Playboi Carti Wants You to Feel the Punk Rock – Ogden Theatre, July 31

Playboi Carti Wants You to Feel the Punk Rock – Ogden Theatre, July 31

August 4, 2018 Off By Sandisz Thieme

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Photos by Michael McGrath

You could say the legacy of Rap Music has become very similar to rock and roll. Not so much sonically, but visually, in thought, mindset, fans and fanatics, and more. Where rock had David Bowie, Rap has Frank Ocean. Rock’s Marilyn Manson is Rap’s Lil Uzi Vert. People flock to rappers and follow them religiously now,  the way Rock fan’s have stalked rockstars since Beatlemania. There are even a few similar tragedies, like the way the unfortunate demise of Lil Peep mirrors Sid Vicious’s OD death, or any other rockstar’s, from a drug overdose.

It’s a difficult claim to make and an easy one to disagree with. You could make the claim these rappers have intentionally aligned themselves with these artists as a sort of call back to the “good old days.” But whether you agree or not, one thing is certain: rap music is in dire need of some sort of mainstream ‘punk’ movement to get those weird, angry juices flowing. In steps Playboi Carti.

Playboi Carti might be the perfect example for the “intentionally aligning themselves” claim I made earlier, and Playboi Carti certainly pushes the mindset of punk, more than dress or image. But with his latest installment and second studio album “Die Lit,” Playboi Carti is definitely calling on all of rap’s punks to mobilize, and I believe we’re answering the call.

Playboi Carti may not sound like punk, but he wants you to feel the same esthetic.

His music doesn’t sound the same as punk, not nearly (although he will occasionally sound as incoherent as the good old punk screaming and shouting just for the hell of it), but with his videos (like the one for R.I.P.), his eclectic tour flyers, and his all-around aesthetic, he seems to want it to look the same. More importantly, after following him on social media and catching a glimpse of his live shows-mostly his performance at Rolling Loud and recently live at the Ogden Theatre last Tuesday, I feel he wants it to feel the same.

He spent his entire Ogden set running and bouncing around on stage, yelling at the crowd with a repeating, flashing lightshow behind him that read “!IT ENDS HERE-*” next to a smiley face bleeding profusely from a Vlone “V” etched out of the center of it’s forehead. At one point, maybe a tantrum, he even took off his shoes and threw the mic on the floor. Throughout the show, he and his DJ kept yelling “open that shit up!” hoping to get a moshpit started. When nobody obliged, Carti was visibly annoyed (blame the Ogden though, and their penchant for packing wayyy too many people into a venue that’s way too small). There was hardly enough physical space for a pit in the first place. A friend of mine that was very much willing to cut through the crow told me everyone would get “all pissy” when anyone tried to start a pit.

While punk music isn’t all weirdos and moshpits – it’s very much more than that – and mainstream punk rock and Carti’s version of rap music may not sound the same, they have very similar roots and inspirations, feelings, look, and mindset. It seems Playboi Carti is making a huge callback to punk music, aligning himself with it solely “for the clout” as it were. But if that’s so, it all makes perfect sense to me and many of his fans.

On the other hand, maybe I’m just cramming everything “musical” that I wasn’t alive to see into some sort of horrifying and mis-shapen gelatinous blob and calling it “rock and roll.” And dying for a true glimpse of the punk rock ethic alive & well.

Our photographer, Mike McGrath, said the show reminded him a lot of a “90’s hip hop show,” another experience I unfortunately missed out on.