Playboi Carti fans awaiting the rapper’s long-anticipated second studio album, Whole Lotta Red, were treated to a surprise drop on Thursday afternoon. Carti released a new single “@ MEH” with an accompanying music video.

The single shares the same cover art that the Atlanta rapper had posted on his social media accounts two days earlier. That tweet, Carti’s first since June 24, 2019, ignited hype for new music from the artist. While many hoped it could be the album’s cover art, it sure didn’t feature.. “a whole lotta red.”

The cover art makes much more sense for a single, though the album’s release could still be imminent. Whether that means this week, this month, or next month, Playboi Carti has officially begun the rollout of his second studio album.

Is “@ MEH” a worthy lead single, or an indication of the album’s direction? Does it do enough to build hype for “Whole Lotta Red?”

Track Review

“@ MEH” plays through like a typical Playboi Carti song: for better or for worse.

The instrumental features a bubbly, electronic beat, very reminiscent of something that might have been on Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake. The production is colorful and dynamic, and soothing to listen to and get lost in. As always, Carti chooses great producers and beats to complement his music.

Carti spends the entire song rapping in his higher, “baby” voice. He’s soft and non-abrasive throughout the song’s two minute and 46 seconds run-time. Compared to some of Carti’s “heavier” work, this is less of a song to play at rager, and more a song to relax to and get lost in.

Carti’s soft tone is in direct contrast to his lyrical content: rapping about shooting guns and “eating at the police.” Assuming the song was recorded recently, this may be a direct reference to his April 2 arrest where he used vulgarities and told an officer he would sleep with the officer’s daughter.

There’s no real highlight moments, as Carti uses familiar flows and cadences over the verses and so-so chorus. Of course, Playboi Carti’s music tends to age very well. It might not be the first listen that’s get you, but once you’re familiar with all the fun flows and ad-libs, you can’t help but sing along.

Indeed, “@ MEH” felt a little a better as I listened more, and only time can tell if it could age to be even better. But as it stands, I wasn’t overly impressed the single. If the track had to be compared to Die Lit, Playboi Carti’s album, it would probably fall on the weaker end of tracks.

Hopefully, there are a variety of sounds on Whole Lotta Red, and this is just one that we’re getting first. If the entire album followed this style, I’m not sure it would live up to the hype.

Don’t get me wrong, “@ MEH” isn’t a bad track. When I’m scoring music, even a five out of ten isn’t bad: it’s right in the middle of good and bad. So as you’ll see with the track’s score, it’s at least slightly above average.

Carti flows effortlessly with “familiar” flows, but they’re still fun to listen to. As someone who enjoys Playboi Carti’s music, the song is still nice to listen to even if it’s not ground-breaking or among his best work.

If you’re not a fan of Carti’s music, I’m afraid “@ MEH” may not be enough to convert you. You may enjoy the dream-like, cheery instrumental.

As a lead single, I think “@ MEH” does just enough to keep the hype building for Whole Lotta Red. There’s still some lost potential though, as a better song would’ve gone farther to create anticipation.

Score: 6 out of 10

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Header Photo: Playboi Carti/Interscope Records & AWGE

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