Words: Joseph Ryan-Hicks; Images: supplied
At just 25, Carter The Bandit is carving out his own lane on the UK rap scene.
Fresh off the back of his electric Pride at Home performance, the South London rapper Carter the Bandi spoke to Attitude about growing up in Peckham, homophobia in rap, and the female artists who inspire him to feel like ‘that b*tch’.
When did you start making music?
I started out back in 2019. I was 22, just chilling with friends, and started freestyling over a beat. From that day I haven’t stopped. I write every day and have been pushing my pen ever since.
Tell us a bit about your upbringing. Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Peckham, South East London. I came out to my Mum when I was 16. Growing up being gay wasn’t always easy, but I never had it too hard. I gradually gained the confidence to be unapologetically myself when I began exploring the LGBTQ community and meeting new faces. That was a really inspiring time in my life.
Which artists out there inspire you as a musician and an artist?
I love quite a few female artists. Megan Thee Stallion, Ms. Banks, Nicki Minaj. These women have been very influential to me because they put in the work and their passion is inspiring. They make me channel my inner boss. Whenever they drop a new banger or visual, they put me on a whole different vibe.
Who would be your dream collab? Anyone we can put a shout-out for?
Saucy Santana or Meg Thee Stallion - these two would be the dream. They’re both dominating the rap scene and make music that makes you feel like ‘that b*tch’. I hope that one day I can work alongside them.
Pop has been accepting of LGBTQ artists and themes for a lot longer than rap/hip-hop. Why do you think it is so far behind?
I feel like a lot of the straight men in the industry feel like we [queer artists] are just going to talk about sex and that’s off-putting to them. I, and many of my peers, are here to change that narrative. There is so much more to the gay experience. We are human and have emotions. I feel like we are starting to be heard, slowly.
Which other LGBTQ rappers are on your radar?
Lil Nas X, Kidd Ken, Delliboe. They are all killing it. It hasn’t always been an easy ride for them, it has taken hard work for them to be heard, but that’s why they inspire me. Their names hold weight in the US and UK music scenes.
What message do you hope people will take from your music?
I want people to feel liberated when they hear my music. Be yourself, live your life, and get the bag. A lot of people, especially in the Black LGBTQ community, live in fear of being themselves or being judged. My music is a representation of me - proof that you can have be just who you are.
For those new to the Carter The Bandit ‘experience’, which tracks best encapsulate what you’re about?
If you really want to get to know me, the artist, check out ‘On Your Block’ or ‘Bandit SZN’.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to be a household name, creating my own lane. I want to bring further awareness to homophobia in music and hopefully inspire a younger generation to live in their truth, too.