Playboi Carti has very little to say. That’s not a slight; Carti’s raison d’etre is making music that’s as dynamic as possible, which for him often means relying on lyrics as little as possible. Listening to a Carti song is to surrender oneself to an impenetrable world of loose enunciation, mesmerizing repetition, and freewheeling charisma. Carti is often more instrument — or bandleader — than rapper.
On “@ MEH,” the mercurial artist’s first official release of 2020 — he’s had many an unofficial song in his long period between albums — Carti stays in his pocket. Produced by Jetsonmade, Neeko Baby, and Deskhop, “@ MEH” sounds like a Fisher-Price Fruity Loops jamboree as performed by a PlayStation 4. For the entirety of the under three-minute song, Carti lists everything he hates about “Pussy ass niggas.” The list is long — they “just talk shit,” in addition are not “’bout that shit,” they don’t know the real Carti, and, in conclusion, don’t know who they’re testing. It’s not complicated, but Carti makes it sound alchemical; he refuses to rap in verses, his ad-libs squeak and squeal, while his voice bends into his characteristic higher register that fans describe, simply, as baby voice.
On “@ ME,” the listener doesn’t learn any new insight into the life of Carti. There’s no big reveal about who his adversaries are, or why he’s so peeved at them. But then sometimes it isn’t about what you say, just how you say it — a skill Carti’s been mastering for some time now. “Pussy niggas” really are not “’bout that shit;” what more do you need to know?