“Got lean in my spleen, in my kidney, my colon/I’m covered in green, they callin me Yoda”
The first thing you find out when doing research on UnoTheActivist is that he and Playboi Carti are cousins. Since Carti has three studio albums and “Unoverse” is Uno’s first, it probably helps to have a famous family relation who has paved the way for you. To my surprise though Uno doesn’t seem to be signed to any major labels or distributors, leading to this debut being self-distributed. You’d have thought his cuz-o would at least put him in touch with a few people, or perhaps sign him to his own imprint to help him get a foot in the door. It’s also interesting that Carti doesn’t appear on his debut, even though they’ve done songs together dating back five years.
I’m undoubtedly over analyzing this shit though, particularly when it comes to songs like “Opp Pack.” His scratchy delivery reminds me of Drakeo the Ruler and his sudden shift in speed and tempo and the end reminds me of A$AP Rocky, but that’s about it. The lyrics fall into the category of tough guy bragging and money flossing, with an occasional pop culture reference dropped into the bars to get your attention. “I’m going to walk in your crib with the chop, when I walk out, I’ma leave with a limb/Told you lil’ niggaz this was an +Invasion+/I kick the door, I feel like I’m +Zim+.”
The most interesting thing about “Unoverse” winds up being the production. There’s an extra oomph to the bass on “Die of Old Age” that makes it more interesting than the sing-song modulated lyrics. “Pew Pew Pew” mimics the sound of an eight-bit video game without quite going the full length of being a chiptune. It may be a little early in his career for Uno to declare himself “Famous” but the head nodding drum track and fast flow he shows on the cut could propel him above the mediocre median of new rappers. I can believe it when he says “I’m on the rise.”
Ultimately the strangest thing about Uno to me is that he put the word “Activist” in his name. There’s nothing about him that suggests to me he’s politically oriented, spiritually conscious, or seeking to create change in a world of racial injustice and police brutality. Maybe his activism manifests itself outside of his music. Within the “Unoverse” he lives in though he’s a fairly typical A-T-L artist with somewhat untypical beats. It’s not enough for a glowing recommendation, but I can at least say I didn’t totally hate it.