Playboi Carti Is Leading A New Generation Of Turn Up Rappers
Rapper Playboi Carti is an all round legendary dude who creates ultra-turnt music for the new generation of stylin' hip-hop heads. The Atlanta-native has already toured with Lil Uzi Vert, collab'd with Skepta and starred in a lookbook for Drake's OVO line, and he's only 20 years old. He also just dropped a video for 'What' that stars A$AP Rocky getting lit at a posh, highbrow dinner and giving very few phucks about high society's BS standards.
We hung out with the musician to talk cozy steez, effing shit up and the prospect of a Carti national holiday.
Ava Nirui: Were your parents supportive of your music growing up?
Playboi Carti: My parents were on some "What's gonna get you paid fast?" shit, but like any other parent, they always just support whatever I do.
Have they come to any of your shows?
They came to one show, the Uzi show from the first tour I had... a show in Atlanta. It sold out. That was a good day.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Everything from R Kelly to fuckin' Lil John to Gucci [Mane] to [Young] Jeezy to Prince to Michael [Jackson].
What do you listen to now?
Whatever feels good at the time. All Atlanta artists; I listen to a lot of house music, too. I listen to shit without lyrics a lot, you know?
Do you feel like your taste in music, like house, plays into your sound?
On some shit, I get high and listen to some shit. I get fly and listen to some shit and think of some shit. I'll be listening to something and feel like I need to switch it up. I like to influence myself and test myself out.
How would you describe your style?
I make music to "go get it"; grind music, turn up, flex music. Summertime flex music! When you hear CashCarti it's like, turn up, grab bands, party — you feel me?
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I want people to feel good and motivated listening to me. Listen to me and my music and be like, "Damn, I wanna do what Carti do". It's music for me and everyone else.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I think it was when I was a little kid, I was at my grandma's house and my auntie had me in the house and I was just sayin' whatever, and they were giving me dollars being like "keep going, keep going" and I was just rapping. That was the first time I was actually rapping. I always liked to make people laugh and shit.
Were you rapping much in high school?
In high school I took rapping serious. In my senior year I didn't know if I was going to graduate 'cause I was failing and skipping school and getting high, sipping lean and shit. It was to the point where I was skipping school every day to go to the studio, but that really made me. Luckily I did graduate high school though.
Were people in school fucking with your music?
They was fucking with me hard! It was more the females 'cause I was the new nigga at the school and they were like, "Damn! This nigga gettin fly, he rappin', he just came to the school and he's doing everything".
What's the scene like in Atlanta?
Theres a lot of new talent every single day in Atlanta. You either fuck with a nigga or you don't, you feel me? A lot of people who rap be popping and people would show them love. There are a lot of talented people in Atlanta. I used to be at Fat Man Key shows, another Atlanta artist, and they was going cray when I was coming up; so I was looking at people like him and A$AP Mob and they really influenced me. Seeing people in Atlanta fucking with me, it's like damn, we must have something going on that's attracting people. It's lit!
How do you think your dress sense ties into your personality?
When I dress myself, I put myself in the mindset of: "How am I feeling today — do I wanna show out or do I wanna be fly?" It's either those two, you're going to be fly regardless, but do you wanna show out? When I go to the studio I might wanna be on my cozy-boy shit, but if I go out I'll have some designer on even if it's low-key.
What brands do you like?
Maison Martin Margiela, I've been wearing so much Rick [Owens] lately, Bari and Rocky have taught me so much about it. I've been rocking Dries [Van Noten], J.W. Anderson, a lot of designer. If it's not streetwear like Supreme, it's probably designer.
I was just watching the video for 'What' this morning, what message did you want it to send?
I feel like the message was just: fuck it, turn up! The video rolled out [with] A$AP going to a meeting, us calling him and going to this party and turning up. Everyone was in suits and we wearing VLONE jackets and shit. People gonna hate but we gonna keeping doing what we doing. That was the best day of my life, that shoot. That was my first real video and I'm super proud of it.
Were the older people in the video vibing it?
Yeah, they were loving it. It was so cool and positive. Based on that video, that's how I'm rocking all my shit now. That's it right there.
How has A$AP Mob helped you to be where you are right now?
A$AP Mob is a big influence on me, 'cause I try to keep everything classic. Things that they once did I try to do now 'cause I can. At first I was just a nigga watching them hoping I could get around people like this, and God blessed me and I'm like damn, I'm really with the creators of this whole shit. I try to learn from them, learning from my big bros, and pass that down to people that I fuck with.
Who are some people you look up to?
My mom. I look up all my brothers in A$AP Mob — Rocky, Bari, Nast — every single one of them. I look up to a lot of OG singers like Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain, not just for their music but [for their] style and how they move. I look up to people who do big things.
Why do you think it's important for creative people to put on other creative people?
'Cause it shows where your mind is at all times. You have the power to make someone else's dream and that will make you feel crazy and good. You can watch one kid change another's life just off a couple of Tweets or from putting on some songs.
Do you have one final goal?
I want my own day in Atlanta... I want the key to my city.
A federal holiday?!
Yeah! I just wanna be successful and get my mom whatever she wants and get whatever I want.
Photos and Text: Ava Nirui