Album review: “Whole Lotta Red”

Playboi Carti is looking for blood on his third album, “Whole Lotta Red”

By Jacob Baker

Playboi Carti has had fans waiting impatiently for the release of his third project “Whole Lotta Red,”released on Dec. 25. Carti established himself as a punk rockstar on his sophomore album “Die Lit” through a rap lens and “Whole Lotta Red” further cements that label. 

Delving into the aesthetic Carti has established over the past four years, a more proper label on “Whole Lotta Red” would be a hardcore punk rockstar. Hardcore punk is known for its cut-throat and aggressive style, and Carti channels that perfectly on the opening track “Rockstar Made.” 

It’s lines like, “I just killed an opp, yeah I swear I’m countin’ caskets,” and “Even when I’m at my f*****n’ show, I keep one tucked,” that will make the listener mean mug to the song. 

That same aggressive mentality Carti establishes on “Rockstar Made” is also found on tracks like “Stop Breathing,” “No Sl33p,” “New Tank” and “Meh.” Tracks like those are going to create some violent and bloody mosh pits when Carti gets a chance to tour. 

Carti drops lines stating he’d be perfect alongside metal and punk bands like Slayer and Black Flag, but on the flip side, Carti shows how versatile he is on the more poppy tracks like “Beno!” “King Vamp” and “Slay3r.” Carti’s ability to execute on these types of tracks isn’t to be dismissed. But even more impressive is the instrumentals. 

It truly doesn’t matter what type of track it is. “Whole Lotta Red” has some of the most impressive and unique production within the rap genre. Even if “Whole Lotta Red’s” unique sound is too different for some listeners, the fact that Carti is evolving his sound rather than going down the safe path by dropping an album similar to  “Die Lit” speaks volumes as to what type of artist Carti is establishing himself as. Producers like F1lthy, Wheezy, Outtatown, Malaay Raw, Art Dealer, Pi’erre Bourne and Jonah Abraham have helped Carti make that step in evolving his sound as with each album Carti releases, a new set of producers seems to go above and beyond compared to the last project. 

Part of Carti evolving his sound is the sheer amount of different voice inflections he conjures up throughout the project. Many fans were infatuated by Carti’s baby voice on “Die Lit” on songs like “FlatBed Freestyle,” and while Carti does channel that style on songs like “Teen X,” it’s the new emphasis on doing everything from deep, nasally and angry voice inflections that make “Whole Lotta Red” a refreshing new step for Carti.  

“Die Lit” had quotable and notable lyrics, but it’s the rage and unparalleled energy Carti brings on “Whole Lotta Red” that make this project so much more exciting and jump out the house worthy. 

The album does come at a hefty length of 24 tracks at an hour and three minutes, and while that might turn listeners away, the album doesn’t come with many flaws. “Go2DaMoon” featuring Kanye West is an immediate treat as the album’s second track alternates between two instrumentals, one more somber and the other that would come straight from a horror movie, but the track is too short for its own good. Just when the listener is loving what they’re hearing on “Go2DaMoon,” the track ends after a short Carti verse, a real disservice to the amazing production by Wheezy and the atmosphere Carti and West create. And tracks like “On That Time” and “Not PLaying” aren’t bad but they feel like b-sides. 

Despite the wait for Carti’s highly anticipated third album, the wait was undoubtedly worth it as Carti has yet again evolved his unique sound. With the help from a talented set of producers, “Whole Lotta Red” ends this year in music with Carti punching his listeners in the face with his mic unapologetically.