March 18, 2019
Playboi Carti released the most interesting album of 2018. He made a unique album that offered a completely new idea of what new wave rap can be. Carti’s newest album, Die Lit (2018), has drawn in more listeners due to his ear-catching and experimental production.
Carti is not trying to achieve commercial success, instead he is striving to create a unique sound for himself. Take the song R.I.P;Carti creates an otherworldly sound by combining normal elements of hip hop/rap music, 808s, hi-hats, kicks and synth sounds, and organizes them all in a perfectly meticulous yet messy way. Carti chose his art over critic success and made an album that new wave fans would love.
The album is harshly criticized, Riley Wallace of HipHopdx went as far as to label it a “dumpster fire” of poorly thought-out songs. Yet each song is so intricately produced and assembled and there are undeniably millions of fans who love this album and believe it to be the epitome of the new wave sound.
Die Lit is representative of the next generation of music. Each generation wants to do things differently and Playboi Carti is taking it further than anyone has. Carti isn’t attempting to follow the musical conventions that critics base their judgements upon, such as song structure, clear choruses and time signatures. He’s experimental and messy and new which draws a crowd and people enjoy. While some may complain about the length of the album, each song is obviously well thought out and clearly had a lot of time spent on the production.
The reason the album is so controversial is that the elements that are criticized as bad are actually what make the album fantastic. The album is 56 minutes long –whereas other trap albums tend to hover around 45 minutes– and this length is thought of as a negative when in reality the length is there to prove a point. Carti is showing the world that he can fill an entire hour with new wave music that is both unique and substantive. Furthermore, Playboi Carti’s songs are often criticized for lacking clear hooks and varying instrumentals. What many critics fail to recognize is he’s using that lack of structure to let his vocals vary the song structure which helps create a unique experience with each song.
If the Grammy’s are supposedly rewarding new, unique sounds, then Die Lit should have been a top contender. The Grammy’s are supposed to award music for being great and original, not just how well it sells. This year, that was clearly not achieved with the award of Album of the Year going to Cardi B, who offered nothing new or interesting to the music scene. Playboi Carti’s Die Lit has contributed new flows, production style –thank god for Pierre Bourne who produced 15 out of 19 songs on this album– and sounds to the genre.