Pretty much all artists who have been around for a few years and managed to accomplish some artistic growth get to experience a nostalgic, nagging portion of their fanbase demanding: “Bring back old ______!”. Usually, these detractors remain relegated to their insular Internet campaigns as the rest of the fans get to enjoy the ride with the artist into new territories.
As we all probably know, Playboi Carti‘s rise into stardom was sparked by some sporadically-released songs on SoundCloud dating about five years back. These songs showcased a unique style that many credit as inspiring a whole wave of rappers. His fans waited years before finally receiving a full-length project from Carti – his eponymous 2017 mixtape. While the mixtape preserved some of the elements of his previous songs that had attracted so many followers, he definitely seemed to be veering in a new direction. With Pi’erre Bourne as his in-house producer, his beats became less traditional, using scintillating video game noises to create an almost psychedelic soundscape.
When Carti dropped his debut album, Die Lit, last summer, it showed him honing this style and inventing new personas. Baby-voice Carti – shown in full force on “FlatBed Freestyle” – quickly gained the admiration of listeners. According to his cover story for FADER’s latest issue, his next project, Whole Lotta Red, will see him doing a deep dive into this vocal experimentation. “The baby voice is still present on multiple songs, but he’s warped it into a higher pitch, stretching his voice into something much more unorthodox,” writes Ben Dandridge-Lemco.
Well, for those who aren’t crazy about Carti’s incessant repetition of warbled melodies, it appears he will be returning to the more bars-oriented approach that catapulted him in the first place. At a recent concert, he told the crowd that he will be revisiting his “Old Carti” ways following the release of WLR. But at the end of the day, all Carti is good Carti.