Recently I've been on a Playboi Carti bender. By this, I mean hours and hours spent clicking thru Carti leaks on YouTube as I "do homework" and whatnot. I went through a phase of this last year, particularly inclined towards some of his older Ca$h Carti-era stuff that was never officially released ("Lost," "Cash Shit," etc.) and the definitive Whole Lotta Red leaks, like Arm n Leg, Kid Cudi, Molly, A Lot On My Mind, Pop Bottles, Neon, back when they were all leaking on leakth.is and r/rapleaks. But I kind of ran through it all; became tired, queasy.
I'm back, though. And what's interesting now is the disorientation I feel - not disorientation per se, but the ubiquity of Carti strikes me. He's everywhere and nowhere. There are albums and albums worth of unreleased tracks. Here's a short list of my favorite leaks:
Arm n Leg
A Lot On My Mind
No Smoke Freestyle
Whole Lotta Red
Not only regular tracks, but also slowed + reverb'd versions of these tracks. In the end, you have what feels like hundreds of fantastic unreleased cuts.
And some of these tracks I don't think were even made by Carti - enter the disorientation and democratization. Pi'erre Bourne is probably the one to credit here. People are making Bourne-inspired beats and looping Carti a capellas over them and creating entire new tracks which oftentimes, frankly, are indistinguishable from official Carti tracks and sound not only just as good, but sometimes even better. They write things like "my instrumental, not official Carti" in the description as a disclaimer. Sometimes it's not even their instrumental, but a Pi'erre Bourne-type beat they ripped and then brilliantly meshed with a Carti a capella.
And it's not that people are rapping themselves and trying to imitate Carti's drooling flow, dribbling ad-libs and scrumptious baby voice. No, they're just ripping Carti's voice off other unreleased tracks and snippets. Thus, Carti has himself de-materialized, dissolved into the ether of internet data; there literally now exists an alphabet's worth, dictionary-length pool of unreleased Carti vocals to manipulate. Like he's one of those text-to-speech robots. Anyone with a copy of FL Studio and semi-talented at beat-making can make a Carti track. Playboi Carti, but make it Build-A-Bear workshop.
In 2020, anyone can be Playboi Carti. Try your hand.