Playboi Carti balances whimsy and confrontation on his exuberant new single “@ MEH,” where he turns a standoff with his haters into a playful exploration of the cycle of empty talk and inaction that social media fuels. “My young niggas, they came from hell, hold up, yeah/The chopper go ’round like a Ferris wheel,” he raps, somehow finding space for merriment in this dark couplet. The delightful if somewhat inessential song marks the return of one of rap’s strangest and most aloof characters.
“All of these niggas, they talk/All of my choppers, they talk,” he rapped on Die Lit’s “Pull Up,” and that’s basically the gist of this one. The people talking at him apparently aren’t ready to go to the lengths he will to shut them up. The song is repetitive, even by Carti standards, but there is a carelessness to the way he raps that’s alluring, and few are better at performing indifference. The babbling baby-talk flow gives credence to the idea that he isn’t taking his detractors seriously, and he chirps and trills like someone who doesn’t care what others think. As is often the case, jetsonmade does much of the heavy lifting for Playboi Carti; the producer constructs a funhouse entirely of colored Simon-like tiles, and the rapper circles its interior like a kid trying to make himself dizzy. It’s hard to imagine anything fazing him in this free and frolicking state.