Playboi Carti
Die Lit


3.8
excellent

Review

by robertsona STAFF
May 21st, 2018 | 123 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Playboi Carti crafts a cloudy, effervescent piece of rap workmanship, chock full of moody pleasures.

It’s tough to defend an album like Die Lit from its detractors: “Yeah, I'ma go *** that bitch / I’ma go thrash that bitch / Shawty gon' suck this dick / Shawty gon' suck this dick,” goes the first chorus of “R.I.P.,” and you either vibe with in-house producer Pi’erre Bourne’s buzzing bass and glimmering keyboards or you blanch at Playboi Carti’s loopy misogyny. As with his excellent double-Platinum 2017 single “Magnolia”—“In New York I Milly Rock (hello") / hide it in my sock (what"),” that one went—Carti has this *** down to a science, and even those fans inoculated to his approach will have trouble denying the collateral damage thereby induced. To put it another way: Die Lit, from a sympathetic perspective or an antagonistic one, appears like an apparition of what rap music could look like emptied of lyrical content. Not as much of a “mumbler” as some of his contemporaries, Carti nonetheless mostly foregoes narrative and tonal coloration in structuring his raps; even Sach and his fellow scholars of polysemy in contemporary hip-hop might stop short of undertaking analysis of a tercet like "Right Now"'s "I'm with the stick, I'm in the 6, I'm in the wagon / I'm in the bitch, I'm in the bricks, I'm in the ashes / I got that white, I got that dope, I got that ashy". Listening closely, one can eventually hear an overarching theme of Carti’s admiration (that’s right) of his romantic partners, but Die Lit as a collection of words proves tough to pore over, full of tiny word-hooks that combust like ants under the proverbial magnifying glass of lyrical scrutiny. So shawty gon’ suck this dick, over and over, and Carti will refuse to provide subtext or a psychological groundwork for his fleshly fantasies. Some albums you love unconditionally, but there are some on whose behalf you want to apologize: reader, I don’t blame you if you don’t like this experience.

I insist, however, that Die Lit is worth your time, if not quite the 57 minutes Carti could have chopped down to 40 without diminishing the album’s pleasures. A lot of the gratification of this record is in the production, which performs the age-old hip-hop trick of taking a fractional melodic idea, barely a song by itself, and spinning out of it a thick sonic weave. “Long Time,” the celebratory introduction to the album, is as perfect an example as any: warm, off-kilter keyboards, a thick ostinato, and skittering drums are all Pi’erre needs to undergird Carti’s expressive braggadocio. The overall effect is immensely pleasing to the ear, and the rapper and his crew, spelunking the depths of “cloud rap,” hit the spot again and again. Carti works with tiny loops of auditory bliss that invest his elemental raps with something like holiness. The last time I felt this attracted to the overarching sonic Idea of a rap record was Live.Love.A$AP, and while Die Lit doesn’t match that mixtape’s ambitions and consistency, Carti seems even more comfortable in his environment than did Rocky. And yes, it’s Carti himself that controls this album’s pace and mood (though we should note that Pi’erre contributes production to 14 tracks on here—this guy deserves to be watched closely); occasionally mindless but far from dumb, playing the Playboi but retaining a certain awe in the face of the great sex he’s constantly having, Carti knows his strengths and isn’t afraid to modulate his approach based on the prevailing sonic atmosphere. Carti ebbs and flows with his crew, warm on “Mileage” (as in, “don’t care if your pussy got some”) as he is corrosive on “R.I.P.,” all of it evincing a togetherness between all involved that feels rare in today’s era of free-for-all production credits and obligatory slates of guest verses.

In the final count, there is something ineffably utopian about the aural lilt of Die Lit and sense of luxury and comfort it offers to the listener. The bouncy Don Cannon production “No Time” offers the most convincing figuration of Carti’s fructification of mood and affect: “we ain’t got time,” Carti sings over effervescent synth pads, but the warmth and insistence of his delivery and the production betrays his intent toward eternity anyhow. The simplicity which many listeners will mistake for emptiness here begins to resonate as a strategy for Playboi Carti to reach, in his own way, the heights of his greatest heroes, so that he might ultimately "die lit" and therefore live on in the hearts of his fans and admirers. Head bald like Ginobili and dunking on your hoe like Kobe, Carti wants this *** forever. With the endlessly replayable Die Lit, he gets his wish.



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Playboi Carti


Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2018


16765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

not sure I delved into the specifics of the album enough but I'm having a hard time with that lately. good album

ONEPUNCHMAN
May 21st 2018


398 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lmao

hal1ax
May 21st 2018


13505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

slaps

SandorClegane
May 21st 2018


221 Comments


Carti P

Sinternet
May 21st 2018


19127 Comments


been hearing good things about this will have to check



Digging: Marina - LOVE

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2018


24535 Comments


album cover is sick, didn't dig much off his first but might give this a shot. good shit robert

plane
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2018


7576 Comments


Wonderful review. Waiting for this to click, but Carti is a scratch across the lens for interesting and propulsive production.

Ryus
May 21st 2018


17397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gud tape

Ryus
May 21st 2018


17397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

or album or whatever

Wildhoney
May 22nd 2018


393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review, though imo it gets a touch too florid toward the end. Been jamming this album constantly

brainmelter
May 22nd 2018


6308 Comments


it's lit

Digging: Oksennus - Valkoinen jttilinen

ultrainstinctgranny
May 22nd 2018


121 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

is it safe to say his line in fetti is his magnum opus?

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2018


2503 Comments


how good and lovely is mileage!!! it makes me smile every time i listen to it - "don't care if that pussy got some mileage mileage" is not just a wonderful sentiment but conveyed in such a lackadaisacal and authentic way. whole album is great, and "I'm with the stick, I'm in the 6, I'm in the wagon / I'm in the bitch, I'm in the bricks, I'm in the ashes / I got that white, I got that dope, I got that ashy" is absolutely a great tercet and the elitist approach to seeming non sequieteur freeform reminds me a lot of the early reactionary backlash to Lil Wayne: history has certainly absolved him, and i suspect it will absolve playboy carti as well

Digging: Jakob Ullmann - Fremde Zeit Addendum 5

PistolPete
May 22nd 2018


4969 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

When I listen to this album, there's at the same time this hypnotic luring nature the music has that keeps me bobbing my head. But there's also this nagging feeling that hip-hop music in general is regressing to dumbed down basic repetition and copy/paste lyrical structures and that artists like Migos and Playboi Carti are directly leading us on this path.



So I have no idea what to think. And then when sites like Pitchfork slap on the BNM tag to things like SOBxRBE and this album I start to wonder if I finally am losing touch with the young kids.

Digging: Suldusk - Lunar Falls

guitarded_chuck
May 22nd 2018


17437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it appears your problem is expecting complexity in pop music

PistolPete
May 22nd 2018


4969 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The line now between hip-hop and pop is so blurry that I don't even know what this album fits into. Is it pop?

StallionMang
May 22nd 2018


8950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this really sound like pop to u

rabidfish
May 22nd 2018


5011 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Except for maybe 2 tracks i thought this was boring as balls... Sorry.

Digging: Sick Animation - Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' LOL

guitarded_chuck
May 22nd 2018


17437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the hip hop sound makes up the majority of pop music in 2018 yes

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2018


16765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Why does every review I write make me feel dumb these days lmao now I feel like I had completely the wrong idea re the first paragraph oh well DELETE THIS



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