Week 9 is already here and that means the term is coming to a close. Finals and major projects are hitting everybody hard, and people need a break. But you know what never ends?
And Aug. 15, I was able to leave my worries behind and vicious swing my arms to Playboi Carti, who brought his very first headlining tour to the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street.
2017 has been a meteoric year for Carti. After garnering a lot of underground buzz in his hometown of Atlanta, Carti moved up to New York City and began collaborating with the artistic collective A$AP Mob, composed of rappers A$AP Rocky, Ferg, Nast, Twelevvy and others. This relationship culminated in Carti contributing to their collective “Cozy Tapes Vol. 1” in 2016, and officially signing to their AWGE imprint. In April, Carti released his self-titled mixtape to critical and commercial acclaim, moving over 18,000 copies in the first week alone, and spawning the smash hit “Magnolia.”
After I awkwardly milled about in the crowd for about an hour wondering if the opener had even come out yet, the DJ joined the stage and eased my worries by asking if we were ready for Playboi Carti. After rolling through some hits to get the crowd rowdy, Carti himself joined the stage. Bouncing around with a bright smile, Carti dove into “Kelly K” and “Location” off of his self-titled mixtape.
Suddenly, the beat for “Magnolia” began blaring through the speakers, and the crowd went wild. This was an interesting choice as most artists wait to play their most popular songs near the end of their set, and “Magnolia” is by far Carti’s most established hit. But nonetheless, arms wildly flailed as Carti rapped “In New York I Milly Rock, hide it in my sock.”
Carti is not the most lyrical rapper. But his songs are characterized by their addictiveness. With simple, repetitive hooks, attention-grabbing ad-libs and bouncy production courtesy of tour mate Pierre Bourne, Carti’s tracks fit perfectly in any party setting.
Carti was the master of ceremonies at this party. For many songs, Carti let the crowd rap the songs to him, as he added along ad-libs. While not full of lyrical prowess per-se, the concert felt like a curated dance club, with everyone in the crowd bouncing as much as Carti was. He even took some time to show his appreciation of the Atlanta hip-hop scene, playing tracks by fellow rappers like 21 Savage and Sahbabii.
Cash Carti went through the majority of his mixtapes, with lesser known hits like “dothatshit!” and “Let It Go”, as well as the A$AP Rocky assisted “New Choppa” and two popular tracks featuring Philadelphia’s own Lil Uzi Vert, “Lookin” and “Wokeuplikethis.” He even played some of his earlier hits “Broke Boi” and “Fetti,” which had his day one fans exhilarated. The Atlanta rapper closed out his set by remarking that “Magnolia” had gone platinum, and ran the track back, with just as much excitement from the crowd as when he first played it.
If you missed Carti, don’t fret. He’ll be back in Philadelphia on Sept. 26 with the entire A$AP Mob at the Mann Center. This will definitely be a show you don’t want to miss.