“Whole Lotta Red” demonstrates Carti’s artistic evolution despite poor public perception


Interscope Records [Fair Use]

After two years of anticipation, Playboi Carti released “Whole Lotta Red” in Dec. 2020.

Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red,” his sixth album and arguably his most hyped one, has been one of the big talking points in the hip hop community for the past few years. When he first announced the release of the album back in Aug. of 2018, his fans and many others were excited based on the quality of his previous album along with the leaks that had been going around. As time progressed, people began to wonder if the album was going to ever come. Carti would tweet out cryptic messages alluding to the release of the album, or someone with connection to him would tell the public that the album was dropping during the long wait before we received the album. His fans began to grow restless and bash Carti directly because they felt deceived based on the fact that they have waited years for an album that was announced to come out multiple times. 

Over the long wait, Carti did make an effort to get the album out to his fans, but several problems arose along the way. At one point, he finished recording the entire album, but sadly, all of the songs were leaked which diminished the point of releasing it in the first place. After several months of silence, Carti finally released the album on Dec. 25 of 2020 which many speculate was due to a smaller artist named Mario Judah. Shortly before the release of the album, Carti began to go silent again, and out of desperation and anger, Mario Judah recorded and released his own version of “Whole Lotta Red” which gained a significant amount of traction. Finally, after 2 years of waiting, Playboi Carti released the album on Christmas Day and everyone was happy until about 10 minutes after release.

It didn’t take long for the hate to flood in. Within minutes, there were thousands of tweets across twitter bashing Carti. Fans did not feel like the album was worth the wait and did not like the style used in the album. In the past, Carti was known for his trap beats and style which created his overall aesthetic. In “Whole Lotta Red,” he adopted a more punk/gothic style as well as a different style of rap similar to something you would find in a rock song. This was not the Carti the people knew, and not many were very welcoming to this change. When he went on a livestream a few minutes after the release, he had to end it after noticing the overwhelming amount of hate comments piling up.

Personally, I did not expect this at all and felt disappointed at first. I was expecting him to use the same style he had in the past that first got me hooked onto his music. I enjoyed many of the songs such as ”Beno!” “Vamp Anthem” and “New N3on” upon hearing them, but several of the songs that he used his new punk style in were not my taste at first. I felt disappointed because I had grown accustomed to what the leaks of the old album sounded like and made an expectation based entirely on that, not taking into account the possibility for change. 

Later on after a few more listens, the album really started to grow on me. Songs like ”IloveUIhateU,” “Die4Guy,” “StopBreathing” and “Control” began to hit harder than they did before. Many took one listen and put the album away as subpar which affected its overall performance on the charts and public perception. Maybe like his former album “Die Lit”, people will let the album marinate after the initial release and not discard because it wasn’t able to meet the astronomical expectations they had.

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