Lil Uzi Vert may have been compared to Prince, but his biggest influences come from hip-hop.
During his appearance on “The Fat Joe Show” on Instagram Live on Thursday night (Feb. 11), Baby Pluto–wearing his $24 million diamond forehead piercing–revealed the top 5 artists that helped make him the rapper he is today, starting with Mike Jones.
“The first rapper that I ever learned lyric for lyric was Mike Jones,” he said, according to XXL. “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.”
He still remembers the Houston rapper’s phone number to this day. “I remember the number by heart. Right now, to this day: 281-330-8004. I felt that star power from him. He had that star power.”
Another one of Uzi’s childhood idols was Lil Wayne, whose style he tried to emulate. “I wanted to be Lil Wayne,” he said. “When I was younger, girls would say I looked like Lil Wayne, so I would run with that. And I would wear the 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 of Amazon and it was a magnet and I had it right here [below his lip] and I would wear it everyday like I was Lil Wayne.”
Uzi, who referred to himself as a “hip-hop Frankenstein,” paid homage to Remy Ma, crediting his aunt for putting him onto the Bronx rapper. “I got a gangsta aunt and my aunt definitely a little different. She one of them girls from the hood that was the DMX fan and the Remy Ma fan.”
The Philly rapper’s influences also included Kurupt (“He had that East Coast mentality but that West Coast swag”) and Young Thug, who Uzi called a “mythical creature.”
“This was later in my life. So, I used to listen to I Came From Nothing, I Came From Nothing 2,” he said of Thugger’s early mixtapes. “I used to watch on YouTube when Young Thug used to perform at the little like 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 before 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 fu**in’ world that was listening to him. I felt like that.”
Earlier this week, Uzi revealed that JAY-Z and Roc Nation Sports president Juan “OG” Perez likened him to Prince. “OG and Hov said I’m Like Prince ..so I’m Lil Prince now,” he declared.