UZ is trap legend. The mysterious producer helped to define the genre with his ongoing Trap Shit series that began in 2012. The sounds served as the foundation and inspiration for a multitude of trap producers. Over the years, his sound has expanded and grown with his EPs Frontier to Magellan serving as markers. After 5 years in the game, UZ has opted to turn over a new chapter with the release of Layers. His debut album dives deepest into his mind, offering an array of trap and bass sounds that cement his status as an innovator. Alongside the release comes the announcement of UZ’s departure from anonymity. He’s officially taken the mask off and will be moving forward with his identity known to the world.
So who is the man behind the mask? First off, he’s French but has been residing in the US since 2015. He had mentioned in his previous Reddit AMA that he had produced and performed under different monikers in the past. It turns out he used to DJ under the name DJ Troubl; taking home two World Championships (World Champion Allstar Beatdown – New York & World Champion I.T.F beat-juggling – Munich). That’s not all, he also produced under Plezier, dropping garage and house grooves that attained support from the likes of Claude Van Stroke, Pete Tong and more (while UZ was popular). As to why UZ opted to reveal himself world. He said the following:
“The anonymity was fun when I started it 5 years ago, but now I feel like there’s too many masked artists and it really has become more of a gimmick than a message. Our motto at the time was to let the music speak by itself and not focus on the artist. It’s still true, but now that I’m a curator and I’m working full-time on my label Quality Goods Records, I need to make myself heard, talk to people face to face, etc.… Also people need to know where I’ve come from and where I’m going – right here, right now. It’s just the beginning of a whole new journey for me and I’m really excited about it.”
While most will focus on the news of the reveal, what’s most exciting is the new music he has blessed us with. I often wonder if albums are an outdated/unnecessary avenue for electronic artist but Layers proves their value. The project takes listeners on a journey moving between a myriad of soundscapes. ‘Introspection’ is an evocative stage-setter that will leave you wanting more. The following two cuts centre around strong female vocal performances and wordly influences. ‘Inferno’ is an instant standout that pairs UZ with rising Quality Goods Records star Oski and DJ legend Craze. Tracks like ‘Gone’ and ‘On Me’ see a stellar trap backing blended with rap bars. ‘Without You’ feels like a film score on some trapped out steroids. Just when you think think the project can’t be any crazier; QUIX and Chaz French take us for a wonky ride to the ‘Lobby’. With no mask and no gimmicks, Layers proves that UZ is still at the forefront of the genre. Stream the project below and grab the download here.