by Emmanuel Louis-Charles
Just hear me out real quick…
Upon first glance at the title of this article you are most likely thinking “this kid is the ultimate hype beast and has no clue what he is talking about”. And I don’t blame you for that knee jerk reaction as it is warranted. It seems almost impossible to compare the lyrical and artistic titan that is Kendrick Lamar, to the simple swag raps of Playboi Carti. But before bowing mindlessly to King Kendrick I ask you to listen to both albums again and compare the feeling you get from each. This go around Kendrick was clearly trying to get his music back on to the radio and into the aux cords of the hood. Songs like “DNA”, “Love”, “Loyalty”, and “Humble” were all clearly created with accessibility and replay ability in mind as opposed to the boiled cabbage paired with few pieces of bacon that was the To Pimp A Butterfly. Now compare those tracks and all of the other tracks on that album to Carti’s debut. In my opinion no track on DAMN matches the infectious rhythm and energy of “Magnolia”. And beyond this standout Carti’s album is a stream of fun and infectious energy from “No.9” to “Other Shit”, to “New Choppa” to “wokeuplikethis*”. Carti comes with hit after hit.
I listened to both of these albums the same night starting with Kendrick and did not return to DAMN for the rest of the night as I could not tear myself away from Carti’s project. I still barely listen to it. Now I understand Kendrick and Carti are two completely different kinds of artists and comparing their music is kind of a troll in itself, but I noticed so much conversation around Kendrick and not enough about Carti since they dropped. After listening to Playboi Carti I thought his tape was going to send a larger shockwave through the net, but I guess everyone was so caught up with Kung Fu Kenny. Now is Kendrick a better raper than Carti? Of Course. A better artist, with a higher level understanding of song structure, flow, cadence, and bars? Obviously. And if judging by those terms DAMN is of course better than Carti’s tape. But, DAMN is like a burger, fries and milkshake, with a side of asparagus. A delicious meal with a side of nutrition. Does this compare to the bowl of endless Vlone ice cream that is Playboi Carti? I say no.
Carti’s music is just more fun. It has a spontaneous, almost kinetic energy about it that makes me get up and dance. And to you Phat Pharm wearing hip hop heads who dare say Carti’s music is not quality or less hip hop because it’s mindless and all about fun, I ask you which was more important to hip hop first? Who was flyest? Or who was nicest?”. Last I checked people cared about wearing fly Kangol suits, breakdancing, the DJ, and graffiti in hip hop, before Rakim and the lyrical miracle. Let Carti szn be long and fruitful.