Revisiting the energetic experience of Playboi Carti’s “Die Lit”


Courtesy of Nick Walker; edited by Ivan Mendoza

Five years have passed since the initial release of “Die Lit”, and Playboi Carti has continued to evolve as an artist and his music impacts a plethora of artists such as Yeat and Ken Carson. However, “Die Lit” contains numerous infectious melodies and earworms within its runtime, and the songs can range from mellow performances to punk-inspired anthems. The album also features prominent artists such as Lil Uzi Vert and Young Nudy which helped elevate the listener’s overall experience.

Ivan Mendoza, Entertainment Editor

Over the course of a few years, Playboi Carti took hold of the music industry with his infectious ad-libs and energetic performances. When his self-titled debut album was released in 2017, trap listeners fell in love with his influential and simplistic style of rapping. Even in NC’s current roster of students, people will commonly wander the hallways with Carti’s mind-numbing music in their headphones. For example, songs such as “Magnolia” and “Yah Mean” stand as examples of Jordan Carter’s talents at balancing vibrant instrumentals with meaningless lyrics and entertaining ad-libs. At a time when the term mumble rap became popularized, Carti pioneered a unique sound for future artists, and his eccentric music continues to influence a plethora of music genres. Despite what old hip-hop fans might have said during this iconic shift in the genre, Carti did not ruin hip-hop; he helped curate and expand the possibilities of how hip-hop can sound. 

“In a time where hip-hop was oversaturated with ‘lyrical spiritual individuals’ and pop artists, there was Jordan Carter to change everything. Carti understood that you don’t need deep complex bars to convey emotion. To set him apart from the rap industry, he used his iconic baby voice, which is exactly what it sounds like. Thanks to him fusing a baby voice with chill yet exhilarating trap beats and simple digestible lyrics, Carti would change music forever,” North Paulding High School sophomore Jordan McFadden said.

May 11, 2018, Carti released his critically-acclaimed sophomore album “Die Lit”, a 19-track project full of cult classics and memorable tracks. “Long Time – Intro” sets the tone for the album perfectly, as it contains gloomy production mixed with him lamenting about his humble beginnings with the repetitive chorus of “I ain’t feel like this in a long time.” The mellow and lush song contrasts the following song “R.I.P”, a song produced by Pi’erre Bourne with an instrumental that remains brash and upbeat. Bourne commonly produces and raps alongside Carti, and whenever they work together to curate potent songs it results in catchy moshpit anthems such as “R.I.P”. Also, Carti provides unmatched energy in this song as he brings aggressive bravado and violent lyrics to the flawless instrumental.

Throughout the album, Carter showcased his talents in writing unforgettable melodies and providing unforgettable music for his fans. The third track “Lean 4 Real” contains an infectious chorus combined with a surreal instrumental, and Carti utilizes his iconic baby voice seamlessly on this track. Also, Skepta features on this earworm song and pairs perfectly with Carti’s adlibs and IndigoChildRick’s psychedelic production. Other songs such as “Love Hurts” and “Foreign” portray the artist’s capabilities with curating earworms. As a result, the entire album remains iconic to fans for its memorability and longevity. 

As seen on the tracklist, “Die Lit” features a range of artists, and Carti selected each artist carefully as every rapper and singer delivered amazing performances. For example, “Shoota” acts as a testament to Carti’s prolific career. In the track, Lil Uzi Vert provides an amazing verse with different cadences and a consistent flow, and both artists blend their talents together and maintain exceptional chemistry. For trap fans around the world, this song represented the best of Carti and Lil Uzi Vert respectively. Songs such as “Poke It Out (with Nicki Minaj)” and “Fell In Luv (feat. Bryson Tiller)” also contain remarkable moments where the features outshine Carti, and “Die Lit” resonates as a project where all the artists featured contribute to the album’s impact.

“This album shows how far Playboi Carti has come in his career, and only for his second album. His growth is evident in the features he was able to procure for the album such as Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Chief Keef, and Pi’erre Bourne as a producer for a few songs. It makes me, as a listener, feel his progress as an artist only by hearing the songs on the album,” McEachern High School junior Braedon Belfast said.

After five years have passed since its initial release, numerous tracks from “Die Lit” continue to reach playlists and the album as a whole remains consistent in its replay value. From the mellow vocal performances of “Flatbed Freestyle” and “No Time” to the vigorous delivery of “R.I.P. Fredo”, this project contains a plethora of iconic songs hidden within its tracklist. The fantastic album closed with the repetitive and lowkey track titled “Top”, as Carti reflects on his career and compares his success as an artist to the act of standing on top of a building. In a sense, “Die Lit” began with him lamenting over his transgressions but ended with him finding joy over trivial material within his journey as a rapper. 

For years, people complained about artists such as Carti and other rappers emerging from SoundCloud; several old hip-hop fans felt that he tainted the face of hip-hop. However, as a genre that constantly shifts with new sounds, and as Carti signed rappers like Destroy Lonely and Ken Carson under his label, Carti only expanded the reach of new fans and helped make the genre accessible to everyone. While Carti has evolved as an artist, with his latest release “Whole Lotta Red” showcasing his experimentation with his production and vocal deliveries, Carti consistently prioritized feelings and energy over lyrical messaging. “Die Lit” represents fun in the midst of criticism and a genre-shifting in its sound, and for this reason alone remains a classic.