Lil Uzi Vert. This was the artist that a good amount of teenagers and young 20 year olds were most excited to see at this year’s Roots Picnic: a 21-year-old GG Allin loving punk, hailing from North Philadelphia’s Francisville.
Most pre-millennial rap fans don’t get Vert but whatever — millennials love him and as one himself, Vert feeds off the energy of the youth, dancing and hopping around onstage, his rainbow dreadlocks swinging with wild abandon.
Applause and cheers welcomed Vert as he made his way to the front of the Oasis Stage. Wearing a tie-dye Metallica t-shirt and ripped jeans, the Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World rapper seemed to treat the performance like a homecoming.
People came through: DJ Drama, two-thirds of Migos (Quavo and Takeoff), Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj. But the best moment of Vert’s set was when his DJ went into “WDYW,” the DJ Carnage-produced banger that features Vert alongside Rich The Kid and A$AP Ferg.
“I turn five to a 10 / I turn 20 to a 50” Vert raps, the crowd responding loudly with “Forty-forty hit your woadie shorty / Balmain, Saint Laurent with the Fendi!”
This is it. The turnt-the-fuck-up bubble is about to burst, and Vert knows exactly what to do. He climbs alongside a boxcar next to the stage. “One, two, three, four” his DJ screams as the bass booms across the Festival Pier.
“I don’t give a mothafuck” Vert yells. The guy at the one minute mark to the left of the screen doesn’t either. He raps Vert’s verse to his phone, probably sharing this in real life moment in real time through Snapchat.
The song returns to the hook and Vert stretches the microphone out over the crowd, encouraging everyone to scream the words at him as loud as they possibly can. They do. Vert inches closer towards the edge of the box car, as if he’s about to jump into the audience. He doesn’t, instead climbing back down and returning to the stage to finish the rest of his performance.
Sure, it’s not the most rockstar move to pull after performing one of the craziest songs a part of your repertoire. But what we wanted was a stellar performance from Vert, and that’s what he gave us.