Friday at the Liacouras Center, Philadelphia homegrown talent Lil Uzi Vert left concertgoers breathless after a star-studded performance featuring unexpected appearances from the likes of Playboi Carti, A$AP Ferg, Nicki Minaj, and Pharrell, during what is now becoming an annual Christmas tradition. Although, Uzi has moved up in the world; last year's show was at the smaller Fillmore.
While Uzi may not be known for his lyrical prowess, the energy that he possesses while on stage is unmatched. Wearing a black and tan Playboy varsity sweater and diamond-encrusted chains, Uzi bounded across the stage rapping songs from mixtapes Luv is Rage and Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World, as well as Luv is Rage 2, Uzi's debut studio album released this summer.
At one point, Uzi left the stage and climbed a wall of bleachers flanked by five members of his security detail — it was an odd sight to behold considering Uzi's small stature compared to his massive bodyguards. Once he got to the second level, he inserted himself into the crowd and continued to perform. Then, Uzi tucked his chains into his sweater, tossed his hat into the crowd, balanced himself on a railing, and tossed himself — like his hat — into a sea of fans.
Playboi Carti was one of the first celebrities to take the stage alongside Uzi, performing "wokeuplikethis." Uzi began the song "WDYW" atop two inverted crosses that stretched across the stage. A deafening roar erupted from the crowd when A$AP Ferg, who is featured on the track, sauntered out wearing a red leather trench coat and rocking a mouthful of diamonds.
The crowd clearly thought A$AP Ferg's cameo was the pinnacle of the evening, a theory further cemented when Uzi performed his verse and hook from hit track "Bad And Boujee" without the assistance of hip hop trio Migos. That is, until Nicki Minaj sashayed on stage with derriere-length blond hair and leopard print knee-high boots to perform "The Way Life Goes Remix" and "Rack it Up." Pharrell, whose N.E.R.D. just released the well-received No_One Ever Really Dies, was the final notable artist to share the stage, joining Uzi on "Neon Guts."
The smallest celebrity to grace the stage, though, was Papi, the son of incarcerated rapper Meek Mill. The moment was touching, as the little boy recited his father's "Dreams and Nightmares Intro."