Whole Lotta Red: Reconstructed
Whole Lotta Red has been out for a couple of weeks, and there’s been a whole lotta talk, to say the least (yeah, I know that was corny as hell). On Twitter, my rap timeline has been filled with “Whole Lotta Ass” or “Whole Lotta Trash.” As some of these comments have been warranted, I think there’s a good reason why it’s received so much hate—the length of the project was way too long. My fellow Burbsenter, Carter, said it best: “I don’t care if you're one of the world’s most beloved trap artists. I also don’t care if it’s been two years, four years or a decade since your last drop—24 songs is far, far too many.” Because of the expected duds that are expected in a project at this length, I feel as if many of the trap listeners out there wrote it off after a few bad tracks. But, when giving it a full listen, I really think this album is quite compelling and genuinely good. There are some of Carti’s best productions on here, and some songs that I simply can’t stop listening to.
In our Burbs Final Digest, for my tweet-length review, I said, “Carti had to do the impossible by recreating an album multiple times because of leaks. With that being said, WLR is being thrown into a futuristic hell portal that sends you into a place of constant chaos, eccentric sirens, filthy demons, and the epitome of the ‘Rockstar Lifestyle.’ The only problem is being stuck there too long.” I still stand by this quote and think that if this were a shorter album, it wouldn’t be getting the same amount of backlash. When reflecting on it, I really thought about if the album was cut in half. Which songs would make the cut? After listening to the project countless times, I reconstructed the WLR tracklist.
“No Sl33p,” “King Vamp,” “Punk Monk,” “F33l Lik3 Dyin”
Chronological Song Choice List:
My WLR If I Were to Choose the Placement of the Tracks:
Why Did I Choose This Order?
I started out my alternative version of WLR with "Stop Breathing" because I feel like it’s a great introduction to the theme of the album and ends the two-year absence of Carti with an absolute bang. I think it gives the audience something they would be expecting right off the bat, and it’s a way better opener than the forgettable “Rockstar Made.” As we go down this version of the album, I think “Meh” transitions flawlessly from “Stop Breathing.” The echoing at the end of “Stop Breathing” really fuses nicely with the opening of “Meh.” I then chose to put “N3w N3on” and “Beno!” next to each other in the middle of the album to provide a change of pace from Carti’s usually intense tracks. I want these two tracks in the middle to act almost as interludes, in a sense, to show the versatility of Carti. Lastly, I kept the same amazing four-track run at the end of the album: “Place,” “Sky,” “Over,” and “ILoveUIHateU” to close out the album with a grand finale. These tracks work perfectly with each other, and I think Carti listeners would be very pleased with an ending like this.
Tier List of Song Choices
Best Songs On The Album:
Vamp Anthem: This track seems to be a fan-favorite so far, and it fucking should be. The pure genius of sampling a vampire organ and somehow warping it into a trap beat is something to be praised. The idea fits the sinister aesthetic of the album perfectly and reflects the exact intention of what Carti envisioned this album to be like. If an outsider were to ask me to recommend a song that completely describes this album, I think “Vamp Anthem” would be a heavy favorite.
Sky: “I TOLD MY BOY GO ROLL UP TEN BLUNTS FOR ME, I COULD FALL OUT THE SKY AND I STILL WON’T FEEL NOTHING.” This chorus right here was blasting in my car nonstop when I first heard it. I don’t even need to write anything else.
ILoveUIHateU: Carti has always been a person who knows how to flow off a very good instrumental. That’s what makes him inherently great. Out of all the instrumentals on this album, I don’t think there’s one that Carti kills more than this. “ILoveUIHateU” isn’t one of the most flashy beats in the world, but man—there’s just something about those synths. Once they come into play, they elevate that song to a completely different level. Those synths mixed with Carti’s flow switches really show why he’s one of the most consistent trap artists in the game right now.
Place: As in many of Carti’s best songs, this spacy instrumental is simplistic but allows a lot of breathing room for Carti. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of his baby voice, I really do like the vocal experiments he uses in this song. He constantly uses different vocal inflections that I enjoy, and this is one of the experiments that I think was well-thought-out.
Not Playing: When I first listened to this song, each synth in this song shot into my eardrum like a laser gun on rapid fire. This type of explosion reminds me of something off Die Lit and adds an otherworldly feel to the song. This mixed with the bass boosts and the fast chorus really elevates this song to the best category.
Meh: The name of this song does not at all reflect the quality of this one. Although the verses can fall flat, the way Carti opens this song is something to be admired by trap rappers around the globe. Somehow, just constantly repeating “Fuck an opp” makes me want to punch someone directly in the face in a moshpit. This album is a concert album full of chaos, and this falls into that category impeccably.
Stop Breathing: Thematically, I think this song is exactly what Carti wants to tell you. He wants to flex about the various females he has, his copious amounts of weapons, his goons he is with, and his devilish mindset that drives his music. This is probably the most intense song on the album and is nothing short of a banger. I mean, he literally “Make[s] the hoes stop breathing” every time they see him… who else can do that?
Songs That Were Good, But Not Great:
M3tamorphosis: The fact that they decided to use Cudi’s humming as the backbone of the instrumental is simultaneously hilarious and exciting at the time. This song has some amazing lines and bars throughout, but the vocal inflections when he says “metamorphosis” are questionable, to say the least. I think there are is some greatness infused into this song, but the longest song on the album does drag on a little too long to be in the great category.
N3w N3on: The only thing that is really keeping me from having this song in the great category is the fact that an older version of this song has been leaked for literally months. I really enjoy this track and I don’t know if any other songs leaked, but this one was pretty much known consensually by Carti fans. Because it was leaked, I really had a grasp of the song and it became stale for me and many other listeners.
Songs That I’m Not the Biggest Fan Of, But Need To Be On Here:
Over: Initially, I really did enjoy this song. But as it progresses, the same synth pattern becomes mind-numbing. I think Carti really does have a decent flow in this song, but it is one that is a little bit more forgettable. The one thing that makes it a “must-have'' is the location of the track! This track is sandwiched in between three incredible tracks of “Place,” “Sky,” and “ILoveUIHateU.” “Over” bridges these tracks extremely well, so I feel like I need to put it on here.
Go2DaMoon: Even though Kanye is no doubt one of the best artists of all time, I think that the current-day Christian-Kanye doesn’t fit with the tone of the album. I mean, it’s kind of the complete opposite, actually. I feel like if we had Kanye in the Yeezus or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy era on this album, this song would be easily one of the best songs on the album. However, the frequent beat changes and Kanye’s lyrics were very enjoyable. I just think this song didn’t reach its full potential.
Beno!: “Beno!” is one of the more tame songs on the album, and I think it needs to be on here because this album cannot be sustainable with just chaos. You need a change of pace once in a while on an album, and I think this would be a perfect change of pace for an album filled with fierce headbangers.