East Coast artist Pi’erre Bourne has only recently started making a name for himself as a rapper, but he’s been defining the sound of modern hip-hop music for years. He was an early collaborator with many of the generation’s defining musicians, such as Trippie Redd, 6ix9ine (unintentionally), and, most importantly, Playboi Carti. From 2017 on, Carti and Pi’erre would become an unofficial duo, with Bourne producing most of the beats on 2017’s Playboi Carti and arguably claiming the true leading role on Carti’s 2018 album Die Lit, an album which will almost certainly go down in history as trap music’s masterpiece.
Pi’erre Bourne’s debut studio album The Life of Pi’erre 4 was the compositional end of Die Lit isolated: druggy and hazy, yet brimming with unspecified emotion, reflecting a lifestyle with similar descriptors. It’s the closest trap music has come to being virtuosic. The follow-up album, The Life of Pi’erre 5, has been out for just over a month and has proven to be a standout release of 2021, a tone poem of trap that lives up to its title to great degree and wonderful effect. The bulk of the album is the Pi’erre Bourne specialty: stunning production and slick vocals, standardized yet effective, occasionally personal but always obscured. Bourne’s use of vocal snippets, however, truly define the album, creating space for the songs to make sense within a structure. The opening phone call between Pi’erre and his grandmother where she asks him to buy her a car, the crowd chants in the transition from “Couch” to the impeccable “42,” and the blissful serenades which pop up at the end of various songs throughout the album all build a perspective of pure bliss, a portrait of Pi’erre’s life which only includes the positives: the benefits fame and money bring in providing for your loved ones and achieving one’s goals. Pi’erre’s musical party is not egregious or indulgent, it ignores the negatives to become purely celebratory.
Pi’erre Bourne continually displays his ability to make artistically intriguing trap music, and The Life of Pi’erre 5 is a solid installment in a unique and continually improving body of work.