Last year, the Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti released his self-titled debut album (or, depending on who you ask, mixtape). It was a stark, bare-bones affair — 45 minutes, very few guests — with Carti riding a rap style that was more based on ad-libs than traditional flows. The album, and especially the single “Magnolia,” turned Carti into a star — a giddy avatar of futuristic party-rap. Since then, he’s recorded with people like Lana Del Rey and A$AP Mob. And now he’s come out with a new guest-heavy album called Die Lit.
Carti released Die Lit with no advance notice, the album showing up on streaming services at midnight last night. And where the self-titled album was more of a core-audience affair, Die Lit clearly represents Carti’s attempt to reach out to a larger audience. It’s absolutely crammed with guest stars, including Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Skepta, Young Thug, Bryson Tiller, Chief Keef, and Carti’s regular collaborator Lil Uzi Vert. Uzi shows up on an extremely catchy track called “Shoota,” and if I had to guess which of these tracks is going to break out, it’d be that one.
But like the self-titled album, Die Lit still works as a piece of woozy, disorienting avant-trap. Producer Pi’erre Bourne handled the vast majority of the beats on both albums, and his style is a sort of prismatic refraction of current rap trends, turning those sounds into slurry and stunned chaos. As a result, Die Lit could turn out to be the same kind of grower as the self-titled album. You can use Spotify to stream the whole thing below.