Playboi Carti — Whole Lotta Red — Album Re-Review

Hip Hop | Trap

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Ever since the release, and critical acclaim of Playboi Carti’s 2018 album Die Lit, fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the rappers follow-up project.

Formerly dubbed with the titled Red, what we know know as Whole Lotta Red was an album that Carti had been working on since late 2018. And with this album serving as another collaboration between Carti and his go-to producer Pi’erre Bourne, fans of Playboi Carti, as well as myself were indeed excited.

I personally discovered Carti through his song “Magnolia” found on his debut self-titled mixtape, and it served as one of the earliest examples I can remember, of a song that both fit into the categorisation of mumble-rap, and one that I unironically enjoyed. This track later persuaded me to explore Die Lit a bit more, and once again, I found myself liking a good selection of tracks on there.

I feel like what makes a good Playboi Carti track is its sense of catchy energy and engagement. If a track from Carti carries those qualities, then it’d be enjoyable to say the least.

Throughout 2020, I got that very same sense from “leaked” tracks from Playboi Carti, such as ones like “Kid Cudi” and “Cancun” (these were supposed titles for these tracks), and thus I was excited to hear Whole Lotta Red with the idea of seeing these leaked tracks get officially released at the forefront of my mind.

But it seemed that, as if Playboi Carti had been following Kanye West’s release schedule, Whole Lotta Red was continuously pushed back due to being incomplete. And while I for one, appreciated that if an album feels unfinished to the artist, then it shouldn’t be released, there were some fans who were growing increasingly impatient with the delays for Whole Lotta Red’s release. The most glaring example of an impatient fan, would be musician Mario Judah.

While Mario Judah labels himself as more of rock artist, he called out Carti on his late release of Whole Lotta Red, and album that Judah clearly couldn’t wait for. In fact, Mario Judah wanted Carti to release Whole Lotta Red so bad, that Judah decided to give the rapper a notice period, before Judah releases his very own version of Whole Lotta Red. this eventually came to be with Judah’s EP of the same title, where he adopts the style and aesthetic of Playboi Carti surprisingly well. Particularly with the track “Bih Yah”, Judah captures the aforementioned sense of engagement that makes for enjoyable Carti tunes.

But an even greater success came as a result of Mario Judah’s Whole Lotta Red EP, as fans would finally get to see the official release of Playboi Carti’s new album on Christmas day.

Now, this is where the whole re-review thing comes into effect. Initially, I deemed Whole Lotta Red was the most disappointing Christmas present of 2020, but since my first listen of it. I feel myself coming back to the album, for whatever reason.

However, what I still stand by, when it comes to the disappointing effect of Whole Lotta Red, was that some of the most anticipated of leaked tracks didn’t make it onto here, despite the fact that the album carries so many songs on it; 24 of them to be in fact. The fact that tracks like the highly anticipated ‘Cancun’ or ‘Kid Cudi’, was arguably the gravest mistake made when releasing this project.

Aside from that, I feel that the instantaneous wave of disappointment came from the fact that all of these tracks felt unfamiliar to me. Yet, I forgot about the one quality that makes Playboi Carti as appealing of an artist as he is; and that is that many of his best songs grow on the listener like an addiction. Furthermore, I feel that this may be the most glaring reason as to why I kept going back to Whole Lotta Red.

Having given this album more time, there is a far greater amount of tracks that at least stand as enjoyable, especially in the later part of the album.

And now having considered this album a tiny bit more, almost a month later I see myself finding Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red, much less of a disappointment.

Favourite Tracks: Rockstar Made | Control | Sky | Not PLaying

Least Favourite Tracks: Go2DaMoon | Meh

AWGE | Interscope Records

Enjoyment: 7/10 | Memorability: 8/10 | Atmosphere: 5/10

Uniqueness: 5/10 | Satisfaction: 4/10 | Narrative: 5/10

Final Score: 6/10



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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.