Editors’ Notes In the two years following the August 2018 announcement of Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red, you could have gauged any given Carti fan’s investment in the project by which song leak they claimed to have liked the most. One the internet took to calling “Kid Cudi” had a unique sort of staying power. That song does not appear on Whole Lotta Red, but Kid Cudi himself does, on “M3tamorphosis.” Of the project’s 24 songs, Cudi is one of three featured guests, appearing alongside likewise stylistic innovators Kanye West and Future. And so goes the story of the project: Whole Lotta Red is likely pretty close to what fans were expecting, but better. The production—provided by names like Pi’erre Bourne, Art Dealer, F1lthy, Juberlee, Richie Souf, Maaly Raw, and Wheezy—is consistently forward-thinking, toeing the line between 808-heavy post-trap rumble and the perpetually weird and increasingly popular avant-pop sound known as PC Music. There is less “baby voice” here than fans of Die Lit may have wanted, but the rapping (and singing) is some of Carti’s most impassioned and sharpest. Fans hung up on those early leaks might do well to consider them accidental gifts, because when it was time to deliver the album, Carti made sure we got the best of him. He just needed us to be patient.

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