Review Summary: Well, it’s a Whole Lotta Something at least...
Ever since his mainstream breakthrough with the slow burning hit “Broke Boi” followed by the massive singles “*wokeuplikethis” and "Magnolia”, Playboi Carti has always been one of (if not) the most polarizing figures musically when it comes to the evolution of “trap” music. His self titled mixtape was widely panned by more traditional hip-hop fans, most of which were still digesting the likes of DAMN. by Kendrick or Big K.R.I.T.’s epic, 4eva Is a Very Long Time, while those more familiar with the simpler and minimalistic side of the scene were intrigued at what Playboi Carti really had to offer, but weren’t sure if he could live up to the hype. After an initially mixed response, his debut album Die Lit
slowly became one of those most championed records of that year. With its wildly psychedelic minimalism being paired with repetitive earworm hooks, and ad-libs that have their own ad-libs inside of each other, it was clear that Playboi Carti had made his splash and was here to stay. But after a nearly 3 year long wait, and a plethora of baby-voiced features to keep fans hooked on the likes of Tyler, The Creator’s “EARFQUAKE” and “Pissy Pamper (Kid Cudi)” by collaborators Young Nudy and Pi'erre Bourne, even the most casual fans were starting to scratch at the walls for a new album. Now that Whole Lotta Red
is here, it’s clear that Playboi Carti has the same amount of respect (or lack thereof) for all those listening equally, as this isn’t an album for the fans or for the haters; this is Playboi Carti’s self-fulfilling artistic statement. The real question is, is that artistic statement worth all of the hype that preceded it, and is it going to pan out like 2018’s Die Lit
, and become a slow burning critical darling in time?
Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows or will know the answer for some time. So in reality, I don’t fucking know man, considering how his last two projects panned out though, I’m gonna go with a solid probably. But shit, what do I know, what are your thoughts Con?
Well, let’s be real, everyone knows by now that being famous really means being infamous; if you don't have haters then do you really have enough fans? Do you really think Playboi Carti doesn't understand this by now and do you really believe Mario Judah didn't understand his place in the rollout of WLR? No, because of course they did, this was clearly orchestrated because what else are you going to do when your hardcore fans have been asking for this album for over a year, and your management is begging you to wait until post COVID to release? I don't envy Playboi Carti in this regard, and I think that's why I truly enjoy the absolutely cringe-inducing beginning to this album even more. The first six songs (reminder that the marketed 'Slay3r' is track number 7) are undoubtedly meant to polarize and, boy, do they do that. If you're not a Playboi Carti fan, I'd be surprised if you made it through the first three tracks before giving up and declaring yourself too old for this futuristic rap shit. While the vocal performances can only be positively described as "eclectic", the absurdly repetitive lyrics can only be chalked up to as purposefully annoying. Why would an artist make something so willfully awful and why are people calling this album the next Yeezus? Strange coincidence I assume. And why is this reviewer asking so many rhetorical questions instead of talking about the damn music? It's because Whole Lotta Red has broken my analytical, musical brain and I've decided these words are pointless. Album is a classic if you despise it and it's not as good as you want it to be if you love it. But what do I know? Decide for yourself.