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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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“Because I sound like me”

Rapper David “Tuki” Carter spent his share of time homeless, but he’s found new digs with his Taylor Gang labelmates.

Always a creative, Carter’s breaks came from networking as a well-known and respected tattoo artist. 

“I do a lot, I design — clothes, artwork, graphic design,” Carter said. “Painting, drawing, tattooing, sculpting — all of it.”

Photo credit Diwang Valdez

In fact, Carter’s past homelessness stemmed from a desire to see his tattoo parlor get off the ground.  He funneled his money into the shop, eventually opting to live there rather than diverting funds for other rent.

“That was the real deal.  Piss in a milk jug; throw that [expletive] in the garbage can. Go to a hotel, take a shower, [expletive], shave,” Carter said. “My hygiene was good — never smelled, stunk.  I wasn’t wearing the same clothes, same drawers or anything.  I would go to the Laundromat, wash my clothes.  Actually, I was still kind of like a bourgeois bum at the same time, because I was going to the wash ‘n’ fold and having them wash my [expletive] and fold it.”

It worked out for the now 34-year-old Atlantan.  Carter tattooed Rick Ross, who eventually introduced him to Wiz Khalifa — Carter and Wiz immediately bonded. For one thing, both had parents in the service. Carter said his nickname, “Tuki,” is Thai for “to be loved,” a moniker his father gave him after spending time stationed in Thailand.

Contact initiated, Carter was invited one winter to party with Wiz in Vegas on New Year’s.  When they got back to the hotel, Wiz asked Carter to man the playlist. He responded by putting on stuff he’d been recording on the side (Carter learned how to use Pro Tools from YouTube tutorials).  Four months later, Tuki Carter was officially a Taylor Gang artist. 

The product is a ton of collabs and Tuki’s mixtape, “Atlantafornication,” with an LP well on the way.  And all indicators point to Carter loving life with Taylor Gang. 

“We can do what the [expletive] we want,” Carter said. “My boss [Juicy J] is a pothead, but he’s a together pothead.  He's got his [expletive] way together. He doesn’t want any of us under him, he wants us beside him.”

Tuki’s a skinny guy — 190 and 6’3” — who likes his marijuana.  That’s a lot of his raps, but Carter works hard to sound different.  He doesn’t listen to much hip-hop, more like 4hero and Jazzanova, lots of instrumentals, instead.

“I got a chip on my shoulder with rapping. I have rhyme patterns that a lot of [expletives] can’t do and it’s not because of an ego, it’s because of [expletive] I worked to get.  I worked to not sound like nobody,” Carter said. “[People] are like, ‘You, uh, you’re like’ — yeah, keep digging.  Because I sound like me, [expletive].” 


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