Playboi Carti brings the energy on “Die Lit”
Ryan Israel | Wednesday, August 22, 2018
“Made a mil’ off that uh, off that mumblin’ sh– / Bought that crib for my mama off that mumblin’ sh–” exclaims Playboi Carti on “R.I.P.,” the second track from the Atlanta rapper’s debut studio album “Die Lit.” While some may discount Playboi Carti’s music as mumble rap, Carti, whose full name is Jordan Terrell Carter, focuses on the bottom line: His style of music, no matter how zany and eccentric it is, has made him a lot of money.
Playboi Carti is a member of the first generation of so-called “SoundCloud rappers.” Carti, alongside notable contemporaries Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty, began his rise to fame by posting his tracks on the music streaming service SoundCloud. A burgeoning community of trap rap listeners on SoundCloud — mostly comprised of teenagers — gravitated toward Carti’s carefree and entertaining music that drew inspiration from the likes of Young Thug and Chief Keef.
When Playboi Carti released his long awaited self-titled debut mixtape in 2017, it was met with praise. The mixtape was the culmination of a trap rap style that had been developing for years; it was 46 minutes of catchy hooks, outrageous ad-libs and banging beats, all of which were represented in the mixtape’s hit song “Magnolia.”
On “Die Lit,” which was released in early May, Carti comes in full force. His energy is unbridled, his verses, although lacking any substance whatsoever, are amusing and his spirit is captivating. “Die Lit” is not trying to convey any thought-provoking message or controversial stance; it’s quite simply fun and delirious music. The 57-minute-long record is not an album full of party jams like Rae Sremmurd’s “SremmLife 2” or Migos’ “Culture.” It’s an album to play at full blast in your car as you drive to the party.
Carti’s vibe would not be complete without the help of Pi’erre Bourne, the mastermind producer behind a majority of the attention-grabbing beats on “Die Lit.” If Carti is Batman, Bourne is Lucius Fox, the tech-savvy sidekick who works largely behind the scenes. Bourne’s productions are bouncy and exuberant, the perfect complement to Carti’s style. The hip-hop producer even contributes vocally to “Die Lit,” as he appropriately raps “Bags of the future / Did it all off computers” on the track “Right Now.”
The standout tracks from “Die Lit” are the simplest ones. “Shoota,” which features the aforementioned Lil Uzi Vert, is short and to the point as Carti and Uzi trade verses about their favorite subjects — Carti rapping about his “toolie” and his “troops” and Uzi rapping about his “iced-out watch” and expensive jewelry. Young Thug joins Carti on the ad-lib overloaded and incredibly entertaining “Choppa Won’t Miss” as the two make pretend gun noises that sound more like Star Wars blasters than heavy street weapons. “Fell In Luv” brings in a toned-down Bryson Tiller to create a simple yet surreal love song with glossy production.
The pitfalls of “Die Lit” come when Carti’s energy goes stale. On “Foreign” and “Middle of the Summer” the young rapper is unable to capture the loopy spirit of tracks earlier on the album. “Flatbed Freestyle” shows that when given an excess of three minutes on its own, Carti’s sound can become tired and dull.
Despite a few underwhelming tracks, “Die Lit” is still full of fervor. Playboi Carti’s debut album is the perfect archetype of a genre of rap that is undeniably popular. Hate it or love it, call it what you may, frenetic trap rap is in, and “Die Lit” is the sound at its purest.
Artist: Playboi Carti
Album: Die Lit
Label: AWGE/Interscope Records
Favorite Tracks: Shoota, Choppa Won’t Miss, Fell In Luv
If You Like: Lil Yachty, Young Thug, 21 Savage