In the same way the internet has reshaped the lives of many across the globe, it has re-written the handbook on oddball rap. For millennials, the evolution of rap is clear. What used to be a unified aesthetic now closely resembles a jumbled-up music genre with unlimited approaches for rappers of all ages, one of whom is especially interesting: Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti.
It’s important rst to sort out the musicians that were imperative for bringing about recent changes in rap. Soulja Boy, the rst self-started, internet-driven, famous rapper, and Chief Keef, known largely for disassembling traditional ideas about verse structure, are just two reference points to a generation of rappers whose eccentricities are celebrated rather than maligned. In 2017, rappers now have a license to be radiantly weird or genuinely indifferent — something that wasn’t always the case.
Their unconventional approaches have attracted the spotlight, and as a result, fan bases have increased. One particularly notable oddball rapper who is on the rise, Playboi Carti, played at Chicago’s Portage eater Feb. 24.
Carti is a microstar of Atlanta’s druggy, loopy decentralized rap scene. He’s more important than your average Atlanta rapper though. Using rap as a gateway to stay out of trouble, Carti began rapping at a young age, but has yet to release a full project and is already making huge waves for himself.
Last September, A$AP Rocky announced at a concert of his that the then 19-year-old rapper struck a recording deal with Interscope Records. It’s not every day that a young rapper gets signed to a major label without having released any significant body of music. Interscope’s eagerness to bring Carti in is a testament to how popular they think he’ll be when he releases an album.
His rapping style is fragmented, delivering hazy boasts in stop-and- start chunks. Most of his songs follow simple patterns. Carti is almost a secondary rapper, far more at ease with the performance of a role than with the actual task of rapping.
At the Portage eater, Carti donned a Supreme basketball jersey and Yves Saint Laurent white oval-shaped sunglasses. He performed last on a bill of other oddball rappers that included Miami punk rapper Lil’ Pump and his counterpart Smokepurpp, Xavier Wulf and Chicago native, Warhol SS.
Although Carti didn’t take the stage until 45 minutes after he was supposed to, the suspense built in the crowd made his appearance worth the wait. Carti casually ran through sneakily effective songs including “Run It,” “Fetti,” “Lost” and “Broke Boi.”
With a cluttered stage, hazy air and bassy banger after banger, the show quickly became raucous. Carti played a rapidfire set, hitting all of the highlights in succession, and his interaction with the crowd was amicable and almost unexpected. Despite riling up the crowd song after song, the energy in the room remained constant all the way through. Bouncing around on stage, and interacting with the crowd, Carti made it clear he’s the young and restless prince of contemporary rap.
Not only was Carti charismatic with his fans, but it also seemed he was genuinely happy to be playing in front of crowd in Chicago, his dad’s hometown. His excitement paired with fans’ excitement for the show itself and the release of his recently announced debut mixtape in March made for a high-energy, hour-long set that never dulled. Carti is up next for rap, and he made that crystal clear.