The former 2016 XXL Freshman appeared on The Fat Joe Show on Instagram Live last night (Feb. 11), and named the hip-hop artists who have attributed to him becoming the rapper that he is today.
The “XO Tour Llif3” rhymer explained that his No. 1 most influential rapper is Mike Jones. “The first rapper that I ever learned lyric for lyric was Mike Jones,” he told Joe. “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.”
Uzi is referring to Mike Jones’ 2005 hit song, “Back Then,” when he recited his number in the lyrics.
Lil Uzi then named Lil Wayne, saying that people—particularly girls when he was younger—said he looked like the New Orleans-bred MC. “And then after Mike Jones, of course, I wanted to be Lil Wayne,” he continued. “When I was younger girls would say I looked like Lil Wayne, so I would run with that. And I would wear fedoras, and I would wear the tight Polo tees with the skinnies, and wear the Vans and shit…And back then, I ordered a fake piercing off Amazon and it was a magnet and I had it right here [below his lip on the right side] and I would wear it everyday like I was Lil Wayne.”
Uzi said he became a fan of Remy because of his aunt. He was also impacted by Kurupt because he’s a Philadelphia-born rhymer, like Uzi Vert, with a West Coast swag and flow. And lastly, he considered Thugger “mythical creature.”
“I gotta say Young Thug,” the Philly-bred rhymer said. “You wanna know why? 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.”
He added, “And then, what made it even more crazy, when I moved to Atlanta and started my career, he just embraced me. The first day I met him, he embraced me. And he already knew who I was, so…It was just a big A+…he definitely is a big influence in my career right now, the beginning.”
Lil Uzi Vert naming the five rappers who have influenced his career comes after he shared via Twitter that Jay-Z and Juan “OG Juan” Perez, the president of Roc Nation Sports and Jay’s longtime friend/business partner, compared him to Prince.
Check out Lil Uzi speak on his top five most influential rhymers below. The topic starts around the 1:07:00-mark.
See 21 Hip-Hop Projects That Fans Were Really Excited About But Never Happened