "XO Tour Llif3;" his steadiest presence this year came in the form of indulgent "fit pic" compilations on his Instagram account.

The situation around his music has been murky. In July 2018, Uzi announced Eternal Atake, his follow-up to 2017's Luv Is Rage 2, through two cryptic tweets; the artwork soon followed, as well as the song "New Patek," his only release of 2018.

The album still hasn't manifested. At a hometown show in Philadelphia in December 2018, Uzi announced to the crowd that the album was finished, but didn't mention a release date.

A month later, Uzi announced he had retired from music. "I'm done with music I deleted everything I wanna be normal ... I wanna wake up in 2013," Uzi wrote on his Instagram Story. He publicly called out Generation Now's DJ Drama and Don Cannon for casting off the album into label purgatory.

Drama has denied these claims. "Uzi should put out EA [Eternal Atake] tomorrow or any day he wants," Drama commented on DJ Akademiks' Instagram post about the project. "He has me and Cannon's total support and blessings to drop it."

As rappers do, Uzi came out of retirement in just a few months, signing a management deal with Roc Nation and self-releasing the song "Free Uzi" in March, seemingly without Atlantic Records' permission. Then, on the heels of the singles "Sanguine Paradise" and "That's A Rack" leaking, Uzi officially released both in April.

The announcement of "Futsal Shuffle 2020" came after Thanksgiving, when he fired off on Twitter, taking shots at Drama, Cannon, long-time collaborator Playboi Carti and more. The single now sees the light of day but there is still no word yet on Eternal Atake; hopefully this marks the official start to the roll out.

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Mano Sundaresan is a producer at NPR.