You’re bound to say some real shit if, while around people you trust, you go on a drunk/high rant. Even if everything before and after the real shit is gibberish, you’re too in touch with your thoughts and feelings at that point to not say something genuine. If you’re a lame, all that talk about your ambitions, ideas, and your whole life story will be laughed about in the morning because people already know you’re not about what you say. But if you’re on any kind of upward trajectory in life, however slow, whatever comes spilling out from the front of your mind might be profound.
Playboi Carti might not be your first source of inspiration, but any artist who can build buzz without an official project clearly has sauce. With the release of his self-titled debut project, Carti is now an established name in the game, which means we can now consider this video of him in a hotel two years ago classic.
Using quotes from a crossfaded 19-year-old Carti, here is a list of lessons on self-branding, success, and growth.
1. “I had no mixtape out bro…these tracks niggas be releasin’? Niggas be releasin’ my old shit when I was 14 freestylin’. I just be chillin’ bro, I haven’t released a song since school, I don’t do shit bro. All I do is visionary,” (2:18).
Though Carti is saying, “I don’t do shit,” he’s not. What Carti means is the work you have to do later in your career lessens if you put the hours in early on. Consistency in quality and output from the jump is what allows someone like Carti to stay relevant later on without really doing a whole lot.
For instance, whenever ATC starts poppin’ for real, I already have years worth of shit like this to keep people busy while more gets dropped.
Whether it’s blog posts, podcasts, videos, photography, or whatever your work is, do not stop putting shit out just because you’re not blowing up yet. If you do enough on the business end, people will start to come to your content. And later, when you want to take your shit to the next level, that body of work you amassed when no one was watching will allow you the freedom to create even better shit, or just chill for a bit, while your name grows off of content you haven’t touched in a long time.
2. “Some niggas can say I changed on them because I thought they was on the same shit I was on, but they not. OR, they was on some shit that I wanted to be on, and when I got on that shit, I got on it then surpassed them, and they was just lost in the sauce,” (3:17).
In categorizing his failed friendships (the scene where this article’s feature photo was taken), Carti outlines how dedication to his craft changed him. In being committed to his success as an artist and tastemaker, he was able to point out those of his friends/acquaintances that liked him as they first knew him, and those that respected who he was and who he wanted to be. Likewise, people that fell out with him due to his success are people that didn’t want to see Carti grow beyond their own level of success. Mastery of a craft, of a lifestyle, requires growth. And people that can’t get down with that are people that don’t need to be around when you succeed.
3. “[ASAP] Rocky call me, I go in the studio, I make five songs with him, Rocky is a genius. He loves me, I love him. He’s a dad to me. He hate me sayin’ that, I be like, ‘What’s up pops?’…I love that nigga bro, just like I love Father, and I love Ethereal,” (2:34).
There’s some drama surrounding Carti’s split with Awful Records, but this clip is a better example of how to treat associates in your field when you’ve collaborated. Even if shit ends sourly, as it did with Carti and Father, Ethereal and company, being honest about what people in your past have done for you keeps you level-headed and moving forward rather than bitterly looking back at what could have been. With ‘Magnolia’ getting as high as #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 this year, something tells me Carti isn’t looking back.
Secondly, Carti’s appreciation for ASAP Rocky is a major key: find a mentor. Do you absolutely need a mentor? No, but the benefits of working under a more established person’s wing are almost countless:
- Meet more successful people in your field.
- Contribute to greater work than what you can currently make, meaning self-promo and learning how to make doper shit for yourself.
- Learn what not to do before you waste time learning the hard way.
- Get familiar with higher-level life in your field quicker than if you tried to come up without affiliations. Like JV players doing captain’s practices with Varsity players.
The respect that Carti has for people that teach him game is immense, and the value he has placed on his relationship with the ASAP Mob has clearly translated into personal success.
4. “My mom just a loyal ass bih, and I luh her, man…Rest in peace, grandma. I luh you bro,” (3:54).
Nothing profound here, just be sure to look back and appreciate those who supported and protected you along the way. It’ll humble you and make you want to do the same for others. And probably don’t call your mom a bitch, or your grandma “bro,” no matter how endearing.
Hope this breakdown of an otherwise comedic video encourages you to keep your eyes and ears open for truth in strange places.