One of Playboi Carti’s most hotly debated albums, "Whole Lotta Red," was released on Christmas Day of 2020 following two years of hiatus after his second project, “Die Lit.”

After constant leaks, teases, two scrapped iterations and multiple aesthetic changes, “Whole Lotta Red” was released to mixed reviews.

Carti deviated from his normal, mildly melodic rapping, to a more rage heavy album, utilizing new beats from F1lthy and other up and coming producers.

Despite mixed reviews, some people I know of claim that the album has grown on them within the last year.

While I originally enjoyed the album, I have ceased listening to it.

When given the option to review albums for the newspaper, “Whole Lotta Red” jumped into my mind.

The following takes and comments are all my opinion and I welcome anyone else’s opinion.

Beginning with the cover, the art and aesthetic of “Whole Lotta Red” appears to pay homage to a 70s punk publication called Slash magazine. The publication was focused on giving more fame to underground rappers, which Carti talks about extensively on the album.

The album, produced by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, seems to take inspiration from a couple of his albums, such as “The Life of Pablo” with its sampling.

“F33l Lik3 Dyin” has a Bon Iver sample, adding to the relaxed and reflective nature of the album’s final song. And while I wouldn’t say Carti’s strong suit is storytelling, he takes a page out of West’s book and shows his lyrical ability while discussing his gang affiliation.

Before his come-up, Playboi Carti was affiliated with Atlanta-based gang, Duct Tape.

He mentions his affiliation in “Stop Breathing,” one of my personal favorites on the album because of how it encompasses the vibe of the album. Carti raps on the rage heavy F1lthy beat about carrying out hits on members of the Henchmen, a rival gang of Duct Tape.

Along with violence and gang affiliation, Carti touches heavily on his love and drug issues.

Before this album, Carti had been in a relationship with Iggy Azalea.

They even had a son, named Onyx, although lovingly dubbed Gilbert by some of Carti’s fans.

However, it turns out that Carti isn’t the best father.

He missed the birth of his own son to play the PlayStation with Lil Uzi Vert, has let his son eat dirt, and missed several key moments of Onyx’s childhood. He also refused to go to an art museum with Iggy and even cheated on her.

Basically, he’s a horrible father and partner.

However, his own flaws don’t stop him from complaining about his love life, on songs such as “ILoveUIHateU.”

With the lyric, “Don't get close, uh, baby, don't get too close. Don't get close, yeah, baby, don't get too close. What you don't know, it won't hurt 'cause you don't know (What?). What you don't know (Yeah), it won't hurt 'cause you don't know,” Carti warns a possible partner about how he has hidden secrets that could be detrimental to their relationship.

And in usual Carti fashion, he spends a large majority of the album discussing his connection with drugs.

On songs like “Teen X,” Future and Carti focus on their love for MDMA and lean, both of which Carti reportedly indulges in heavily.

As for my personal thoughts about the music of the album, I absolutely love it.

As a long time Carti fan, the transition from more melodic and slow rapping to heavy rage beats shows his rapping and lyrical prowess.

He talks about a variety of topics, from gang affiliation, to his relationship with his son, and even his sexuality.

This, Ye’s influence, and beats from producers such as Pi'erre Bourne, Maaly Raw, and F1lthy combine to make one of the only albums worth its long run time.

Each track generally feels fresh but somehow part of the overall theme and sound.

However, there are some tracks that don’t seem to fit within the track list. It’s well known that “Whole Lotta Red” went through several iterations before being produced in Oct. and Nov. of 2020.

Most of the music from these iterations has leaked, and the differences between each of the track lists is quite different.

The final release of “Whole Lotta Red” is version 3 preceded by version 1 and version 2.

Version 1 is likely the most popular of the album’s iterations, with songs such as “Molly” and “Skeletons” being included, while version 2 shows the midway point from “Die Lit” and “Self Titled” to “Whole Lotta Red.”

Two of the songs included within the version 3 tracklist, “New N3on” and “Place,” were supposed to be on earlier versions of the album, and therefore don’t fit the overall vibe and theme.

In conclusion, I think that this is Playboi Carti’s best released album.

The production and lyrics of the album culminate in a completely new style that has led the genre of rap in a new direction.

Despite being a little rough around the edges, “Whole Lotta Red” is an amazing project that has cemented Carti as a rockstar.

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