What do we know about Playboi Carti, really?
The 21-year old Atlanta native has a relatively modest 290k twitter followers, released his second ever complete project in an eponymous debut commercial mixtape on April 14, 2017, and has the clubs, festivals and any venue that dare play his songs, on SMASH.
Whether it’s DJ’s at Coachella, on stage with ASAP Rocky at Rolling Loud or even the Cavs during a routine lifting session, he has this infectious sound that makes you, no matter how hard you try, lose your fucking mind.
And the numbers reflect that, too. Playboi Carti debuted at number twelve on the US Billboard 200, with 28,000 album-equivalent units, of which 21,000 were streaming units and 7,000 were pure album sales. And two of the biggest songs from the project have debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—”Magnolia” (obviously) at No. 91 and “wokeuplikethis*” featuring Lil Uzi Vert at 100.
That’s more than what the far more established Wale did with his recent release Shine, despite the fact Wale has the backing of MMG and 5.3 million twitter followers.
So, again, I think it’s fair to ask. Who is this Playboi Carti and where did he come from?
Well, I guess you can start with his first viral success, “Broke Boi” in 2014, which gained a fair amount of internet hype. The melodic tune made it way around house parties and social media, but I, like the rest of us, didn’t know we were dealing with a phenomenon.
The beauty of making good and authentic music is that you never know who may latch onto it and share it with others. In Carti’s case, his buzz in Atlanta caught the attention of fellow Atlanta native, promising fashion designer embattled ex-A$AP affiliate, and promising fashion designer Ian Conner. At SXSW in 2014, Ian introduced Carti to A$AP Rocky where he saw him perform, and a relationship grew from there.
Two years after “Boke Boi”, Carti signs a deal with Interscope and became the newest member of A$AP Mob. From there Rocky and Carti their synergy further, connecting on A$AP Mob’s debut studio album, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends, on the tracks “London Town” and “Telephone Calls”, the latter being released as the second single from the album.
Now here we are in mid-2017 and we can’t get enough of the kid.
Beyond his very small catalog and famous ass friends, Carti’s lack of public appearances and interviews also adds to his mystery.
As opposed to his “mumble rap” compatriots like Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, and Rich The Kid, Carti stays away from the limelight, only releasing music and performing shows. Carti doesn’t really have any social media presence, beyond vague and mysterious instagram posts, which only added to the hype gaining steam around him.
His recent sit-down with Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning was his first interview in a couple of years.
In the interview, Carti speaks on his influences, which surprisingly included the likes of Curren$y, one of the most lyrically respected MC’s in the game. Real recognize real.
The crazy thing about Playboi Carti is that it’s hard to imagine what he’ll do next. He’s shown strong interest in fashion, even landing a spread in GQ, and has even spoken of interest in entering the film world. And judging off his movements thus far — both unpredictable and sporadic — who’s to say that he can’t make that happen?
What we can do for now is enjoy this gift Carti has given us. Even though it’s right up the alley of every other turn-up song that is the craze right now, it still somehow stands out. The way it captures crowds, when his producer Pierre Bourne’s drop first comes in, people can’t contain themselves and that’s something special.
What I learned from unicorns such as Playboi Carti is to not put too much pressure on what you want them to do. Just let them cook.
In the meanwhile, I’ll be riding the wave. Wherever it takes me.