I discovered Carti on Easter Sunday. Well actually, it was a bit deeper than that. The night before Easter Sunday, I got on Spotify and looked up “Playboi Carti” and a listened to a few of his songs then left the tape for later when I woke up the day after. It had only been two days since Kendrick Lamar had dropped DAMN. and it’s really hard for me to keep up with two projects at the same time, but I managed. I had never seen myself dedicated to one project and switch up to another one and worship it the way I did when I submerged myself in Carti’s self titled mixtape. Utter perfection is all I could say for the 20 year old star hailing from Atlanta.
I remember having heard about him back when the A$AP Mob dropped Telephone Calls, featuring Carti himself, Rocky, and Tyler the Creator. Having scored a verse at all on the track, I had thought, “Yo who the fuck is this?” Then I looked him up and he didn’t have much other than a few spots on other unknown artists. But little had I known he had a slew of tracks scattered across Soundcloud, but at the time I didn’t really believe in Soundcloud. Then I remember in around December having seen Carti in a Facebook video with Jaden Smith for I don’t even know what song, I think it was this one track that had really put him on titled What, produced by Chris Fresh of the 808 Mafia, a frequent collaborator. I added the song to this playlist I had on Soundcloud which was just tracks I had liked from artists that weren’t on Spotify. Then on April 15, I saw Carti updated his Spotify after only sporting Broke Boi and Lookin on his page.
This was it. The project that had been held back and due for for so long. And I hadn’t even waited for it. It was probably the most pleasant surprise I had ever received. I immediately bumped and the first thing I’ll obviously always note and pay attention to is production. The beat is truly what everybody looks for. Especially nowadays where the disrespectful term “mumble rap” has basically taken over and beats are truly in their prime. Producers are held high and respected, and for good reason of course. Everyone takes shots at this era’s artists who have been dubbed as “mumble rappers” and claim their the saviors of rap just because they can spit 16 bars with no actual depth but just clarity in their pronunciation. I’m not taking shots at Kendrick, who has been dubbed as the savior of rap, but anyone irrelevant thinks they’re better than mumble rappers just because they can hop on a beat and spit bars with clarity but no actual meaningful depth in their lyrics. “Mumble rappers” at times can spit some meaningful lyrics but it’ll still be the usual drugs, sex, and money trio everyone complains about. But, now, usually it’s seems as if not rapping about the trio of rap, the drugs, money, and sex is weird. It’s been the norm for the longest time ever. But people see it as a novelty when somebody raps about something “real,” like J. Cole, or Kendrick. But Kendrick raps about money at times, and Cole dedicates whole songs about sex. It’s normal. Migos dedicates full albums about drugs, sex, and money and they don’t mumble and their work is highly praised.
Pi’erre Bourne lands six tracks on the self-titled debut project. The second and highly acclaimed track, Magnolia, wokeuplikethis*, Let It Go, dothatsht!, Lame Niggaz, and Yah Mean. Both tracks wokeuplikethis* and Lookin tote notable features from Lil Uzi Vert. The third notable feature is from another one of Carti’s mentors and frequent collaborators, A$AP Rocky; on the track New Choppaz which distances itself from Carti’s usual upbeat production to a grittier, darker tune. Another track where the production distances itself from Carti’s usual is on the more melodic and blue tune Flex. Southside compliments the production on my favorable tracks such as Kelly K and Half & Half, with looped, sticky, in-your-face tunes casually accompanied and charmed by the classic 808 Mafia tag.
I remember I was on my way to a ranch to celebrate Easter with my family and strictly bumping a few select songs off DAMN. and two or three songs off the Carti tape. While on the road, I was playing FEAR., YAH., and XXX. on Kendrick’s part and Other Shit and Half & Half. Other Shit has an extremely catchy flute tune to it and hook, that was the first song that stuck to me. Half & Half’s beat is so catchy and easy to keep up with. It’s a loop, but it works so well. Southside’s production on the track truly did have an impact on me. The beat is so chill, dark, a dark purple vibe to it if I could describe it in color. It’s a song about selling crack rock and his Glock and it’s somehow, such a great track. Repetitive, but great. Pretty ridiculous though, I can’t exactly relate to slanging crack or pulling up on opps with a Glock but this song is truly about the beat, and the sticky hook is the cherry on top. A possible double entendre of the meaning behind the song could be about the song, or Carti’s genre in general being pop and not rock, unlike Lil Uzi who classifies himself as a rockstar, while Carti falls under a popstar.
Never have I loved and praised a project as much as I have for Carti’s tape. Everything about it is just perfect, and Carti’s production truly manages to score mainly everything that’s good with this project but other than that, he hits you with sticky and extremely catchy hooks you’re for sure to have stuck in your head for days on end. A common sound heard throughout the tape on a good portion of the tape is the flute. The usage of the flute among many producers across hip hop lately could probably be credited to Metro Boomin’s use of it on popular tracks he produced such as X by 21 Savage, Mask Off by Future, and Tunnel Vision by Kodak Black. Funnily enough though, it’s mainly all just samples, such as on Tunnel Vision and Mask Off, or almost any song ever, everything is built up on samples. I loved it so much I got so many of my friends to listen to him and the tape and so many loved his music. It’s truly great, I tell you.
Playboi Carti’s debut mixtape is available on every music streaming platform. I highly recommend it.
Playboi Carti and his music truly has made an impact on me.