MY 250TH REVIEW! Merry Christmas! THANK YOU FOR 200 FOLLOWERS!
'Whole Lotta Red', Playboi Carti's sophomore album and the most anticipated album of 2020, drops on Christmas. When reviewing this album, I made sure to be super strict, as this was hyped up to be one of the best albums of the decade, while making sure to be open-minded, as I was never a huge fan of Carti. After taking a listen, the album was really good for the most part, but no where near the level of buzz that the album created and the energy that the album was supposed to exhale. Playboi Carti is overrated, probably one of the most overrated artists at the moment, as the production completely carried him on the entire project and was the main reason for why I even enjoyed it to the extent I did. Let me explain...
Playboi Carti's vocals were above average, sounding sleek and squeaky, which I wasn't a huge fan of, but was a lot better than his baby-like vocals that appeared on tracks earlier in the year and even a few tracks on the album. I was never a fan of his vocals, but the were actually listenable with some lovely, hilarious moments being created with the way that they sound and seemed to be wonderful fit to the energetic production. While using the sleek and squeaky vocals, Playboi Carti sadly started to sound stale early in the album, but the improve of quality in production during the second half of the album seemed to save things before they got too far out of hand. Carti's baby-like vocals served as a fresh breath of air, actually being used well on the album, something I didn't expect as I strongly disliked them. He doesn't have a lot of options in terms of variety, only having his original vocals and baby-like vocals which caused all the songs to sound the same, something that was a super big problem on the long track-list of 24 songs as even artists such as Trippie Redd who had 26 songs on his album had a ton variety options. Something that got annoying soon was the horrible ad-libs that were not satisfying and consisted of him mainly saying 'What?!', ruining the quality of his vocals by a bit in the process. Overall, Playboi Carti's vocals were pretty good but had some problems such as lacking variety which was needed on the long album.
Production was pretty perfect on this album, as it was psyched-out to maximum level, something that really added to the hype level of the album and was actually amazing along with Carti. A clear use of many different synthesizers could be heard with most of them forming magnificent instrumentals, except drowning out the drums at times which wasn't what I wanted to hear. The drowning of drums were fixed sometimes with some hard 808s that created a powerful feeling and brought more life to Carti's vocals, which was very much needed as they got stale near the start of the album, something that I mentioned before. The production didn't ever fail to create some catchy vibes that got me head shaking, without me even realizing, reminding me that this was exactly what I wanted from the production which was to get me excited every time I heard Carti say anything at all, something that I predicted wouldn't be done, but with the producers proving me wrong. I expected and wanted a lot more Pierre Bourne beats as Carti and Pierre always cook up bangers, but I understand why Pierre wasn't actively present on the album as this type of hardcore, hype production style with high use of synthesizers isn't really his style. When I look back at the production, I feel like they could've had 3-5 beats that stood out from the rest and resisted from using the synthesizers as the would've really added the variety which I though was much needed as Carti couldn't really bring any type of variety in his performances so that would've really helped, although I assume that they were assigned to stick to the theme. 'New N3on' was such a refreshing song that had a stunning insturmental created by Molly Raw, who really added some magnificent counter melodies to help too, being my favorite beat on the album as it really sounded bright and beautiful. Overall, the production on the album was wonderful and exactly served up to the expectations of what I wanted and thought would work along with Playboi Carti, personally to me.
