King Vamp: The Formation Of The Cult of Carti

Playboi Carti’s reputation did a 180 following his decision to double down on his signature musical style. Photo by Jamie Lamor Thompson on

Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti is a bit of an enigma. Due to his mysterious public persona or distinctive baby voice, Carti has recently managed to amass a large fanbase of hardcore fans. 

Back in 2017, rap fans mockingly called him the “mumble rapper” in the comment of one of his freestyle videos. Now in 2021, Carti is doing a stadium tour across the U.S. with a fanbase so rabid to see him that they break fences and knock out security guards. 

One of the fans at the canceled Houston concert violated his parole to be there, as seen on a video of him showing his ankle monitor. Carti’s fanbase is enough to get him trending whenever it’s the first of the month based on a single song lyric from his latest album. 

Carti himself seemingly described his fanbase with a one-word tweet after the fence-breaking incident: cult.

Playboi Carti’s signature musical style is one of the many reasons that he’s appealed to his fanbase. Carti almost entirely chooses to forgo traditional lyricism and focuses more on his atmospheric production and catchy hooks. 

Where fans have used the term mumble rapper derisively, Carti has wholeheartedly embraced the label. He even playfully refutes his detractors with the line “Bought a crib for my momma off that mumbling sh*t.” on his song “RIP.”

There’s also the distinctive baby voice he adopted in 2019, which he used on his viral feature with Young Nudy “Kid Cudi,” one of the many leaks that occurred throughout 2019. In 2020, his distinctive change was into the vampire-themed aesthetic to coincide with the “Whole Lotta Red” era. 

This aesthetic led to certain portions of his fanbase dubbing themselves “Vamps.” Their usage of the vampire emoji would become apparent in comment sections mentioning the rapper for months to come.

Carti’s public persona is just as eccentric as his music. Carti is known for his rather vague posting schedule, with some tweets just being one word, such as the tweet mentioned above.  Carti’s distinctive typing style, including random capitalization, emoji, liberal usage of the word-slatt and random plus and asterisk signs, also makes him stand out. 

A website even exists where one can type in text and convert it into his signature typing style. It would be a disservice to talk about the Playboi Carti fanbase and not talk about probably the most famous group of his fans, r/playboicarti. 

The subreddit has endured many of Carti’s very famous album delays, and as a result, they have developed a unique culture among rapper subreddits.

Whether it’s posting a meme in honor of Carti not dropping an album, talking about a fictionalized version of Carti’s son named Gilbert or depicting alternate universes where Carti is perceived to be a better father, r/playboicarti is just as non-conformist as its namesake. 

The subreddit in equal parts worships Carti and despises Carti at the same time. He’s revered for his music and faces rather vocal criticism for almost everything else about him. 

The subreddit is especially critical of his mysterious persona, missed release dates, and his alleged status as a deadbeat, amongst other things.

Carti’s strange appeal has led to him amassing a fanbase with equal parts critical yet equal parts enamored with his artistry. Even though the album that his current tour was named after has not dropped yet, it still hasn’t stopped the hype around him.