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Lil Uzi Vert: New Single and Heaven’s Gate Controversy

The rapper has a notable cult obsession.

Mackenzie Dineen

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Lil Uzi Vert dropped “New Patek,” produced by Dolan Beats, on September 17, 2018.  It is the first single on his long-awaited album “Eternal Atake,” which still lacks a concrete release date. The track is a whopping six minute stream of rap, including lyrical gems such as “shut up, bitch, don’t give me migraine,” and “Got clap on lights no flick.”  It samples the title song of anime “Death Parade,” recorded by Yuki “Lin” Hayashi.

The “New Patek” single artwork illustrates Lil Uzi Vert emerging from the silhouette of a keyhole. This imagery is borrowed from the logo of Heaven’s Gate, a cult most notorious for its mass suicide in 1997, in an effort to reach the Hale-Bopp comet, a supposed spacecraft. Uzi’s Instagram profile picture is a currently a drawing of himself wearing a sweater with the same keyhole graphic. The same picture was also posted as an alternative cover, that the rapper deleted. Prior to the drawing, Uzi used a photo of the cult leader, Marshall Applewhite’s face.

 

The image in question, featuring Lil Uzi. (Image: Lil Uzi Vert/XXL Magazine)

The rapper also posted a photo on Instagram of the “Eternal Atake” album cover in early August.  The cover boasted artwork that directly copied the cult logo, which was taken down shortly after Uzi was threatened on the grounds of copyright infringement. The surviving Heaven’s Gate members told the Telah Foundation,  “Lil Uzi Vert has to abide by common trademark and copyright laws. Especially in a matter as sensitive as this. You can rage against social inequities but be cognizant of someone else’s intellectual property. How [would] he feel if his songs were altered a bit by someone else and they made money off of it? Not cool.”

Following the release of “New Patek,” Heaven’s Gate spoke with Page Six in regards to the copyright issue on the single cover. They said:

“Our attorneys are working with him on direct and clear infringement of trademarks, copyrights and use of logo. We are also dealing with expressions of ‘Fair Use’ which is cited when this kind of image is displayed. The artist has to be careful to not make full use of the spirit and meaning of the Group while altering images of it to make it look like he isn’t infringing. We will see what can be sorted out. It is in the hands of attorneys.”

Lil Uzi Vert has not made any comment on the cult’s plans for legal action.  Listeners can enjoy his new single on Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Mackenzie Dineen is a Boston-based student writer in her senior year, working towards a degree in Entertainment Media at Lasell College. She is a firm believer that live music is life's greatest pleasure, and prefers anything heavy. She is a proud cat mother of a 2 year old black Mainecoone with thumbs, named Scarlett. If she had it her way, every day would be Halloween.

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