"He’s fucking crazy! Uzi is crazy, bro! He’s actually crazy, like, I can’t explain it," Tyler, The Creator told Dazed in an interview last summer. Since breaking into the wider public consciousness two years ago, Lil Uzi Vert has gone on to cultivate a status as one of hip-hop's biggest mavericks.
With his colorful dreads, septum bullring piercing, and facial tattoos, the Philadelphian — along with the likes of Young Thug — has ripped up the rulebook on what it means to be a rapper in 2018, eschewing traditional norms to usher in what some have described as the genre's first post-gender era. But then again, it would be remiss to even label Uzi a rapper. Because Uzi is a rock star.
Like A$AP Rocky before him, Uzi's obsession with fashion has been evident from the get-go and is a major facet of his overall brand. Take this passage from his first FADER cover story in 2016, for example:
"An hour after we entered Dover Street [Market], Uzi had spent just north of $5,000 and paid for nearly everything in $100 bills. He decamped with four bags full of various threads from Supreme, Vetements, and UNDERCOVER."
It's said that, for most people, sneakers are the gateway drug to a lifelong obsession with menswear. But in Uzi's case, there's a third chapter, where his obsession with menswear has led him into another, altogether much wilder, fashion sphere entirely. A natural eccentric, if Uzi's 'fits were "out there" in the beginning, these days they're from another planet. And it makes sense.
Because if you're one of the biggest hip-hop artists in the world with a reputation as a style icon to maintain, simply walking into the nearest DSM and making a magpie-like swoop for that month's brand du jour just won't cut it. Staying fresh requires some outside the box thinking; people want to see something they've never seen before.
With his style getting more outlandish by the day, we take a look at some of the star's craziest 'fits in recent times. Perhaps Tyler had a point...
Push me to the edge, skinny jeans are dead
Japanese denim label Evisu has always enjoyed a healthy rapport with hip-hop culture, most notably in the early '00s when the likes of JAY-Z and Lil Wayne threw their weight behind it. But when rappers began to gravitate towards skinny cuts and biker jeans, the brand's popularity diminished; its gaudy designs and pocketing rendered out of date.
Still, they say fashion is cyclical, and it's somewhat ironic that Uzi — one of the artists who has helped normalize skinny jeans in hip-hop — should now rock a brand which fell by the wayside in part to that very movement.
All Stella everything
With the Balenciaga Triple S past saturation point, Uzi switches up his chunky footwear game with the less-publicized Stella McCartney Eclypse low-top: a sneaker composed of color-blocked faux suede and neoprene. An oversized cardigan, also from Stella McCartney, blue OFF-WHITE jeans with a floral motif, and a Balmain belt round off this kaleidoscopic 'fit. (And yes, he really did eat a $1,000 crab.)
Some celebrities do the all-Gucci look properly (A$AP Rocky), while others struggle (*cough* Jared Leto *cough). Here, Uzi most definitely falls into the former camp, looking like an errant, yet incredibly well-dressed, schoolboy. Either that or he's about to take a nap.
The silk getup features text by American artist Jonathan Borofsky, who you may know as the brains behind Berlin's Molecule Man sculptures.
Uzi made a splash when he turned up at this year's Grammy's in heavily accessorized pants that, initially, some mistook for recently shuttered Juggalo-favorite JNCO (RIP). While it's totally feasible that he'd rock said brand, these are actually bondage pants from Daang Goodman's TRIPP NYC — a label that's been carving out a reputation with its grungy, androgynous aesthetics.
If you missed our feature, the chains are crafted by Andira Sample's Height & Light. Inspired by ancient history and '90s hip-hop culture, Sample's work is reminiscent of contemporary avant-garde jewelry labels such as AMBUSH, albeit with a much more affordable price point.
Best of British
Burberry has been in the headlines recently following Christopher Bailey's LGBT-inspired farewell show. For this 'fit, Uzi goes all in on labels, rocking a Balenciaga hoodie with an oversized Burberry shirt, shorts and Chanel trainers. With Riccardo Tisci being appointed the new Chief Creative Officer of the British heritage brand, might we see it go down a more streetwear-centric path in the future?
Pass that (Von) Dutch
Following in the footsteps of Gigi Hadid and Kylie Jenner, Uzi is not the first celebrity to turn up in early '00s staple Von Dutch — a Paris Hilton favorite back in the day. While the Von Dutch revival has not really kicked off in the way the likes of Kappa and FILA have done in recent times, we still regularly see the brand's infamous trucker hat make its way into street style galleries. Staying in lockstep with the thorwback theme, the pants are Trueper cargo pants by skateboard legend DC which were gifted to Uzi during a recent trip to Australia. They compliment the Air Max 95s well.
Jeremy Scott flex
When it comes to unconventional choices, this look is stacked. Once more, Uzi is resplendent in a Von Dutch trucker hat — this time in pink — along with jeans and a T-shirt from Evisu. Where it gets crazy, however, is the belt and sneakers. The former makes use of serrated metal and includes a skull and crossbones design for a punky vibe, while the sneakers are Jeremy Scott's highly polarizing JS Bones basketball high-top that he dropped with adidas way back in 2011. Uzi has a strong relationship with the designer, previously shouting him out on track "Steaktown Anthem" and then performing at his Coachella party.
Livin' like a rockstar, smash out on a cop car
There's a lot going on in this 'fit, but those yellow cheetah-print trousers by COMME des GARÇONS are unquestionably the highlight. A self-described rock star, this is one of Uzi's grittiest get-ups to date, opting for a customized leather bike jacket and a vintage T-shirt by sleazy '70s glam rockers KISS. Britain's favorite boot, the Dr Martens, is a low-key but appropriate choice of footwear.
When you're finished up here, peep A$AP Rocky's most iconic Gucci moments.