Youth in Revolt: How Playboi Carti + Lil Uzi Vert are Influencing a New Style of Rap

Straying from the madness that’s all Kanye and his various list of album title names, the music industry has been struck with a youthful serge. This serge is coming from two artists, Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert, who are rockstars in their own right. From their modern internet rap rockstar mannerisms to their stylistic way of delivering their lyrics, these guys are but they bring an odd element to hip hop that’s found in a lot of today’s up and coming artists who are breaking in the genre. Carti and Uzi’s melodic/run off the mill flow is abnormal but distinct, whether it’s their delivery of words and the harmonies they provide in their music, one can recognize one of their songs in the first 30 seconds. Where one might say their art form is simplistic to a degree, and others may say it’s genius but one fact of the matter is that it’s getting noticed by the masses and key figures in the industry. 

Fashion dynamo Ian Connor saw the potential in Playboi Carti, and hip hop icons DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon saw what could manifest with Lil Uzi Vert. Aside from their major co-signs, Carti and Uzi managed a way to grab the young millennials to be obsessed with their post-trap/nursery-rhyme like jams that are played across the nation. You see this in songs such as Uzi’s “Top” and Carti’s “Fetti”, though their words may not shout out “These are words of a Hip Hop Scholar”, they’re still quotable lyrics.

The notion of fusing the simplistic yet clever words over the future southern influenced sounds is genius, but what also is miraculous is the way these artists articulate their words. While Carti presents 3rd Coast/modernized Atlanta drawl with cool lingo in his work, Uzi serenades and flows over whatever wave he catches in his songs. These aspects that created by these two rising stars has also molded their rockstar persona as well. Aside from their attire, these two gravitate an audience with their liveliness, flare, and power to impact a generation who’s looking for a good time and having a nice soundtrack behind it. The pair have a voice and they’re going beyond the give barriers to further their sound. 

Along with furthering this sound, they have opened the door for artists to make splashes in the industry as well. The new “Atlantastan” sound is filled with a huge group of youngsters such as Nessly, Lil Yachty, UnotheActivist, Thouxanbandfauni, MadeinTyo, and more who have adopted a similar yet different sound to Carti’s. Uzi Vert’s enigmatic ballads is reminiscent to Young Thug’s but it also the same pattern for the Philly rising artist, PnB Rock. The level of influence may be not mentioned but it can’t be denied. Both being under the age of 25, they’re the gatekeepers of what the new age of hip hop holds for us, not only for artists but for producers as well. 

As these two lay down the vocals for these tracks, producers such as DP Beatz, MexikoDro, Brandon Thomas, Maaly Raw, and more have been the composers for the melodies that make up these two artists. Their versatility on the boards has crafted flexibility for each rapper to expand not only in their respected comfort zones, but these producers are giving the chance to crossover genres. For example, the FKi produced bridge in Uzi Vert’s song “Moist” is EDM driven but it doesn’t stray away from the hazy bass boom instrumental. The same thing goes for ICYTWAT creating an intergalactic inspired beat for the single, “Talk” by Carti. The range found in their loose singles shows how what they are at the moment and what they can blossom into if they keep exercising the muscle of creating things that the industry is not used to hearing. 

This muscle that Uzi and Carti are exercising is one that is revolutionizing the online music streaming industry. Carti’s six million plus plays on “Fetti” and Uzi’s 3.8 million plays on “Money Longer” shows you with consistent sharing, the replay value of the song will rise. The impact that artists like these two are having on sites such as Soundcloud, Spotify, Tidal, and others enable more rising artists to showcase their music on a broader scale, which ranges from the consumers to the masterminds in the industry. This free range of streaming is a gift and a curse because sure it enables accessibility for people to interactive with one’s music but it also allows a stream of bad music to be on the internet. This accessibility changes the game because it’s a new format for artist to use rather than buying a placement on for a full project on LiveMixtapes/Spinrilla/Datpiff or any other mixtape hosting site. This new interface is giving leeway for artists to change the way they market their material and most of all, having the chance to appeal to different demographics. 


One may ask what this means for the future of hip hop and what it lead to. The words “cultivation" and “evolution” come to mind. This is not the formal way of rapping but ultimately who wants to hear the same structured rhymes that was freestyled by artists in the Bronx during the early 80s. As a genre, the sound music must stretch and continue to present something new to the table that wasn’t offered before. Uzi and Carti are bringing that with their new age star power, abnormal off the wall flow, and ability to gravitate to the budding internet demographic. The breaking point of the future is coming soon and these two artists show that you don’t have to fit in to break barriers in the industry. 


   Photos by ShotbyCones & Matt Kaplan 


Photos by ShotbyCones & Matt Kaplan 

The future is in the hands of the kids. Let their creativity flow and let the Youth Revolt. 

Written by Greg Harris // Follow him here @ByGregHarris on IG/Twitter