Atlanta-based rapper and artist Tuki Carter performs Sunday at The Loft on his first national tour spanning 54 dates. Headlining the show is fellow Georgia rapper, Rittz. Carter’s lyrics landed him a deal working closely with A-list rapper Wiz Khalifa and his Taylor Gang Records imprint. Now Carter is putting the finishing touches on his upcoming “Tuki” LP – a follow up to his 2012 debut, “Atlantafornication.”
City Pulse spoke to Carter about his new album, his tour and his philosophies on art and music.
How did you hook up with Taylor Gang Records?
About two or three years ago Rick Ross introduced me to Wiz Khalifa. They came to my shop and I tattooed Wiz. We hit it off. We’ve been working together ever since. We did a project and Taylor Gang backed it.
What's it like working with Wiz Khalifa?
It was like working with your friend or your brother. He has so much to offer. His saying is to "make every line memorable." The recording style I have now is totally different than when I started because of the different tricks I’ve learned these past couple years, especially from Wiz.
How would you describe your music?
Me, basically, followed by every experience I’ve gone through, all my heartaches.
When did you start rapping?
I started rapping when I was around 13. I wasn’t good at it, but I got help from a couple underground rappers. They helped me develop a style that fit me.
What messages do you try to send with your lyrics?
It's all positive. I’m a totally positive person. Everybody has ups and downs, but I’m mostly on the up. And I want people to know that you can be on the up most of the time and not worry about the things that bring you down so much.
What’s the best and worst aspects of touring?
The best part of touring is seeing different things every day. New scenery is pretty, new culture is new, the local food; I try all of it. I’d say the downside of touring is not being able to be around certain friends that I like to be around in Georgia. But, I’m working so that’s that. In 2012, I did the "2050" tour with Wiz, Juicy J, Chevy Woods, Lola Monroe, and Berner. That was roughly a three-month tour. My favorite tour was the third one I did. It was a lot of fun. We never slept. We’d eat or sleep maybe two times a week.
What are you up to right now? Is a new album in the works?
I have a project coming out that’s called "Tuki." I decided to go with that so people can get to know my name and say it right. It should be coming out very soon, but we don’t know exactly when yet.
Will it be a departure from you last record?
It’s very different from my first project. I was more afraid on my first LP. I was going through a bunch of different things. It was nice for being my first solo LP. My new one of a lot more cohesive – it sounds like I’ve gotten my stuff together. My experiences have changed and you can tell that I’ve been places since my first solo LP.
You do visual art as well as music - are you keeping up with that?
I have a pretty extensive art background, although I didn’t actually finish art school. I thought that I was more advanced than most of the teachers. I was a little cocky, only because I worked so hard at it. Even now I work hard at it. I went and bought a sketchbook and I’m going to sketch a different subject every day of the tour.
Do you see commonalities between your music and your art?
Music and art are basically the same. You draw pictures from an idea you get inside your head, or inspiration from other pictures. It’s the same thing with music. Everyone has their own interpretation. When I listen to music I can visualize what’s going on with certain artists. Music and art are one in the same.
Rittz w/ Tuki Carter
& Raz Simone, M-Cellus
Sunday, June 29
@ The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
$25, $20 adv., 7 p.m., 18