The term “in the box” has taken on more meaning over the past year, especially for musicians forced to do almost everything from only (and often for only) their computers. But that doesn’t mean artists like Carti Ferrari aren’t thinking outside of it.
On his new single “The Farthest,” Ferrari illustrates this concept of thoughts fleeing far from preconceived borders. The borders in this case are where the heart is – home, which in this narrative, could be a shared space with a soon-to-be ex-lover.
“Promise you I’ll leave a whole where my heart is – when I’m at home I feel the farthest from you,” he laments over a track that sounds like the slow motion, water-drunk bells of a Rostam re-mix. His classic imagery of young, romantic uncertainty is enforced by sounds that seem to spill onto the carpet, as the drinks in his lyrics do, but the tune is framed in the crisp, clean lines of trap style drum machine percussion.
The production is tight, weaving 808 soul clap snares with the above-mentioned swirl of atmospheric backing tracks. It’s clean and austere but the textures behind the scenes keep it from sinking into monotony.
Vocally, Ferrari finds that space particular to the 2020s somewhere between rap and modern RnB by adding melodyne effects and using minimalist melodies, blurring the line between the genres. He flexes a talent for wordplay too, compressing all the feelings of a sad, romantic saga into a tight two and a half minutes of sharp rhymes.
Limitations often make art unique. They also show who’s got the fire to produce and who doesn’t. The past year has certainly given the global art community a slew of limitations, but for those with “in the box” talent like Carti Ferrari, this decade may see their careers going the farthest.