Playboi Carti Is Delivering His Most Exciting Evolution Yet With "I Am Music"

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Wireless Festival 2022: Crystal Palace Park
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Playboi Carti performs on day 2 of Wireless Festival 2022 at Crystal Palace Park on July 02, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)
Playboi Carti is gearing up for a new album, and it seems like he has drastically changed up his sound.

Playboi Carti is an artist who has evolved with every single one of his albums. Although some critics panned him early on for his lack of lyrical prowess, there is no doubt that his music aged well. In an era where many artists have been forgotten, Carti has managed to obtain a cultish fanbase that heralds all three of his albums as classics. Firstly, you have his self-titled project from 2017, which gave us classics like "wokeuplikethis*" and "Magnolia." Subsequently, "Die Lit" offered up some of Carti's most ethereal tracks yet. From the intro "Long Time" to the ravenous banger "RIP," Carti showed that he is not just a one-trick pony.

However, it was Whole Lotta Red that showcased just how willing Carti is to change. "Rockstar Made" kicks off the album with blazing synths and hard-hitting 808s that mimic thrash metal aesthetics. Songs like "Stop Breathing," "Jump Out The House," and "New Tank" furthered this sound and made WLR a standout in Carti's discography. In that same breath, it is also his most polarizing project. Why? Because it's different. Instead of giving fans Die Lit Pt. 2, he offered up something that was made with his own tastes in mind.

Playboi Carti Readies A New Project

It has been over three years since Whole Lotta Red and fans have been hungry for something new. Back in December of 2023, Carti revealed that his new album would be coming soon. The title: I Am Music. It is quite the declaration, although not a surprising one coming from the man who describes himself as a "narcissist." Following this announcement, we got a now-iconic DJ Swamp Izzo-infused snippet and a new track that was posted on his second Instagram account. The title of the track has been disputed, however, it is now called "Different Day" after originally being called "Ur The Moon."

Based on Carti's recent concerts, fans were expecting a continuation of his Whole Lotta Red era. Instead, they got something completely different. On "Different Day," Carti finds himself delivering some of the sharpest flows of his career. Moreover, he is now rapping over dark and brooding soundscapes that lean on being atmospheric. His voice is barely recognizable on the track, but it suits the production well. As one can imagine, this single confused fans, although his next track would act as an "aha" moment.

"2024"

With production from ojivolta, earlonthebeat, and Kanye West, "2024" is arguably the best of the five songs Carti has dropped over the past couple of months. While this song is much more uplifting thanks to the vocal sample and drum selections, Carti continues to experiment with his new register. His "put him on the news" refrain is catchy as hell, especially as it leads into his voice shift in the middle of the song. Here, he gives us the same voice he offered up on Travis Scott's "FE!N." It was a great choice as it almost feels like Carti is featuring his own alter ego on his song. Not to mention, it proved that "Different Day" was not a fluke. It was a declaration that this new era and new sound is what fans should expect from here on out.

Playboi Carti Drops "H00DBYAIR," & "BACKR00MS"

Following the hype of "2024," Playboi Carti returned with another brooding and sinister track called "H00DBYAIR." With some of Carti's best rapping of his career, it is clear that he was looking to make a statement here. "All my friends are dead, leave em in the cold, put em in the tundra" is an immediate rewind moment on the track. Carti's lyrics have never elicited these kinds of reactions, although it's clear he is looking to change that and it is certainly appreciated.

On New Year's Day, Playboi Carti teamed up with Travis Scott for "BACKR00MS." Much like the previous three tracks, the beat was lowkey and downright demonic. Carti delved deep into his lower register and even changed up his inflections to match the sinister energy of the beat. While Scott didn't have much to say on the song, his flow was good enough to complement Carti's vibe. What matters, however, is that it was yet another continuation of the new sound. While some of Carti's previous projects have been all over the place in terms of sound, I Am Music is proving to be nothing but a bundle of cohesion.

"EVILJ0RDAN"

Lastly, Carti blessed fans last night with his fifth and most recent single of the rollout, "EVILJ0RDAN." Upon listening to the track, you are met with production that will prove familiar if you've been staying up to date on the rollout. This is the track that went viral thanks to the DJ Swamp Izzo ad-lib snippet. Thankfully, the song lives up to the hype as Carti slides on the beat with menacing flows and the lyrics to match. It's a song that aims to make a statement, and it succeeds.

Out of all of his new tracks, "EVILJ0RDAN" may prove to be the most effective thesis statement for his new album. It contains his new flow, his new penchant for lyricism, devilish production, and a hunger that showcases just how eager Carti is to elevate his standing in hip-hop. While some may not like this new direction, it is refreshing to hear an artist of Carti's caliber change things up. With artists in every genre leaning on formulas that have stood the test of time, Carti is evolving...again.

What's Next For Playboi Carti?

Despite dropping these songs, there is still no release date in sight. Furthermore, he continues to delay his tour amid issues with his Opium signees, Homixide Gang. At this point, fans are in the dark, and they are hoping for the album sooner rather than later. After all, none of the singles are on streaming, and only two can be found on Carti's official YouTube channel. However, the music has been so good that fans have been willing to look past this.

If there is one thing for sure, it is that this is Carti's most exciting evolution yet. Sure, Whole Lotta Red was different, but it still made sense based on Carti's previous works. Now, he is shifting his sound entirely and it's paying dividends. Matched with unique visuals that boast a DIY aesthetic, it's obvious the artist has a clear vision that could very well culminate in the best album of the year. On the flipside, this rollout could come back to haunt him. He has dropped five singles, and if continues down this trajectory, the album may lose its luster. Or, he could drop the album tomorrow only for the five already-released singles to be the only standouts. It's a risk, albeit an exciting one. Only time will tell whether or not Carti sticks the landing.

About The Author
Alexander Cole is the current Managing Editor of HotNewHipHop. He started at HotNewHipHop back in 2018 where he began as a Sports and Sneakers writer. During this time, he has shown an expertise in Air Jordans, Yeezys, and all things that have to do with Nike. His favorite kicks are the Air Jordan 1 High OG, the Air Jordan 4, the Air Jordan 6, and the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 in the "Beluga 2.0" colorway. Although his collection might not be the biggest, he is always looking to add new styles to it. When it comes to sports, Alex has a particular interest in the NBA and the NFL. His favorite teams are anywhere LeBron goes, and the Kansas City Chiefs. As a Montrealer, the Montreal Canadiens hold a special place in his heart, even if they haven't won the Stanley Cup in his lifetime. Alex also works for the Concordia Stingers, where he provides play-by-play and color commentary for the football, hockey, and basketball teams His favorite hip-hop artists are Kendrick Lamar, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert.