Playboi Carti: The Rapper with Everything Waiting for Him

Photo by Gunner Stahl

In November of 2016, I attended an A$AP Ferg concert in Atlanta, but I did not come for Ferg, nor the shitty opening performance from San Diego-based rapper Rob Stone. I came for the enigma himself. The rapper that is known as Playboi Carti. The concert was at the Masquerade, an old, run-down concert venue with nothing to offer that night but a hot room and sound difficulties. Carti was the third opener that night and by far the most interesting, if not the most entertaining. The performance involved the 20 year old cursing the venue staff, hinting that his heavily anticipated debut doesn’t exist, and bringing out fellow Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty. What really caught my interest was how he was so nonchalant. These days, younger rappers pride themselves about how much they don’t give a fuck. No one is better at that than Playboi Carti. The headliner, A$AP Ferg, showed that he cared about the crowd by giving us short heart to heart statements about the political situation in the U.S. This was a couple weeks after the election of Donald Trump. Carti, on the other hand, made sure we knew that he had better things to do than perform that night. He acted like he was in school on a Monday. Even with all this said, there is one thing he has that few others have. An undeniable energy. The crowd was screaming every lyric; drinks were spilling everywhere, jumping recklessly not caring if they invading personal space. Of course, I was in full participation. I almost sprained my ankle losing my shit the emphatic “Broke Boi,” a song that ignited his career at the age of 18. High from weed I smoked with a random stranger, I went into a euphoria I have never experience before. Carti’s taunts and criticisms of the venue influenced me to be as ignorant as he was last night. Carti, along the weed, took me out of my right mind. His energy was braggadocious yet distant, and I loved every second of it.

I’ve been following Playboi Carti since late 2014 when he was the youngest member of Atlanta art rap collective, Awful Records. Father, the founder of Awful Records, was enjoying the runoff from his successful internet smash “Look At Wrist.” I researched the group to find artist all across the spectrum. Awful Records then is basically the same as it is now, a ragtag group of individuals making music as they please while not taking themselves too seriously. No artist in the collective really has anything in common sonically, but Carti stood out the most. His early work is with A.R.’s in-house producer and rapper Ethereal. Ethereal lent him other-worldly instrumentals for him to float over. And that is exactly what happened. Lyricism is becoming more and more unnecessary in rap music by the day. Carti flourishes on tracks by utilizes his contagious flare and personality. His original flow and charisma do the work for him.

After the release of “Broke Boi” in early 2015 Carti reached SoundCloud hall of fame status. Publications of all kinds announced their praise. “Who is Playboi Carti” is what everyone was saying. No one knew what to make of him of this teenager. Mind you, this a time when mainstream artist were very prevalent. J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive 2014, Drake’s If You’re Reading This, You’re Too Late and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly had hip-hop’s attention, but thanks to the internet, Carti was not ignored. Young adults amassed into Carti’s following. Later that summer Carti went on tour with Awful records which helped him make find his niche as a dynamic performer. In September 2015, he signed by A$AP Rocky and was introduced the newest member of A$AP Mob, giving a farewell to Awful Records in the process.

Playboi Carti (right) with Lil Uzi Vert (left)

The following year was also a big for Carti music wise. He went a a short tour with his friend Lil Uzi Vert which further increased his popularity and anticipation for a project. He made another smash hit titled “What”, a righteous song featuring associate Uno the Activist. In September of 2016, Carti surprisingly signed with Interscope Records. Carti was featured on a handful of songs on the latest A$AP Mob album, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. Earlier this year he released two collaborations with Lil Uzi Vert called “Woke Up Like This” and “Lookin.”

Now it is April 2017. Still no type of official music compilation of any kind has been released. The latest word we received from Interscope is that the debut is being delayed due to technical issues. Interscopes’s president Joie Manda tweeted that it was coming soon. Carti has claimed he has worked with Frank Ocean, Roy Woods, Big Sean, and other big names in the wait for his album. With no official tracklist, there is no telling whether the music will be released. All of the glory should’ve been Carti’s last year. His contemporaries, Lil Uzi Vert, Madeintyo, and Lil Yachtly, have breached into the mainstream. Carti garnered attention before all three of them, yet he is drastically behind now. Lil Uzi is making Billboard 100 hits, Madeintyo is a hitmaker and is currently on tour with Big Sean, and Lil Yachty is starring in Sprite and Target commercials and has been Grammy nominated. Who know what would happened in Carti released a project in 2015. Until lately, he hasn’t even released any singles. A lot of his songs aren’t even on his SoundCloud page. For the past couple of years, his songs have been appearing out of thin air. Normally, internet-born rappers would’ve been forgotten by now. Carti’s nonchalant attitude towards his musical career is not helping the cause either. People are anticipating an album that may not exist because he’s that damn good.

Playboi Carti being embraced by a sea of fans

Anticipation has been key for Carti. Having people wait has only expanded his career and given him the opportunities for other exploits such as fashion and being a rock star. There has been no public career complaints against his label or anything like that nature, so there is no clear indication whether he really cares about when his project will be authorized for release. With Carti, it is hard to determine whether he is a master of patience or just doesn’t care. His twitter account is deserted. It only contains retweets of praise for his talents and promotional tweets for his overdue music. His music gives an idea of what kind of person he is, but with the lack of self-consciousness in his lyrics, it’s difficult to determine what kind of deep mind state. For the lack of music, there has to be confident mentality towards the future. Only he and everyone who has heard the upcoming project know what with happen when he drops it. But with Kendrick Lamar potentially dropping April 7th, I doubt any new music from Carti will be released this month. We should pray for Joey Badass.

Let’s predict what will happen in Playboi Carti’s tape is the product it’s hyped up to be. At it’s highest potential, it could start a disruption for radio around the U.S. For those who don’t who Playboi Carti is, his association with A$AP Rocky will surprised some people. The casual hip hop listener does not know who Playboi Carti is. Unless you have the SoundCloud app or have friends who do, he is not going to be of familiarity. Carti has the potential to alter the current state of hip-hop in which fans have been relying on rappers like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and partially Drake to be their saviors. I believe if Carti makes a radio hit, it could lead to a domino effect. Nobody makes music like Playboi Carti. He took Chief Keef’s styles and made it into his own. We all witnessed what Chief Keef did for hip-hop. The rambunctiousness of the lyrics along with beats is a formula used by both of them. Compared to Keef, Carti uses an increased amount of sexual innuendos and more excitable ad-libs. With Keef, we got Carti. I believe Carti can produce a new generation of rappers if he doesn’t disappear from the mainstream like Keef did.

I love cause and effect situations, especially when it’s in the hip-hop genre. With an amazing debut Playboi Carti can determine what direction of hip-hop will go, a direction where lyrical rappers see non-lyrical rappers as valuable competition. Imagine if Lil Yachty dissed Kendrick Lamar on a song. How strange would it be in Kendrick responded with a diss track as well? The new wave of non-lyrical has just begun I don’t believe this bad for hip-hop. Seeing the genre transform is very exciting even if it breaks the heart of 90s lovers. Good lyrics don’t always result in good songs. Nowadays social commentary are the last thing you need to become a success.

Playboi Carti has been dealt time. I hope in this amount of time he has produced a genre-altering project. Hip-hop will benefit immensely from that.

Photo by Gunner Stahl
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