When reviewing a rap album in 2018 it is very rare that you will find yourself going through the lyrics with a fine-toothed comb to analyze the metaphors or a multifaceted double entendre. As the inner corners of SoundCloud continue to seep into reality and onto the charts, it has become a part of the norm to hear repetitive lyrics on top of hyperactive beats. This is the case with Atlanta rapper and 2017 XXL Freshman, Playboi Carti who first made waves in 2017 with “Magnolia”, which went two times platinum due to the viral nature of the hit. His first project, Playboi Carti, featured mostly production from Pi’erre Bourne, who has become the Noah ‘40’ Shebib to his Drake when it comes to winning song formulas.
Carti’s first full-length album Die Lit follows this winning formula with most of the production starting off with the signature calling of “Yo P’ierre”, while still showcasing a few other producers, such as Indigo Child, Maaly Raw, and Don Cannon. At a cool 57 minutes Die Lit shows that Carti is going to stick with what he knows best. Infectious hooks, plenty of ad-libs, and pulsating synths topped with plenty of 808s and hi-hats make for a hypnotic album that stays true to the title—it’s lit.
The gems on Die Lit come in forms of the jam-packed features that Carti has on the album. One of my favorite tracks “Lean 4 Real” has a fun feature that from UK MC Skepta who rides the fluctuating synths with ease with some lyrics that reveal the nerdy side of Skepta. “Better get used to us/ Had to go Super Saiyan/ Had to go bird’s eye view/ This is a computer game (Yeah)/GTA, look at us run the streets”, Skepta barks on the track.
The features on Die Lit continue to outshine Carti throughout with Lil Uzi Vert taking over “Shoota” with his notable singsong delivery. On “Poke It Out” Nicki Minaj mimics Carti’s stabbing flow pattern before transitioning into the flows we are used to from her. “Fell in Luv” sounds like what R&B might sound like on a spaceship and features Bryson Tiller sailing through the track with his half rap/half singing verses. Drill music meets Xanax rap with “Mileage”, a song featuring infamous Chicagoan, Chief Keef who raps about how a girl’s sexual conquests won’t stop him from engaging in a relationship with her.
Die Lit is exactly what you would expect from Playboi Carti. A good time polished with solid production and enjoyable features packaged as an album and served up to the masses. Can Carti produce something better than Die Lit? Probably not. This is as good as it is going to get and I’m okay with that.