Playboi Carti: In Person
He followed the foray into the frontlines of the music industry with a surprise appearance on SNL, alongside the show's headliner Nicki Minaj— performing a track from his own album which Minaj had been featured on, along with stars suh as Travis Scott and Lil Uzi Vert.
But between tall artist’s undeniably major moments, he graciously made time to drop by our office office, and offer us insight on girls, his musical influences, how Mickey Mouse has been a major inspiration, and what he did for Mothers Day. Oh, and he helped furnish our office space with its first eviction notice— which, naturally, we framed.
Despite the fact that our landlord was neither satisfied with the smell of weed spilling into the building’s hall, nor that our third floor neighbors’ walls were shaking with the sound of Carti’s call-to-action, “Bad bitch, poke it out, poke it out, poke it out (bitch)”— we wouldn’t take back the few hours we spent, sitting with Playboi Carti in cheap rolling chairs, peering out the window at Canal Street traffic.
Carti is clearly a current icon in the industry, and I can't deny I listen to his latest album on repeat— but given the fact that I have only recently become well-acquited with popular music, and his prominent role in the arena, I felt obligated to take one of my colleagues along with me to meet him, one who I knew was a huge fan, to supplement the background information on our conversation. I called him at 9:30 that morning, woke him up, which is always a risk. But this time, I could literally hear the excitement through the phone:
“I’ve listened to Carti since the time when you could only find his music on Soundcloud and YouTube. My friends and I would blast Carti and Uzi out of my friends beat up car. Next to Uzi, Carti is legit a Soundcloud legend blasting his way into popular culture. But I didn’t really know what to expect this time, having put on Carti’s album which was in my normal rotation of music and tried to come up with questions, which didn’t really work.”
...And honestly neither of us knew what would really come out of it— but, the day of, despite the intimidatingly well-dressed entourage Carti arrived alongside, the artist evoked an easiness, an openness, that immediately transgressed any of that sweating, stuttering state that takes over when talking to celebrities.Talking to Carti was like talking one of our friends— and from the start he had us cracking up, letting us know in his soft-spoken tone that he’d left all ego at the door.
What do you think people get wrong about you?
I just want people to know that I care, like genuinely care.
How long did it take you to make this project?
Two months - actually one month….We did the whole thing in Miami. Miami was crazy as fuck. But, somehow we made a whole album? Also, I got tattoos while in the booth making music. Had to drag a tattoo artist into the actual booth, it was lit.
Why the name Die Lit?
I actually didn’t even think about that. It was just about what was going on in Miami, the environment in which the album was made.
Favorite song from the album?
Loved the whole thing. Really, man.
I do remember listening to your music on on Soundcloud, around 2015, those songs like Don't Tell Nobody and Broke Boy. Is making music the same?
Somewhat, before I was rapping about shit that I have now. Times change, but I don't really care.
What about Social Media? It's pretty recently you've been regularly present on Instagram.
I just post what I want. And talk to girls. If I have a cool picture, or want to share something I actually like, I will. It’s not about PR.
That’s impressive, it feels like it would last longer than what others are doing, given that they’re relying on an element of technology that will likely get adapted and replaced by something else!
Wow, yeah. I mean, I just don’t care, I want to make my music. And talk to girls. Ha.
So, email was your first then. What was your first email?
Wow. Your opinions on Kanye?
I fuck with Kanye. But I don’t give a fuck about what people are saying, I don’t need to get into it.
So the name Playboi Carti? Where did that come from?
Also girls! Ha. You know, it explains itself.
Amazing. I feel stupid now even having asked. What inspires you?
Movies, I really like Danny Darko and Gummo, I watch those every week. Also Mickey Mouse.
Yeah I notice your tattoos, you have a bunch that feature him. Very trendy, he’s everywhere. And has been, I guess. Just did a collab with OC, ha.
Oh shit, that’s good. He’s my idol, really. Timeless artist.
Weirdly, that’s so true.Your favorite musician?
Young Nudy, he’s amazing. Doing real things.
How did you get into music?
Choir. But I only was into it for the girls, until the very end. Then I actually got into it, and it inspired me. It’s cool, now, doing SNL is something I’d dream to do before it all. But I’m also doing it for me, and that’s not changed. And my people. And my mom, she’s the best. Nothing really changes, I just keep up doing what I love and what makes it work.
What’d you do for Mother’s Day?
Gave her a shitload of Gucci.
Living and chilling. Really, I just need to live. But with music, I want to be doing everything now, too. I want to go full on, do it all. Now it’s time.
And it is, apparently. You’re killing Billboard. Go for it.