Playboi Carti, who once referred to himself as the “Jay Electronica of mumble rap,” moves on his own schedule. While his infrequent release habits have frustrated some fans, he’s evolved into one of the biggest voices in rap. And with every collaboration and co-sign from artists like ASAP Rocky and Frank Ocean, Carti’s starpower has grown. Yet, much of his life has remained a mystery.
Sure, most fans know that he was born the same day Tupac died, on September 13, 1996, or that he first began playing around with his signature “baby voice” in 2016 before fully popularizing it on Die Lit two years later). But Carti has been fairly withdrawn and reclusive when publicly detailing his life story.
While fans have been pouring over countless leaks of his music online, though, Carti has shared tidbits about himself in various interviews over the years. So we went on a deep dive and gathered a list of 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Playboi Carti.
Image via Getty/Matt Jelonek
He wants you to think he’s a vampire
Carti often compares himself to a vampire. His love for the blood-sucking creatures stems from his appreciation for the 1987 cult classic, The Lost Boys. The film, which stars Corey Haim, follows two brothers who relocate to California and end up fighting a gang of vampires. In 2017, Carti told Complex that he was drawn to the film because he felt connected to the lifestyle and fashion. “I paused the movie and played my music over top of it and it looked so crazy,” he explained. “I thought, damn, I wanna look like this. That’s me, that’s Playboi Carti, a vampire on a dirt bike. Flying. Laughing and shit. The fangs, my grills. Long hair, dreads. Rock star shit. You know what I’m saying? It’s fire.” He also shared with The Fader that he enjoys other vampire movies, like Interview With the Vampire. You’ll also notice, Carti frequently uses the vampire emoji on social media posts, further depicting himself as a creature of the night. At the end of The Fader cover story, interviewer Ben Dandridge-Lemco writes: “After I say goodbye and turn to walk out of the room, [Carti] calls out to me: ‘When you write that shit, tell ’em I’m a vampire.’”
He got into music by joining the church choir
Long before Carti began uploading songs to SoundCloud, he was introduced to music at a young age as a member of the choir in his church. While he admitted that he initially joined the choir to win cool points with the girls, he eventually stuck with it for himself. “I only was into it for the girls until the very end,” he recalled in an interview with Office magazine. “Then I actually got into it, and it inspired me. It’s cool, now.”
The first album he ever bought was by Lil Romeo
Like most kids growing up, Carti was drawn to child stars that he could relate to. The first CD he ever bought was a Lil Romeo album when he was in first grade. “It was definitely a CD. I was most definitely living in Riverdale,” he recalled in an interview with SSENSE. “The only thing I can remember is Lil Romeo used to always spell out his name in his raps. I always used to know how to spell his name. I was a big fan of Romeo and Bow Wow, the little kids back in the day.”
He used to work at H&M
Before the fame and fortune, Playboi Carti was just your average kid who worked in retail. He revealed that he briefly worked at Swedish fast-fashion company, H&M, while he was in high school. “I went from bagging groceries to working at this place called H&M,” he recalled in a 2016 home video. “But look, in Atlanta, when it first popped off, I was the hottest nigga at [H&M], ’cause I was still in school.” Carti eventually decided to quit H&M after he saw that his music career was gaining him recognition from female fans. He explained that after women approached him on the job, telling him that they enjoyed his music, he knew it was time to leave.
He released his first mixtape, Young Misfit, under the moniker $ir Cartier
When he first began his music career, Carti performed under the stage name $ir Cartier. He released his first mixtape in 2012 under the moniker, called Young Misfit. The nine-track project took a different direction than Carti’s music today. While he has often been described as a mumble rapper, $ir Cartier seemed to take inspiration from more classic rap styles. And on tracks like “$teeze” and “Zombie$,” he enunciated his words in a regular tone, rather than using the muffled “baby voice” he popularized later in his career.
He isn’t a fan of stage diving
Stage diving is a near-mandatory stunt for new artists. And Carti has participated in the concert trick, most notably on the cover of Die Lit—but he revealed that he isn’t the biggest fan of stage diving. “Nah, I ain’t fucking with it,” he told Revolt TV in 2018. “Even when I used to do it, I ain’t fuck with it. It’s so crazy because if they don’t catch me, it’s a dub.” Carti said he has since stopped stage diving out of fear of fans dropping him. He even went so far as to give stage diving an overall rating of zero.
He loves classic movies
Playboi Carti is a movie buff. In addition to loving the cult classic, The Lost Boys, Carti is a fan of classic films from the 90s and early 2000s. He has even listed Donnie Darko and Gummo as sources of inspiration for his music. He also adores Mickey Mouse. “He’s my idol. Timeless,” he said of the beloved Disney cartoon.
His mentors in high school were Ethereal, Father, and KEY!
Carti cites artists Father, Ethereal, and KEY! as three of his early mentors when he was a senior in high school. Father founded record label Awful Records in 2014, which is where Carti got his start as a rapper. “YUNGXANHOE” was one of the first records he recorded and released on SoundCloud via the label. He was later introduced to Atlanta artist Ethereal who was also signed to Awful at the time. Carti credits Ethereal to helping him find his sound and style.
“When I met [Ethereal], I was looking for shit that he was already doing. I was like wow. This is the guy. Ethereal is a legend,” he told Dazed in 2018. “Without him, I don’t know where the fuck I’d be. He’s a good dude. So talented. He’s another GOAT.” He adds, “I’m not even talking about his music right now. As a human, that man is a really good dude. He took me in when I was skipping school. Took me on the road, started going crazy. My senior year of highschool, he and Father and KEY! started going crazy, making all these tracks.”
Image via Getty/Gustavo Caballero
His ASAP Mob affiliations kicked off after meeting ASAP Rocky at a house party
After relocating from Atlanta to the Bornx to pursue music, Carti crossed paths with ASAP Bari. Shortly after, he connected with ASAP Rocky at a SXSW 2015 house party. “I met Rocky at this house party and it was crazy,” he recalled. “He told me he fucked with me, bro, and after he said that I gotta get out here and get my swag up. It was lit. There were a bunch of bitches everywhere. It was life. The life I wanted was in the house, right there.” Carti’s friendship with ASAP Rocky proved to be instrumental in his career. In addition to citing Rocky as his mentor coming up, he’s collaborated with ASAP Mob on several projects in music and fashion. In 2016, Carti was featured on ASAP’s single “Telephone Calls,” which appeared on the Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends album. Their partnership soon resulted in Carti signing to the collective’s AWGE imprint and Interscope that same year. In 2017, the rapper appeared on the second volume of the Cozy Tapes series on the hit “Raf.” Carti has also designed for VLONE, a streetwear label founded by ASAP Bari.
He’s never been interested in face tattoos
Face tattoos are a right of passage for most of the new generation of rappers, but not for Carti. When Carti stopped by Big Boy’s Neighborhood in 2018, he revealed that he has no interest in joining the face tattoo club. “I never need ’em,” he explained. “I already have a birthmark. It’s kind of big. It don’t even make sense for me to get face tatts. You know what I’m sayin’? I was never into ’em.” Later, he explained that face tattoos don’t exactly attract female fans, saying, “People be telling me [not to get tattoos]. You know, I like females.” He may not be getting any ink on his face, but Carti has several tattoos on the rest of his body, including a large butterfly on his chest, Mickey Mouse, and an anarchy symbol on his lower abdomen.