This already seems to be a rather polarizing album but it was only set to be one with all the controversy and delay surrounding its release. Playboi Carti is someone who I was not too fond of at first, as when I gave his self-titled and "Die Lit" albums a chance I didn't like either and only learned to appreciate those records after a handful of listens. With this new release over here, the highly anticipated "Whole Lotta Red", you could easily say it does not live up to the hype, but after all 2-3 years is not even that long for music creation, it's only seen that way in the trap/hip hop community, so it's not like I was expecting a masterpiece off of that relatively short amount of time, but, regardless, it is definitely surprising to me that I enjoyed this instantly.
"Whole Lotta Red" seems to be an artistic shift for the rapper, he opts for an approach that's a lot more punk and screamo influenced in the first half and the overall project sees a rearrangement from his more spacey, trippy and atmospheric trap beats to production that's a lot more electronic and high-energy to compliment his unorthodox mumbled and unclear melodic rap approach.
I'm failing to see what's there to dislike about this record in comparison to his other efforts, this might even be better than his self-titled mixtape. Unless you haven't been liking his music up until this point, which is understandable, I really don't know why you wouldn't be into this one, as even if it is a slight change of pace in his artistic direction, it is, nevertheless, also accessible for his usual fans, as he's delivering unintelligible nonsense all throughout the record over really memorable off-the-wall EDM fused trap production. This is even set to attract a newer audience, perhaps people who aren't much into hip hop, as it does vaguely borrow influences from a bunch of other genres and displays a unique atmosphere for its entirety.
I absolutely love the production work that had been done with this record, it is an absolute high point for it, for me personally, perhaps even for 2020 as whole. Sadly, the experience does not only come with positives, as there are aspects that also held back the LP quite bit, that being its runtime and the amount of unnecessary nearly interlude lengthy tracks. Even though the whole LP transitions smoothly all throughout, I'm just not too keen on albums over 1 hour, especially if it's not already a classic record, I'm always set to come in with a negative mindset beforehand if it's too extended. That ended up hurting the album, even though minimally, as there are a lot of short songs with non verses and repeated phrase choruses, such choruses which appear all over the project but don't go over very well specifically on the shorter songs that don't have a well founded structure to begin with.
So yes, we get new Playboi Carti and it's not the same stuff we've heard before plus he delivers a legendary MF DOOM reference? Of course I'm liking it. But on a serious note, upon minimal listening this is not as infectiously catchy as his other releases and clearly Playboi Carti focused much more on creating a compelling atmosphere than to deliver memorable pop rap tracks, which is a choice I commend. He switches it up a bit but still continues to deliver his intoxicating and incomprehensible raps over production that's a lot more boomy, which I feel like bridges the gap between so many listeners that this should only be a massive success for him.
In such manner, "Whole Lotta Red", while being lengthy and lacking a bit of variety throughout its duration, serves as a great batch of unnatural, vampiric bangers that sound like the soundtrack to a new Castlevania game.
Favorite tracks: Rockstar Made, Stop Breathing, M3tamorphosis, Slay3r, New Tank, Teen X, Vamp Anthem, New N3on, Control, On That Time, King Vamp, Sky, Over, ILoveUIHateU, Not Playing and F33l Lik3 Dyin.
Least favorite tracks: Go2DaMoon, No Sl33p and Place.