Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Playboi Carti – Magnolia

We open Thursday with… lateness! I mean.. controversy!

Micha Cavaseno: Just endlessly plowing through words. The sound of some sort of psionic pneumatic drill just digging, burrowing its way through the earth’s crust down to the center with no purpose or reason and everything around it collapsing. At some point Jamie Foxx is involved. And Playboi Carti, a guy who started this year as a supposed also ran before emerging as a overnight sensation. Like Pi’erre Bourne’s beat and its ramshackle future shock, is just going on and on, rambling incoherently only to find himself returning again and again to his hook. Unlike the Earth’s core, there is no definitive end here, instead “Magnolia” is the sound of just an endless warping back upon itself, cresting and diving cyclically. In other words, it’s a really cool ass musical Merry Go Round.

Nortey Dowuona: Empty, bland and lazy.

Ryo Miyauchi: The voice that opens “Magnolia” is not actually part of the music but the tag of producer Pi’erre Bourne, though that quote — “yo, Pi’erre! You wanna come out here?” — seamlessly plays into the song. Like that anonymous friend who calls you into the middle of some commotion sans context, Carti’s music endlessly plays out this transition into the mid-point of a plot without any knowledge of how you got there or any clue where it will go next; the end result here is just a snapshot. And the assumption is that this never truly ends. Even if the reel exhausts its film, as long as the projector’s still on, he will keep going until the right word strikes him so he can start again. He might not land upon another golden bar like “in New York, I Milly Rock,” but as long as Pierre’s beat is rolling, from this specific frame of time, I’m certain he can captivate us forever.

Alfred Soto: Its lulling insistence coarsens into monotony after several plays, but when it’s on the wordplay for its own sake is a delight. Pi’erre Bourne’s arrangement stays put. Ideal for late summer radio.

Hannah Jocelyn: Get your flutes from any recent Metro Boomin project, get your dumb shoutalongs from any recent Future song, get your lines about 69ing from 2011-era Drake. And get your falling-upwards-despite-allegations-of-sexual-assault from Kodak Black, from XXXTentacion, from Chris Brown, from our current president. There is no reason for “Magnolia” to exist, other than as just one more symptom of the “insurmountably toxic” world Ashley John described in her blurb yesterday. John decided to forgo being objective for “Drowning,” and maybe I could have done the same. For “Magnolia,” though? No matter what prefix I place in front of “-jective”, this remains just another muddy, pointless listen by just another piece of shit.

Thomas Inskeep: Carti’s one of a new breed of rapper like Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty, the kids coming up via Soundcloud who don’t necessarily write out their rhymes — he’s no Jay-Z, he’s free-associating over a beat in FruityLoops or some other laptop beat-making program. So like his brethren, Carti’s an acquired taste. I’m more a hip-hop traditionalist, admittedly, but this has a killer fuzzed-out bass bottom, and Carti’s having so much fun it’s kind of infectious, so a thumbs-up on “Magnolia” from me.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Playboi Carti’s debut mixtape is a marvel. Going through its 15 tracks is like binge-watching non-narrative experimental short films. More specifically, the ones that employ rapid-fire cuts to craft a collage of images that wash over the viewer while simultaneously laying bare the very elements that allow such a thing to feel so affecting. There’s a definite immediacy to Carti’s music but the small dynamic range, ad-lib heavy rapping, and sheer repetitiveness grant it a trance-like quality. Which is to say, each Carti song is a world of its own and as listeners, we’re like the fixed camera in a James Benning film that’s left to observe everything simply exist. The more you patiently sit with a track like “Magnolia,” the more you appreciate what each individual component is doing, ostensibly simple as they may be. Or, you know, you could just blast it on your speakers and dance to its infectious beat.

Reader average: [7.66] (6 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

5 Responses to “Playboi Carti – Magnolia”

  1. I’m not opposed to a [0] if it’s based on awful stuff Playboi Carti did but I can’t say I’m not a little sad that this did worse than Mask Off.

  2. Then again, it looks like Copperman rated this a [0] despite that so I DON’T EVEN KNOW MAN

  3. The 0 rating is empty, bland and lazy.

  4. 3.02! Where does this stand in the controversy rankings for the year?

  5. I think it’s not unfair to say maybe if we’d touched this song say two weeks earlier the curve might’ve not been nearly as harsh; but Carti’s career will endure his behavior for better or worse I imagine and we (no offense to anyone else here) barely figure into the rap conversation so frankly it is what it is and I don’t mind the 0s.

    Frankly that’s what the ‘falling upward’ issue is that Joshua C points to as far as guys like Kodak, Carti, or Rich the Kid or people I don’t even know if we’ve covered are benefitting is that the areas media that really NEEDS to kind of have these conversations doesn’t. Its one thing for music writers and fans of music/music-related content to hear a backlash; Radio isn’t going to deny themselves a hit, Talkshows are going to milk the controversy or simply breeze past, streaming platforms obviously don’t want to deny money others can or suddenly have moral stands against artists. And the general listener (for lack of a better term) may only see these arguments in a media world that doesn’t court them.

    So nah, I don’t mind seeing the 0s but I wish it meant more in some ways.