The lyrics lack a lot and were just awful throughout the album, with everything that Carti rapping about being outdated by a while to maybe around 2018. Before I get too deep into the lyrics, I want to thank Carti for making the lyrics a lot more clear and with him not completely mumbling like he did on '@Meh' earlier in the year. I know that Carti isn't the most lyrical rapper and the people really just listen to him for the vibes, which the production managed to provide although Carti couldn't, making this more of a mess. I felt like he really needed to surprise his fans by adding at least a few bars to live up to the fans' expectations, especially going to the extent of at least some catchy choruses and just a tiny bit of wordplay, which he didn't do. The choruses where filled with a 'whole lotta repetition' as he just repeated lyrics about drugs, lean, and popping pills for the most part. I would've thought that all rappers would've learnt after Juice WRLD's death to reduce taking drugs and drug talk, but Carti seemed to not care a bit and go all out with the talk, something that I found to be a failure as even though it added to hype feeling, it just got boring after 3-4 tracks. Additionally, just imagine the influence that Carti has over his fans and the amount of people that he has the ability to connect to on probably the biggest moment career and all he does is talk about drugs. Carti occasionally drops some love and violence bars, but they're too rare and are really forgettable for the most part with him just being super generic when he talks about those topics repeating the same thing over and over again, such as that he misses a girl or straight-out spelling a gun, being more dumb than what 6ix9ine talks about. 'Punk Monk' was probably the most lyrical song on the album with Carti actually taking his time to think of some hilarious lines on the only verse on the song as he name-drops many rappers in a super funny way which I enjoyed. Overall, the lyrics on the album were really bad with Carti not being able to create anything catchy, creative, or cool and instead just talking about drugs while using way too much repetition.
The three features on the album were all some super big names with each one of them provides some fascinating performances, each in their own unique way. Kanye West definitely had to be the worst feature out of the three as he sounded super awkward on the psyched-out production, just seeming like he didn't belong there, even though his lyrics were excellent as he added a few bars which were no where else to be found on the album, especially when he raps "YEEZYs in the stock room, that's the name, make the stock boom" being a bar. Kid Cudi was a cool feature, suiting the fascinating beat that he was known as his feature was fantastic not because of his verse, but because of the magnificent humming that was actively present on the production and made the song sound like I was still stuck on the moon. Future was a fantastic fit to the feature list as he really fit the lyrical theme of drugs and brought a decent verse which was short but surely super catchy, with his chemistry with Playboi Carti being lovely. I think that we all expected there to be a lot more features on the album which was another thing added to my list of disappointments as Post Malone, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert did not make the album as they were heavily teased over the weeks leading up to the album. The lack of features really showed as there were many moments where it seemed like a perfect moment for artists to enter, with the song ending instead, something that I haven't really noticed on lots of albums this year, but probably noticed it on this as it was a long album and listening to Playboi Carti repeating something again and again got me a tiny bit exhausted. Overall, the three feature were very valuable, except that I would've swapped all three for seven meh features as features could've changed the outcome of the album and made it outstanding, instead of many songs awkwardly ending randomly, right when a feature would've sounded fantastic.
So did 'Whole Lotta Red' live up to the hype? No, 'Whole Lotta Red' really didn't live up to the expectations, something that I don't think any artist could've lived up to. The hype was just too high at the end of the day and wasn't in reachable limits. I assume that waiting two years to drop something will work out and can be called success for Carti if he sells 300k+ units first week, as his fan base is huge and the lack of Carti music should be pushing the sales to a magnificent level. So if this all works out and he sells that much, is there any way that this album could hurt Carti? Yes, if I'm being honest, I expect some fans to disappear after this album from the dissatisfaction of waiting two years for this album. The album was supposed to be a major moment in the decade and remembered for a long time, with the last song being nailed for that, while the rest of the album seemed like it was freestyled and put together in less than a month. Nothing seemed to be heavily worked on, except maybe the production, while Carti seemed to sit in the studio for a week to and come out with the album being done as the lack of effort on his part seemed to shine brighter than his diamonds. The only thing that felt like it had a concept was the production, with Carti's performance lacking any theme or relation to the production. I just feel like this album wasn't meant to be an album that you can vibe to and should've been a lot more, something that was monumental in the trap/rap industry and changed things forever. Carti could've capitalized and became one of the top artists at the moment, but instead chooses to drop an album that couldn't even please a lot of his fans.
Overall, 'Whole Lotta Red' really shows that the amount of hype that you create can come back and hurt you in the future, something that sounds wrong and weird but occurred with this album, as the album contained some slick vocals from Carti, production that had excellent energy flowing through it, and lyrics that were lacking a lot and didn't do its job.