23 December 2020
Whole Lotta Red is the sophomore studio album by the American rapper Playboi Carti, released on December 25th, 2020, through Interscope Records. The album title was discovered on August 18, 2018, when a recording of Carti surfaced, in which he was conversing about the project. The title refers to Carti’s affiliation with the Bloods, as well as his affinity for Wockhardt’s red codeine-promethazine syrup, commonly known as lean.
In a Spring 2019 GQ story published on March 4, Carti named fashion designer and art director Virgil Abloh as the creative director of the album.
In The FADER’s Summer 2019 cover story featuring Carti which was published on June 12, it was revealed that some tracks recorded during the production of the album had guest appearances from Trippie Redd and Gunna, with production from Pi'erre Bourne, Maaly Raw, Richie Souf, Roark Bailey, and Don Cannon.
During his performance at The Rave / Eagles Club on July 28, 2019, Carti announced that he was trying to release the album within the following sixty days with no guest appearances:
"I’m trying to drop that shit in the next 60 days. I ain’t gon' lie, it feel like we worked too hard for this moment so I'ma do this shit with no features." In which Carti did not follow through, since Whole Lotta Red has features with artists such as Kanye West, Future, and Kid Cudi.
In an interview with Culture Kings released on January 15, 2020, Carti updated the planned release date to 2020:
"I’m ready. I’m more ready than y'all. I’m trying to prove to these folks that I can’t rap. I got bars. That’s what Whole Lotta Red is about."
“@ MEH” was released as a single for the album on April 16, 2020. But the track was later scrapped due to bad reviews on the song from critics.
On November 23, 2020, Carti shared on Instagram that the album had been turned in to his label.
On December 11, 2020, DJ Akademiks said during a live stream that Kanye West and Matthew Williams were executive producers of the album. Moreover, he shared that the album would drop on Christmas Day, which was later confirmed by some of Carti’s associates on December 14, 2020. Red graffiti tags subsequently surfaced around the United States with the album's release date.
On December 21, 2020, Carti revealed the cover artwork and official Christmas Day release date through social media.
Whole Lotta Red, despite releasing with mostly negative opinions, debuted at no. 1 on the US Billboard 200 with over 100,000 units sold and received 160 million global streams within its first week. Soon enough, the album later started to gain appreciation from critics and now is considered a groundbreaking album of the aggressive, punk-inspired, hip-hop/rap genre.
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