Lil Uzi Vert is back. On Thursday, the rapper released his first solo song since 2018’s “New Patek.” It also ends his early retirement from music, which he announced via Instagram in January.
The new song — “Free Uzi” — arrives under strained circumstances. Since his announced “retirement,” Uzi has been embroiled in a cold war with his label heads, DJ Drama and Don Cannon, who signed him to their Generation Now imprint on Atlantic Records before he became one of the biggest rising stars on the planet. The conflict has ranged from the bizarre (trolling Drama on Instagram) to the savvy (aligning himself with Roc Nation management). Vert’s aptly titled new song is the latest salvo. It’s a three-minute deluge of punchlines over the beat to G Herbo’s “Gangway.”
The song arrived unannounced on SoundCloud and Tidal (an easy upload for an artist under Jay Z’s management company). It will likely arrive on Spotify and Apple Music, the other major streaming services, soon. It does not, however appear on Tidal with an Atlantic Records attribution; a representative for Atlantic referred to the song’s release as a “leak” in an email.
However, a source close to the situation confirmed that Lil Uzi Vert released “Free Uzi” himself; the song also appears in the bio of his verified Instagram account. Moreover, according to the source, Atlantic Records is not allowing Uzi to release any music, and uploading the song was meant to circumvent the situation.
Atlantic Records declined to comment on those claims.