The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Playboi Carti’s Influence Stretches Beyond Music

Credit%3A+Instagram
Credit: Instagram

Playboi Carti and his record collective of young artists, Opium, are putting their stamp on hip-hop, fashion, and internet culture.
Either through their dark, rage-induced trap beats with mumbling lyrics, or head-to-toe black outfits, Carti and his disciples have made a name for themselves in the past few years.
Founded in 2019 by Jordan Carter, better known as Playboi Carti, in collaboration with Interscope, Foundation Media, and Ingrooves, Opium Records, colloquially known as Double 00 Gang by many of its members and associates, has signed three acts to date—all from Atlanta.
These signees are Ken Carson, Destroy Lonely, and Homixide Beno and Homixide Meechie, who perform as a single act, Homixide Gang. All the signees align with a newer genre of rap known as rage rap, a sect of trap music. Trap utilizes synthesized drums, particularly complicated hi-hat, snare, and bass patterns. The lyrical content generally revolves around material wealth, drugs, and the dangerous lifestyle the artists live.
Carti has dropped two studio albums and a mixtape, with the most recent album, “Whole Lotta Red,” released under the Opium banner in Dec. 2020.
Ken Carson has released three studio albums with the label, “Project X” in summer 2021, “X” in summer 2022, and “A Great Chaos” in fall 2023. Destroy Lonely has released a mixtape and a studio album for Opium, 2022’s “No Stylist” and 2023’s “If Looks Could Kill,” respectively. Homixide Gang has put out three projects since signing with Opium, a mixtape, Oct. 2023’s “5th Amndmnt,” and two albums, Nov. 2022’s “Homixide Lifestyle” and April 2023’s “Snot or Not.”
Due to its novelty as a genre, trap, especially the style favored by Opium artists, has a relatively young fan base. Most fans are below the age of 25, which makes sense considering the ages of its members, as Carson, Lonely, Beno, and Meechie are 24, 22, 24, and 23 respectively.
Nasheen Gibbs, a junior from Newark N.J., considers himself a massive Ken Carson fan, especially his third EP, “Teen X,” which was released in Aug. 2020. His favorite song is “Yale,” a track with heavy bass and synths boasting nearly 200 million streams on Spotify.
Nasheen appreciates Carson’s music for its listenability and overall sound.
“When he’s at his best, his flow and production are addicting,” he said. “His lyrics aren’t super dense either, so I can listen without thinking too hard.”
Carter Cleary, a junior from Westhampton, Mass., found himself put onto Opium artists by his cross-country teammates in 2022. He first heard about Ken Carson, then quickly discovered “No Stylist,” Destroy Lonely’s smash hit off the Aug. 2022 mixtape of the same name. It currently has just under 100 million streams on Spotify.
He appreciates the hardcore and fast beats that have become characteristic of Opium songs, utilizing them to make edits.
“I really like using Opium music for my mixtapes,” he said. “The fast pace and beat drops work especially well. The bells and sort of crunchy, synthesized chords also hit hard.”
Since 2021, Carter has been filming and taking photos for his videography business, “Carter with a Cam.”
Luke Lockbaum, a senior from Maynard, Mass., is also a fan of Ken Carson, calling him “quite easily” his favorite of the group, also calling him underrated.
“My favorite thing about Ken is he doesn’t drop any bad albums, he’s 3-0 right now and it takes a while to create a good album, so I appreciate that he makes the wait worth it,” he said. “Also, a lot of people know who Playboi Carti is now, but not many people pay their respects to Ken, even though he’s been holding it down for a minute now.”
Carson’s most recent album, “A Great Chaos,” dropped 15 months after his last release, and received great reviews, including a 7.8 from Pitchfork.
Luke also appreciates the Opium artists’ commitment to their looks.
“The all-black and Rick Owens aesthetic is cool because they are very wealthy artists who could wear anything they want, but choose to dress in all black every day,” he said. “I respect that they do stick to the aesthetic, and you really won’t see them in anything other than all black.”
Brands that have become associated with Opium include but are not limited to: Rick Owens, Givenchy, Vetements, and Balenciaga. These brands sell luxury clothing, jewelry, and footwear at extravagant prices.
Tate Cowperthwait, a junior from Florence, Mass., agrees with Luke’s sentiment toward the fashion aspect of Opium, calling the style “kind of hard.” He thinks that monochrome outfits can easily get corny, but Carti and his collective don’t fall victim to this trend because of the exorbitant price of the outfits.
Tate’s favorite artist is Homixide Gang, because they “get the best beats” and “they drop the most consistently,” referring to the fact that they dropped three projects between Nov. 2022 and Oct. 2023.
However, Tate is not a fan of the internet culture that Opium has built, calling their mysterious and off the grid presence “lame and annoying.” He thinks it would be “better to have an actual connection with the fans,” though he credits Homixide Gang for being more public on socials.
Luke, on the other hand, is in support of the radio silence on Instagram and Twitter.
“I appreciate how Opium members choose to approach social media because they don’t try to do too much,” he said. “They hardly ever post so when they do post it’s a big deal because it’s usually something to do with them dropping music.”
A controversial element of Opium is the Satanism. Many of the members wear upside-down crosses. Although interestingly, friend of and frequent collaborator with Opium, Lil Uzi Vert wears similar paraphernalia, and recently claimed in a 2023 song, “Suicide Doors,” that the Satanism is just for show.
“I ain’t satanist, but they say I am, so let’s do it,” he writes. A huge part of many of these artists’ brandings is the element of darkness. However, this has not stopped some old fans from being scared away, even if the satanism is just for show, and not a true belief.
Chase Livingston, a senior from Westerly, RI., disapproves of how Carti has changed since his earlier albums, which were released three to five years ago.
“I don’t like the satanic route that some of my once-favorite artists have taken, like Playboi Carti,” he said.

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    Jackson EstesApr 24, 2024 at 9:14 PM

    this is so opium!!

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