Playboi Carti’s Die Lit is the perfect sequel to his spectacular 2017 debut, a mixtape that I ranked as the third best album of last year. To me, Carti’s sound was undeniable. It was enveloping trap music – layered, psychedelic, wild, repetitive, and hypnotic. The tape pulled me into a luring trance of drugs and flying colors for its entire duration.
Starting off with “Long Time” and “RIP” on this new record, Carti sounds more emotionally invested than ever before. He comes off as hungry and still fighting for the throne as the King of SoundCloud Rap, something I think he deserves after this remarkable album.
The songs here are often euphoric and heavenly, for example the Bryson Tiller feature on “Fell In Luv”, a major highlight for me. Synths swell up the track while Carti’s playful flow compliments Tiller’s belting vocals, making for a unique track that is still unmistakably Playboi Carti.
I can go on about the great stuff on this thing, like cold-hearted Skepta feature on “Lean 4 Real”, the slap of the year that’s “Choppa Don’t Miss” or even Carti’s infectious hook on “Foreign”. Hell, even deep cuts like “Home (KOD)” and “FlatBed Freestyle” are extremely fun and absolute bangers.
However, there are a few missteps on this album that keep it from being at the level Carti’s first tape was. For one thing, I would rather have mercury poured in my ears than hear Nicki Minaj’s verse on “Poke It Out” again. Great hook, great beat, and great flows, then Nicki comes in to ruin the energy of the track and keep it stale for more than a minute and a half. The album is also extremely long, and for me I don’t mind listening to Carti for almost an hour, but I can see how 19 tracks can give the average listener a headache.
Getting the flaws out of the way, I can’t end this review without talking about “Shoota”. Originally leaked as “Rocket” with Lil Uzi Vert, a frequent collaborator of Carti, I immediately knew the power this song would have. A hypnotic, fast paced beat that leaves the listener on the edge of their seat until Uzi passes it off to Carti for the beat drop, and it hits hard. An instant hit and another legendary single, up there with “Magnolia” and “wokeuplikethis*”, also with Uzi.
Ultimately, this album bangs. Not as great as his first tape, but damn close to it. If all we have to do is be patient for Carti to keep dropping amazing records like this, then I’ll wait another full year. Take your time Carti, you dropped a classic.