Playboi Carti decided that Christmas Day was the day to give all of his fans a present rather than his own son Onyx as he released his latest album, Whole Lotta Red just as Santa was making his rounds. The rapper, from Atlanta, Georgia, split up from his equally famous Australian partner, Iggy Azalea earlier this year but has previously been reported as having a good relationship with the rapper and model, with Azalea also saying their son “Onyx is so loved by his dad”. Seems like Carti may have got his priorities somewhat muddled on this occasion, especially when you consider how much of a gift Whole Lotta Red actually is, and read Iggy’s subsequent comments on the matter.
Playboi’s eagerly anticipated new album, his follow up to 2018’s Die Lit, had been beset by ongoing problems ahead of it’s release, not least of which have been the numerous leaked tracks. The album that he has eventually released has no doubt been affected by this as he tries to push his own boundaries. Carti has long since been considered quite experimental but on Whole Lotta Red he has gone further and darker than ever before in defining his sound.
Whole Lotta Red is a sprawling mass that spans 24 songs and includes performances from Future, Kid Cudi and Kayne West. It’s not an easy listen and doesn’t let you in without a great deal of perseverance, this is not an immediate or commercial album by any means. It is cohesive, and is drawn from a thread that can be heard throughout the album. This however is one of it’s few redeeming features.
The dark and brooding back drop that forms the majority of the score and arrangement on Whole Lotta Red is challenging at times but it does show that Playboi Carti is not merely interested in staying safe and repeating former glories. On his latest release he has chosen to take a musical path that is without doubt going to polarise opinion. There are no easy in’s on Whole Lotta Red, including his simultaneously released single taken from the album, M3tamorphosis (Ft. Kid Cudi).
Some of the deepest bass lines you can imagine help to soundtrack nearly all of Carti’s album and the difference between some of them is minimal. You can, if you’re streaming, flick between tracks without knowing on which one you’ve landed or where about’s on the track you are.
The previously mentioned cohesion works both ways, the tracks melt into each other without any of them standing out particularly. Ironically the lightest track on the whole album is it’s last, F33l Lik3 Dyin. Here the hour long album is concluded with a song that samples Bon Iver’s iMi and as such it stands out as an anomaly among the other tracks Carti has included.
There is probably a good album trying to squeeze itself out of Whole Lotta Red. With some editing to possibly half it’s size, some push back from producers and some rethinking this might of worked. As it stands Playboi’s new album is a disappointing follow up to Die Lit and certainly not the Christmas present that we expected.