Speculation about the album was sparked on Monday (June 12) when Carti made a surprise return to social media and posted a rare photo on his Instagram Stories of YoungBoy wearing an upside-down cross chain.
Celebrity jeweler Wafi amin Lalani later shed more light on the chain, claiming it was a gift from Carti to YoungBoy ahead of their “new collab album.”
In a video posted to his company Jewelry Unlimited’s Instagram page, Wafi also offered a close-up of the chain, which boasts dozens of glistening diamonds.
“004KT,” he wrote in the caption, possibly referencing the title of the collaborative project. “@playboicarti GIFTS YOUNGBOY A CHAIN AHEAD OF THEIR NEW COLLAB ALBUM.”
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Playboi Carti and NBA YoungBoy have yet to release music together, but they each boast one of the most distinct styles and fervent fanbases in modern Hip Hop.
Since then, he’s worked with the likes of A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd and Trippie Redd, earned his first Grammy nomination and headlined tours and festivals, while also building his budding Opium label with releases from Destroy Lonely and Ken Carson.
Having remained largely out of the public eye in the last two and half years, Carti’s as-yet-untitled next solo album is one of the most sought-after releases on the rap calendar.
YoungBoy, meanwhile, has continued to cement himself as one of the most popular and prolific young rap stars in recent years, releasing music at a rate that rivals Lil Wayne’s mid-2000s run despite dealing with legal battles and beefing with some of his peers (namely Lil Durk).
Tension between the Atlanta and Baton Rouge natives threatened to ignite last year when YoungBoy was accused of biting Carti on his joint project with DaBaby, Better Than You.
The opening song “Hit” featured a woozy, video game-inspired beat that sounded similar to the production on A Whole Lotta Red while YB adopted a frantic, high-pitched flow that drew comparisons to King Vamp. His voice morphed even closer into Carti’s baby-ish babble on “Syracuse.”
Shortly before the project’s release, the Never Broke Again boss had begun wearing goth-esque makeup — a trademark of Playboi Carti’s rock star aesthetic — in various music videos, saying it made him feel “comfortable.”
“I like painting my face, putting makeup on,” he said on Clubhouse in late 2021. “I like to look in the mirror and see everything black. Like my eyes and shit. That’s one hundred percent real! That’s me being myself.
“I feel comfortable that way. That’s some shit from MAC [Cosmetics] I made my engineer go buy. It give me like the goth feeling, like rockstars.”