If you’re a part of the Opium fanbase, you understand that all good things come to those who wait.
There’s something about Playboi Carti’s enigmatic composure, flashy arrogance, and cryptic demeanor that adds to the vamp’s mystery. The rapper has shape shifted through many different eras: From baby voice Carti of self-titled to raging NARCISSIST post Whole Lotta Red — it’s hard to predict what Carti will do next.
After a big-hearted Christmas gift of 2020, Whole Lotta Red, Carti initiates the Opium era: stepping in with Balenciaga combat boots, a Joker-painted face, and furious rage beats. The distinct thrashing-metal edge hits hard like Opium, directing the popular rage sound that has taken hold of the internet. Whether it’s Carson’s bubbly ignorance or Lonely’s ghostly presence, the Opium rappers have transformed into superstars in less than a year. As fans wait patiently for Music to drop, the King Vamp sits high on the Opium throne that he has carefully built, reigning in all of its successes.
Follow below as Dana unravels a year of Opium and its influence:
Ken Carson’s X & Xtended (Deluxe)
Ken Carson, the first signee to Opium, drops the synthetically warped X, growing up from Teen X with 20 ultra-boosted rage beats. Geeked up on auto-tuned verses and looping electronic 808s, Carson enters “Go” mode, a renegade in designer repping his Opium gang. Three months later, on Halloween Day, Carson continues to “Turn Up” with his fans when he drops Xtended– sharing more on his “Fashion Habits,” comparing his elegant lifestyle in Maybachs to Jay-Z in Freestyle 3.
X-Man Tour with Destroy Lonely
Carson maintains his momentum for his worldwide X-Man Tour with Opium confidant, Destroy Lonely. Inviting to crowd surf and mosh, Carson brings X’s rage with him on tour: kicking off the tour in Brooklyn and ending in the Czech Republic- X-Man goes global.
Destroy Lonely’s No Stylist & ULTRA (Deluxe)
Destroy Lonely, Opium’s second signee, premieres his spacey melodic flows on No Stylist, “komin’ back” from </3^2 with more laidback flows and celestial instrumentals. Also known for his frequent collaborations with Givenchy and enthusiasm for archival Vetements, Lonely captivates an audience who shares extravagant taste in fashion – reflecting the same darker, subdued undertones in his music. The unique deluxe, ULTRA carefully intertwines 5-new tracks: from reminiscing on dark times over singing guitar instrumental on “Blitz” to going strong on the new theme song over lo-fi synth chords on “Never Ever,” NS+ (ULTRA) is a deluxe like no other.
No Stylist Tour
Alongside touring with Carson, Lonely announces his North American Tour with the newest Opium signees, Homixide Gang. Lonely allows Homixide to open up the mosh, setting the tone for the brash duo and Opium label, continuing the energy of thrashing energy that his cult following lives for.
Homixide Gang’s Homixide Lifestyle
Opium’s newest members, Homixide Beno and Homixide Meechie, drop Homixide Lifestyle– ramping up the Snotty Lifestyle with a polished metal-infused sound. Homixide Lifestyle brings raw energy to Opium, bringing the rebellious underground of Atlanta’s east side to life. From sliding behind tint with Lonely on “TF” to preparing for war in their rockstar jeans on “5 Ways,” Homixide extends Carti’s Whole Lotta Red experimental sound and perfects it. The gang introduces their thrashing stage presence on tour with Lonely, purging a raging energy that the Opium cult craves.
Playboi Carti & Ye at Rolling Loud NYC
Even though Carti is usually Off the Grid, he pops outside with Ye at Rolling Loud in New York. The two, hidden in their Balenciaga cloaks, perform the Donda collaboration “Off the Grid” to kick off Carti’s set- setting the stage for Whole Lotta Red’s live performance. Flashing strobes and the rapper’s chrome face masks blind the audience as Carti and Ye hang from the stage’s metal cage.
With nearly 23 credited features on Whole Lotta Red, with F1LTHY, Maaly Raw, and Wheezy, Carti continues to build his team of producers that work closely with the Opium label. KPBeatz takes the reins on production for Homixide Lifestyle, while Lil88 and Starboy can be seen on Carson’s X. Yet it’s F1LTHY and Fritz Owens who take the mainstage for Opium’s production- even sharing their excitement for Carti’s upcoming Music on Twitter.
NARCISSIST Clothing Label
In late October, the King Vamp dropped his first cut-and-sewn clothing collection titled “NARCISSIST.” Dark tribal mugshot graphics are screen printed on dark hoodies and tattoo-style opium text stretches across trucker hats, showing a love for tattoo-inspired art and streetwear. Raw, edgy, and crude; the clothing reflects upon themes of establishing your own unique identity and going against the grain.
Alongside a strong team of producers and artists, Carti has worked to build a team of like-minded creatives and signed his first creative consultant and stylist to Opium, Burberry.Erry. The creative embodies the Opium vision with a punk aesthetic that thrives in the blood and gore that brings the label’s music to life.
Can the new year kick off with a Carti Album? The cult waits patiently knowing that Carti is no longer “Off the Grid.” After posting the Betsey Johnson cover art and close-up mirror selfie on Instagram, his team of producers hit up twitter ensuring that it’s coming soon. F1LTHY promises that the Vamp and he have “changed sound again,” while Fritz Owens states that “the music world is about to change so drastically.”
The Opium label has transformed the industry by merging mainstream rap with punk-centered nostalgia, serving as inspiration for a younger generation of creatives. The collective will only continue to take over the music world: so while we wait for Carti to shift the culture once again, enjoy the projects that have established Opium as one of the greatest collectives of our generation.