Fashion magazine 032c debuted its latest summer issue with a cover story interview featuring Lil Uzi Vert. Published on Tuesday, the Philadelphia rapper opened up for the first time about a personal aspect of their identity: how they came to embrace their gender nonconformity and the adoption of “they/them” pronouns.
The subtle change was first noted in July 2022 when Lil Uzi Vert, whose real name is Symere Bysil Woods, updated their pronouns on their Instagram bio. This move was quietly confirmed to Pitchfork via their spokesperson. Done so without explanation or formal announcement, the change left many fans wondering about its motive. Well, we finally have our answer.
As part of the Q&A, the “Just Wanna Rock” rapper explained the thought process behind their choice to transition their identity to gender nonconformity last year, clarifying that there was no hesitation but a lot of education involved with the decision.
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“I never hesitated,” the Pink Tape artist said. “But I did take my time to learn as much as I could about this before I was able to proceed. Taking the time to figure out who you are is a big part of what it means to be alive. Once you figure out whether you’re here with it, there with it, or both, you’re not alone anymore.”
“This community offers access to a certain kind of support that you might not have had [previously during] your entire life because you weren’t raised that way,” they continued. “I come from a household where it’s not OK to be ‘non’ anything.”
Lil Uzi Vert opened up about their pronoun change.
“No, I never hesitated. […] Taking the time to figure out who you are is a big part of what it means to be alive. Once you figure out whether you’re here with it, there with it, or both, you’re not alone anymore. This… pic.twitter.com/dFPxf445Yr
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) May 31, 2023
As noted by Complex, the 27-year-old star dismissed the notion that the act took “bravery” on their part.
“Bravery has only a ten percent chance of living, I’m not brave at all. I just think a good product [is] a good product,” they said. “What you make is what matters, not how you identify.”
Lil Uzi Vert further offered their perspective on America’s acceptance of nonbinary people, noting that the country is gradually adjusting to the change.
“America is slowly getting there,” they said, per XXL. “I don’t think it’s right for everyone, everywhere, to change at the same rate. There are a lot of places that have been untouched by certain influences, and I think that’s beautiful and perfect in its own way. Everything has a gift and a curse.”
Elsewhere, Lil Uzi Vert also opened up about their seven-month rehab stint in their journey to sobriety, crediting CEO and co-founder of JAY-Z’s Roc Nation, Desiree Perez, for pushing them to get help.
“I’m lucky to have people in my life who truly care about me and my well-being. Specifically, Desiree Perez, who helped me get into this program,” they said. “I didn’t want to do it, but I had to — and I can say now that it was a great thing to do.”
Lil Uzi Vert further noted their surprise as to how effective it was.
“The first month and a half were hard, but after that, it was easy, because the people there became my family. They showed me so many different outlets and ways to cope with life,” they revealed. “We did a lot of group talks, a lot of writing on whiteboards. I was so sure that it wasn’t going to work, but surprisingly it’s pretty effective.”
Lil Uzi Vert made themselves known when they came out with their debut single, “Money Longer,” in 2016. They have since become a prominent figure in the hip-hop and trap music scenes.
They released their sophomore LP, Eternal Atake, in 2020. The critically acclaimed effort topped Billboard’s 200 chart.
After a brief hiatus, the hip-hop icon released their latest hit, “Just Wanna Rock,” in 2022.
The move did little to appease fans anxious to hear their next long-awaited album, The Pink Tape. While they have yet to provide a date or even projected release for the elusive project — which has been teased since 2020 — Lil Uzi Vert’s producer, Lyle LeDuff, told fans that the effort will be worth the wait.
“Songs are great,” LeDuff wrote on Instagram regarding the project after a fan inquired about the delay. “But they wanna make sure it’s right and not rush it. We all know y’all ready for it, but we wanna make sure it’s a classic and not just a bunch of random songs!”
The Philadelphia rapper has reportedly been recording up to five songs a day and is now trying to “scale down 1500+ songs to an album.”
Lil Uzi Vert may not think it’s brave to come out and embrace who they are so genuinely, but for fans, it’s a revelation that is both powerful and becoming of the artist they’ve come to love.