Playboi Carti’s live show has evolved from a pure rage fest with just him and his trusted DJ Blak Boy on stage to cages, strobe lights, guitarists, and an increasingly complex set design. Everything is unorthodox about a Playboi Carti show, including how he reacts when fans run on stage while he’s performing.
“We just took the opportunity to interact with the fans. So, instead of [kicking] them off stage, and getting them beat up and everything, like is standard with most security protocols, it’s an opportunity where Carti was able to say, ‘I want them to see how much I rocked with them.’ I think that was the cool part about it,” DJ Blak Boy told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the producer and disc jockey explained what fans can expect from Carti’s upcoming “Antagonist Tour,” how the famed artist tried to help Rico Nasty on his “King Vamp Tour,” and more. Read the exclusive below.
How has Playboi Carti’s live show evolved over the last five years?
We haven’t even reached the peak yet. We’re still going up. We’re not doing the typical DJ with the artist in the middle of the stage. We’ve changed it up so much to the point where it is competing with other top-tier artists that put on great performances in the rap world. He’s gone from just me and him to a whole show with production and people on stage with him. It’s a whole different dynamic. Many people have asked me how I feel about the change from being on the mic as much as I was to where it’s at now, and I’m all about the show’s progression. I’m always telling people that Carti is arguably one of the best performers.
You were seen deejaying in a cage. What did you think about that change?
That was for his birthday party, man. Usually, what we do for his birthday is link up, do a little birthday get-together and stuff like that, or celebrate on tour. But that was dope, and it created a different type of atmosphere. I thought it was dope. We brought the cage out in a few places, like at E11EVEN when we were in Miami and did the performance down there [on July 21]. I liked it because nobody could request anything.
Did anybody try to climb the cage?
We had to tell people to get off a few times, bro. If too many people get on this thing, it will collapse. They had to get off. I had to tell them, “Do you all want to see me get hurt?” (laughs).
Which songs from Whole Lotta Red are now mainstays in Carti’s set?
“Stop Breathing,” “Rockstar Made,” and, of course, “Sky.” Also, “ILoveUIHateU.” It is a very melodic song, contrasting all the rage stuff we have on the set. Carti always throws a smooth vibe in his albums to balance out all the rage stuff.
2022 Rolling Loud New York was one of Carti’s best performances. How long before the set did you know Kanye West was coming on stage?
When I was getting ready to set DJ stuff up and everything, it was usually an on-the-fly thing. I’m so focused on getting ready for the show that I would not hear them say certain things until they bring up a guest mic. And when a guest mic comes up in the middle of the performance, I’m like, “Who is it going to be?” They told me, “It’s Kanye.” I already knew which song to play. It moves so fast, and when I get into show mode, I’m just focused on executing the show and making sure it’s perfect.
Didn’t you go on tour with Destroy Lonely recently?
I started and did the first week with them, but then some family stuff came up, and unfortunately, I had to leave the tour a bit earlier than expected. That’s why I was so ready for this “Antagonist Tour” to pop off. The U.S. dates got postponed, but still, we got that coming, and that’s just going to be me being able to pick up where I left off from the Destroy Lonely tour. But that tour was so crazy, man. Going out with Homixide [Gang] and having an opportunity before the show to put on a Blak Boy show, and have the people rage with me, and turn up was dope. I think in the past, I didn’t really take into account how much I took the crowd for granted.
Speaking of the crowd, fans can sometimes be overzealous. Didn’t people jump on stage with Carti a few times?
We just took the opportunity to interact with the fans. So, instead of [kicking] them off stage, and getting them beat up and everything, like is standard with most security protocols, it’s an opportunity where Carti was able to say, “I want them to see how much I rocked with them.” I think that was the cool part about it.
How have fans shown their appreciation?
The stage dives, bro. Sometimes, those stages are at least eight to nine feet elevated from the ground. They run full speed and stage dive, do front flips, or go straight head first. I think that’s the craziest thing I’ve seen.
Carti became a dad recently. How have you seen him balance fatherhood and performing?
It doesn’t affect him in any type of way. He’s a happy father. He likes being around his kid. He takes that time to be around his kid and spend time with him out of a busy schedule. A lot of people could say they’re too busy to spend time with their kid right now, so they’ll just wait until after the tour or something like that, but Carti takes that time. I’ve seen him with his kid when we’ve been on tour.
The “King Vamp Tour” in 2021 was the first one you two went on after the pandemic hit. How was it getting back on the road?
It was dope, man. Whenever we’re on the road and the tour, we move like a well-oiled machine. So, we got back into the schedule pretty quickly. Getting back into that was easy, and the crowd was lit. Bringing out Ken Carson on tour, Rico Nasty, and even having Destroy Lonely come out on some dates with Ken was dope.
Speaking of Rico Nasty, there were serious issues with her and Playboi Carti fans. How did you all address it?
Carti spoke to her a lot during that tour. He told her she had to keep going because that’s what will happen. If they don’t like you, they’re just not going to like you, or they’re going to troll or whatever. You have to stick it out through that time. At the end of the day, when you’re finished with it, they’re going to rock with you. Carti told the fans he picked her for the opener portion of the show, so you have to rock with her. His coming out on stage with her was dope, too. It was a lot of support we gave. These fans can be vicious out here.
What can supporters look forward to from this upcoming tour?
It will be one of those situations where you get to see the Opium crew together. It’s going to be a dope experience. As far as how the stage will be set up, I don’t know yet. I usually find that stuff out on the first date. We will see stage designs and all that stuff together for the first time. I can’t wait for it to kick off.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
We kick off the November portion in Europe and finish in December. We will come back home and do a few shows. For the rest of the year, I’m focusing on doing production and stuff like that. I’m trying to kick out some new projects. I haven’t produced much stuff lately because I’m trying to balance tour and production. I get so exhausted from touring. So, on the downtime that I do have, I’m just trying to focus on pushing out more. That’s the main focus right now for me.
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