Tuki Carter is a man of many skills who specializes in music and tattoos with a touch of toking. The California-born rapper was highly influenced by Atlanta and brought both cultures together on his 2012 Atlantafornication album. After tattooing Rick Ross, he was introduced to Wiz Khalifa and found his family with Taylor Gang, eventually dropping TUKI Tape the following year. Recently, Carter dropped the Tuki Toker mixtape with features from Wiz Khalifa, Gangsta Boo, JR Donato, and JerZZ.
I had a chance to talk with Tuki Carter about his latest music videos, favorite strains, and the producers on the new tape.
You have this dope new mixtape out. What are some of your favorite tracks?
My favorites from the Tuki Toker mixtape are probably “Sleep at Night,” “Texting and Driving,” “Like Me” (that just came out), I got this song “Momento” with me and my homeboy JerZZ…
Oddly, I don’t listen to my music enough. This tape right here started off with me just working on my album. They were like, “We need something to drop before the album.” So they put me in the studio for, like, three days, and I made this tape. I just locked in and was going at it. A friend of mine was like, “Yo, you just need to do this Tuki Toker thing,” and now it’s turning into me being Tuki Toker and not just Tuki Carter. It’s like opening a whole can of shit.
But faves on there? I just like the tape because it rides. It’s a full set up for my album that’s coming out in the first quarter, called Flowers and Planes. I made this tape, and I didn’t think everyone was going to take to it like they’re starting to. I stay in Atlanta, and I’ve been putting out music and stuff for a while, and Atlanta was like, “Yeah, it’s cool,” but now this Tuki Toker tape got the whole city lit.
You have a good variety of producers on the tape. Any you want to shout out?
Actually, I want to give a shout out to all the producers on there.
Montage, Rah Groove (I work with him regularly), Wavy Walace that did “Texting and Driving.” We got Ricky P, who’s the in-house Taylor Gang producer — he’s extra dope. We have this guy Rooq, who’s from Germany. He sent me a couple beats, and I picked one that’s called “Repeat” on the tape. Montage did “Like Me” and “Out The Bag” with my homeboy Big Cheeko. Especially my man Ducko Mcfli — he’s out of Atlanta.
These are people that I know. We have a personal relationship, and now we have this music-producing relationship.
I love the artwork. How was that made?
Yeah, you know what? I just randomly did it. I was grinding up some weed at my tattoo shop to smoke, and I got a card and started shaping the airplane and my name, and then I was like, “Aw shit, this is tight.” So I gave it to my man that designs a lot of my stuff, and he put the tape cover together. We’re going to have merch coming soon with that same design.
Since this tape is for the smokers, what kinda strands you like?
OG, and then Berner that comes through with major flavors — Cookies, Gelato, Lemon Tree. He gave me this one weed on tour called Fisherman. Apparently, you can’t really buy it. The dude that grows it gives ounces to the people that he fucks with, and he gave Berner one. I smoked some of that shit — it was crazy.
You dropped a few new videos for the tape, like “Texting and Driving” and “Like Me.” What was it like filming those?
Those videos are shot by one of my best friends. His name’s Chilly-O, and we just get together to film those videos on the fly. “Texting and Driving” was a loft party, so we invited the Atlanta scene to that. For the “Like Me” video we just used some of the girls from the scene. Everybody in that video are homies, so it’s not just a cast of video girls. It’s organic.
A lot of people don’t know that you’re also a tattoo artist. How did you get into that?
Yeah, shout out to my tattoo shop, City of Ink. I tattoo, I paint, I draw, I sculpt, I build furniture. Tattooing was something that I learned to support myself. It’s really my main source of income. If we’re on tour with Wiz, I’ll set up and tattoo the fans in the green room. They come get the VIP package and get a tattoo and watch the concert.
What types of things do you paint or draw?
Aw man, everything. There’s really no subject I don’t have a thing that I like to paint. I just like to paint. I like to draw and feel stuff — that’s just another way to stimulate the creativity. If I say anything in my music related to trapping, I’m trapping art. If art’s music, and music is art, and art is everything, I just want to be a part of everything that art is.
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