Sounds Like: The soundtrack to a rowdy car ride to a random house party
For Fans of: Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Young Thug
Why You Should Pay Attention: Since releasing his breakout hit "Broke Boi" on SoundCloud in 2015, the now-20-year-old has been one of the Internet's most buzzed-about new hip-hop artists. This dreadlocked, self-described "motivational" South Atlanta-raised rapper, dropped out of high school, moved to the Bronx and quickly fell in with the A$AP Mob. This May, after several delays, notable features ("Telephone Calls," off A$AP Mob's Cozy Tapes Vol. 1) and high-profile collaborations with the likes of Frank Ocean and Skepta, Carti, now signed to A$AP's AWGE imprint, released his self-titled debut mixtape. (It landed at Number 12 on the Billboard 200). Turn-up party anthems "Magnolia and the Lil Uzi Vert-featuring "Wokeuplikethis*" have notched a combined 32.7 million and 44.8 million plays on Spotify and SoundCloud respectively.
Like his onetime idol and now-mentor A$AP Rocky, Carti sees rapping as a vehicle for cross-cultural infiltration. "It's more than just the music," says Carti, who starred as the lead model of OVO's 2016 summer lookbook and performed at Yeezy Season 5, of his creative motivation. "I want to have my foot in every lane. I practice doing other shit like modeling and other things besides music just so I can be active."
He Says: "I make music to make people happy. It's just fun. All this shit is just fun. When I go in the studio everything I'm saying is a reflection me. I'm one of the most relatable artists out here. I'm a tall black skinny nigga from Atlanta. I'm just showing the way. And that's why niggas love me. I just gotta stay true. We just on our rock star shit. Everybody gets inspired by everybody."
Hear for Yourself: "Woke up to niggas talking like me," Carti ruminates on "Wokeuplikethis*," a rejoinder on artists biting his style and being called "mumble rap." "I feel like I really be saying shit, so for somebody to come at me like 'Oh he's mumbling' or whatnot," Carti says, "it's like, 'Well, bro, this is the same mumble that everybody wanna sound like!'" Dan Hyman