We, as music enthusiasts, sometimes come across albums that transcend beyond just being good. They become symbolic of a particular era, trend, subculture, or genre. Whole Lotta Red by Playboi Carti happens to be one of those albums. In this review, we will deconstruct and analyze the album to provide an in-depth and conclusive opinion.
Whole Lotta Red, the second studio album by American rapper Playboi Carti, was released on Christmas Day 2020. Playboi Carti had been teasing the album for almost two years and finally announced a release date for December 25th. This sparked immense anticipation and hype within the hip-hop community.
The album consists of 24 songs and features various artists such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Future. The album cover portrays a red vampire-like Carti, which enhances the eerie, dark, and intense theme that runs through the album.
- Tracklist Analysis
The album opens with the intro track Rockstar Made. The song serves as an excellent appetizer for listeners, as Carti raps over a hard-rock inspired instrumental. Moving on to the second track, Go2DaMoon, featuring Kid Cudi, the track gives off strong emo-trap vibes with Carti’s characteristic ad-libs.
The third track, Stop Breathing, kicks off with an eerie instrumental and hard-hitting production. The song is highly introspective, with Carti opening up about personal struggles.
JumpOutTheHouse, the fourth track, is an explosive track with a high energy drum-kit and aggressive bass, which continues into the next song, M3tamorphosis, featuring Kid Cudi. The song borrows inspiration from vintage punk rock, displayed through a sudden change of beat and a guitar riff on the chorus.
The seventh track, Vamp Anthem, stands out as the apex of the album thematically. The track is a combination of Carti’s ad-libs, heavy metal instrumentals, and rockstar-themed lyrics.
F33l Lik3 Dyin, New N3on, Control, and Punk Monk show Carti’s vocal range, dynamic experimentation with instrumentals and themes, and rough and intense song-making skills. Sky, On That Time, and Slay3r are relatively more pop-inspired tracks, which have catchy melodies and lyrics.
ILoveUIHateU, Die4Guy, and Not PLaying end the album with a somber, melancholic, and reflective tone.
- Production and Instrumentals
Whole Lotta Red has some of the most experimental and unique production choices in any rap album in recent years. The album showcases Carti’s taste for punk-rock, metal, and 808 heavy beats. The production team, including maaly raw, Art Dealer, and Pi’erre Bourne, really shines with each track. The instrumentals and beats are highly diverse and dynamic, which complements Carti’s vocals and ad-libs perfectly.
Carti has never been known for his lyricism, and the same goes for Whole Lotta Red. However, lyricism has never been the focal point of his music, and fans never expected it from him. What Carti is renowned for is his ad-libs and unique vocal delivery. The focus of the lyrics is to create energetic, hype-inducing, and catchy songs that listeners can vibe with. Whole Lotta Red does precisely that.
Whole Lotta Red is an album that highlights Carti’s experimental and punk-rock direction. The album is macabre, dark, and moody thematically. It is an album about rebellion, self-discovery, growth, and pain. The album’s themes range from Carti asserting his rock-star status to reflecting on his struggles, fame, love-life, and spiritual journey.
- Reception and Impact
Whole Lotta Red received polarizing reviews upon release, with some critics panning it and others hailing it as a classic. However, regardless of critics’ opinions, the album’s impact cannot be denied. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts and has inspired countless memes, fashion, and cultural references. Additionally, the album has also pushed hip-hop towards a more experimental direction, with numerous artists taking inspiration from it.
Whole Lotta Red is a unique, experimental and polarizing album that isn’t for everyone. Playboi Carti is known for his distinct style and his willingness to take risks, and this album encapsulates that perfectly. The production, instrumentals, themes, and energy of the album are all top-notch and worthy of appreciation. It’s an album that requires repeat listens to truly comprehend its depth. The album deserves a 4.5/5 rating and is undoubtedly one of the most iconic albums of the year.