As the new wave of rap takes over, it seems to have caused a rift in the hip hop world. The difference between the conscious, lyrical rap and the melodic trap rap is so stark it’s easy to see why one would listen to one and not the other. Terms like ‘old head,’ ‘wack rapper,’ ‘dusty’ and ‘mumble rap’ flood conversations regarding disdain for the other side and while that part of hip hop culture will never change, detractors towards a certain subgenre should at least give seminal projects of the other side a listen. For the conscious listener, one of those projects to give a listen to is Playboi Carti’s self-titled debut project.
Another one of those trendy mixtapes-for-sale that Drake made popular with his 2015 project If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Carti, under the watchful eye of the A$AP Mob, has been waiting years for the right time to drop his debut. While some argue that it would’ve been better to release a project when his biggest hit thus far “Broke Boi” was popular, doing so probably would’ve deprived fans this magnificent collection of melodic trap. Carti isn’t the most lyrical rapper, but what he does do is fill the sometimes spacey, always lit production with ad-lib after ad-lib of random words and noises, which enhance the lyrics and keeps the listener moving. Tracks like “Lookin,” “Dothatshit!” and “Kelly K” are significantly better because of the ad-libs and showcase Carti’s ability to give the listener not only a solid trap song but one that’s undeniably his; ad-libs aren’t new, but the way he uses them is a style all his own.
The production is one of the best to come out of this era of SoundCloud rap. Filled with head-bopping, hi-hat-rattling beats backed up with atmospheric synths, it’s an impressive collection. Pierre Bourne in particular delivers a stellar performance, producing some of the best songs of the album, including the Lil Uzi Vert-featured single “Wokeuplikethis.” Carti and Bourne are effortlessly in sync, with the former riding the beat like only he can.
As ‘mumble rap’ is becoming more and more popular among hip hop fans and aspiring rappers alike, there comes a project that sets the bar – Playboi Carti is that project for this particular subgenre. In the same vein as his breakthrough hit “Broke Boi,” Carti has taken what people wanted from him and crafted 15 songs that will definitely appeal to his fanbase. The more lyrical rap fans may cringe, and if you didn’t like Carti already then you won’t now. However, if you do like Carti then you’ll be declaring this mixtape the crown jewel of SoundCloud rap in no time.
5 – 5
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