Two years. That’s how long fans have been waiting for Playboi Carti’s sophomore album to release. With growing anticipation for the album to come out, including pushes from fellow rapper Mario Judah, the wait finally ended. Fans everywhere rejoiced at the highly anticipated album, Whole Lotta Red. That is, until they heard it.
The album has 24 tracks, most of which sound similar and unfinished, and includes features from Kanye West, Future and Kid Cudi. With such a hard hitting lineup, the album seemed set for success, but it appears Playboi Carti took a quantity over quality approach, rendering the album an hour-and-three-minute disappointment.
However, the album is experimental. And there are certainly tracks where the exploration shines through.
Compared to other rap songs that follow a standard industry formula, Whole Lotta Red definitely mixes things up, with unique samples and sounds creating music that definitely isn’t what people expect in the mainstream.
The features are relatively standard, which is fine since all the rappers did their parts, but they’re not hitting anything out of the park.
Tracks like “F33l Lik3 Dyin,” “Sky,” and “Slay3r” are definitely some personal favorites of mine, and are songs that I may consider playing in the future, but they don’t compensate for the lackluster majority of the album.
A particularly interesting track on Whole Lotta Red is “Vamp Anthem,” because it samples Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” in D minor. That title may not ring a bell, but after listening, everyone will recognize the sample of the organ’s notes. However, even after the unique idea is implemented, the song fails to keep up to standards that we all expected.
In general, the album seems unfinished, even after taking 2 years to come out. A lot of the songs are a jumble of electric, techno, or chiptune beats with meaningless lyrics. Most of them have a loud, vibrating bass that becomes very tiring after a couple of songs. Many of them end up sounding the same, and none of them are all that memorable.
Whole Lotta Red could have been better if Carti focused on making a few good songs, rather than trying to bite more than he could chew. It may have disappointed fans to have a smaller album after the wait, but the higher quality music would have been worth it. Carti could have even released a side B if he finished more tracks later.
The album doesn’t do anything entirely wrong, but it doesn’t do anything great either; and it certainly doesn’t live up to expectations.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 4. The combined factors of average to below average tracks, failing to live up to expectations, and overall mediocre listening experience lead to the lower score. It’s certainly a shame, as everybody was rooting for a good album, especially after the wait.
If you need something to listen to you may as well give it a try, but if you want guaranteed quality there are several alternatives that may be more worth your time.
One album I would recommend instead is Eternal Atake, Lil Uzi’s sophomore album which also had fans waiting, but actually proved to be worth it. The album captured a similar style, but performed it much better, and in general, sounded much more complete.