WLR Was One Hell Of A Christmas Gift
There are several ways to define sound. Happy upbeat songs have been tethered to the color yellow, highlighting bright production and light lyrics. Blue describes a sound that is considered easier on the ears, a lot more mellow, and a bit slower in pace. Then there’s the music that highlights the darkness, the violence, and rage that bleeds from the new school of artists in the mainstream, and on December 25th, 2020, Playboi Carti introduced this color in his album Whole Lotta Red.
Originally announced over 2 years ago, WLR is the third studio album from ATL native and A$AP affiliate Playboi Carti and his most anticipated release to date. In my previous article, I spoke on how this rollout was so sensationalized that other artists such as Mario Judah and Lil Uzi have piggybacked off it to promote their own work, stealing Carti’s signature ad-libs over Pierre Bourne-style production. This caused Carti to recruit Kanye West as an executive producer over the project with much of the beats coming from the exciting production camp WorkingOnDying.
Off first listen, you hear yet another evolution in Carti’s tone and beat selection, choosing to pursue the vampire image he’s been pushing recently on social media. Much more raspy in delivery, Carti screeches dark transparent lyrics in opening tracks like “RockstarMade” and “Stop Breathing” with Kanye himself delivering a stellar performance on the moody but groovy track “Go2DaMoon”. The following set of tracks sees Playboi raging over hyper-trap production with his signature repetitive style, being joined by the likes of Future on “Teen X” and an absolutely flaming verse from Kid Cudi on standout cut “M3tamorphasis”, fresh off his own album release. It’s fair to say that the horror film-themed trap beats and high-quality features outshined young Cartier in the first half of this album, but “New N3on” and “Control” is where those peak qualities that made Die Lit such a classic start to break back through and trail you back into a raspy high pitched trance all the way down to the closing moments of “F33l Lik3 Dyin”. Although I still wouldn’t rank it his best work, Sir Cartier delivered a gift worth unwrapping this Christmas.