Lil Uzi Vert delivered plenty of gems to Fat Joe during their hour-long conversation on The Fat Joe Show. At one point, the Terror Squad leader got Uzi to reveal a surprising list of individuals who helped shape his career.
In Uzi’s world, the Eternal Atake rapper points to Houston OG Mike Jones as his biggest influence, a surprising pick for a number of reasons. Jones gained fame in 2005 with his signature “281-330-8004” phone number, “Who?!” adlib and hit single “Back Then,” which helped propel his debut album Who Is Mike Jones to double-platinum status.
“The first rapper that I ever learned lyric for lyric was Mike Jones,” he told Joe around the one-hour mark. “That’s the first rapper I learned everything lyric for lyric and I wanted to be like him…I had a Boost Mobile and my mom would give me $15 and I’d get phone cards and shit and I would spend all my money calling Mike Jones’ number ‘cause I wanted to talk to him…I remember the number by heart. To this day: 281-330-8004…I felt that star power from him. He had that star power.”
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Uzi then went down the list of his favorites and cited Lil Wayne’s influence due in large part to their similar appearances and Weezy’s dominance in the mid-to-late ’00s, Remy Ma due to his aunt’s appreciation of the Bronx rhymer and Kurupt because of Tha Dogg Pound rapper Philly origins. Most of all, he saved his last bit of praise for Young Thug who he called a “mythical creature.”
“You wanna know why?” Vert asked Joe. “And this was later in my life. So, I used to listen to I Came From Nothing, I Came From Nothing 2. Just all that shit. And I used to watch on YouTube when Young Thug used to perform at the little skating rink shits…The reason that he was such an influence to me [was] because he was almost like a mythical creature back then…I actually knew before the public.
“Not even from the public. I’m not from Atlanta, so everybody out there knew about that man before me. Atlanta and around Atlanta, Georgia or whatever. But, just where I was from, I felt like I was the first person in the fuckin‘ world that was listening to him. I felt like that.”
Earlier in their conversation, the two revisited Uzi’s chart-topping Eternal Atake album. Although the project was a welcomed return to music after years of label drama for Uzi, he personally felt like he didn’t give his best effort.
“I didn’t want it to go on three years, so I dropped this album and the music is tolerable,” Uzi said. “It’s not, ‘Oh my god, this is shit’ — the music is definitely there, it’s good production. But honestly, from Lil Uzi Vert we expect a fucking star, moon, spaceships and the high above. We expect everything from him because I’m already giving off this persona. I have a fucking pink diamond in the middle of my head, Joe. Everything is supposed to be going fucking diamond.”