Before Destroy Lonely met Playboi Carti, he knew the Platinum-selling artist would sign him to his new label, Opium. Whether it was the power of manifestation, incessant hustle–or a mixture of both, a few months later, Destroy Lonely got a call to meet. The 21-year-old rapper had just released “Oh Yeah,” a luxurious anthem about Corvettes, YSL, and stacks of money, which immediately resonated with his generation. And with the track, he not only introduced Playboi Carti but a whole legion of streamers to the world of Destroy Lonely.
“Before any of this shit ever happened, I knew I was going to sign with him.” Destroy shares with VMAN. “It was always that from the jump, I never questioned it.”
Today, the Atlanta-born rapper continues on his musical journey, releasing a visual for “VTMNTCOAT,” an electric track pulled from his debut album, No Stylist. Featuring elaborate dinner parties and midnight car rides, the track and accompanying video provide “another beautiful glimpse into my life.” Weaving together video-game synths and elastic vocals, Destroy crafts the ultimate soundtrack for a high-wire lifestyle.
“I make sure I take my time with [my songs], but in terms of writing and figuring out what I’m saying, I just go straight from the heart,” he elaborates.
This winter, Destroy takes his latest project on the road, embarking on a 21-city tour with his Opium labelmates, Homixide Gang and DJ Blak Boy. The “No Stylist” tour kicks off on November 22nd in Orlando and will make stops in major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, before wrapping in his hometown of Atlanta.
With his colorful melodies and explosive braggadocio, Destroy Lonely has slowly made a name for himself. And as he pushes at his own sound, he also pushes at rap’s boundaries–probing what the genre can and will sound like. For Destroy, the sky’s definitely the limit. Before wrapping up our conversation, he shares one final sentiment–one for those who aren’t caught up to quickly tune in: “It’s not stopping here, this is really about to turn all the way the fuck up.”
For more on the burgeoning young rapper, read below.
VMAN: Congrats on your new track, “VTMNTCOAT.” Where did you begin with this song?
DESTROY LONELY: I was in a studio session working on the album, and I just flowed up the first couple of bars. And after I heard it, I was like, “I could do better.” And I just did it like that. But it was really just it was small talk. I didn’t think too hard about it at the time.
VMAN: It was a quick process, right?
DL: Yeah, definitely. I make a lot of songs like that. I like to put out whatever I’m thinking about at the time. But, I definitely put a lot of thought into it. I make sure I take my time with [my songs], but in terms of writing and figuring out what I’m saying, I just go straight from the heart.
VMAN: And can you elaborate on the video, what was the idea behind it?
DL: The video is fire. It’s a continuation of my “NOSTYLIST” video, it has the same themes and aesthetic. But it’s just another beautiful glimpse into my life. This video is a little bit more cinematic. The inspiration for many of my videos and movies stems from how I imagine what I look like, or what I want people to perceive me as. And then I throw these ideas out to my friends and videographer to see if we can work out a storyline from that.
VMAN: It sounds like a very collaborative process. Do you like it when there are a lot of people involved?
DL: Not lots of people, but I like having my close, close friends, who I trust their taste and opinions. They see me every day, so I know they’re on the same thing that I’m on.
VMAN: I read that you once said, “I feel like when I’m talking to people in conversation, they won’t completely understand me. When I make music, I’m able to say exactly what I want to say.” Can you elaborate on this sentiment?
DL: When I’m talking in conversations, it feels like my mind is stumbling over itself because I’m thinking about a whole bunch of shit at one time. But when I’m making a song, it just flows out. So when I’m in that mode of recording with my headphones on, I got all my thoughts packed up in my brain, and it just spills out. You feel me?
VMAN: Totally, do you feel like there are fewer boundaries in music than in conversation?
DL: One million percent. I definitely feel like this about music. Music is almost like an element, everybody needs music. Through music, you can transfer so much shit, people can pick up on swag, feelings, philosophies, and more. So with music, you can just be real, whereas, in real life, I feel like you’re trying to impress somebody or you don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings or whatever else.
VMAN: Yeah, that makes sense. Can you also take it back and tell us what’s your earliest memory of music and performing?
DL: Yeah, definitely. Before, I was making music, and I don’t remember the exact song, but it was by Lil Wayne, and I was like, “This is the coolest shit I’ve ever heard.” And so then I started listening to a bunch of music, and I started making beats for a little bit before I started rapping, but it was like some of the worst beats ever [laughs]. I would like to make mixes to slow down tracks and just experiment with music that I liked. But listening to it really made me fall in love with it and inspired me that I could do this shit.
VMAN: Do you think growing up in Atlanta influenced your sound?
DL: I feel like growing up in Atlanta influenced my sound in the heaviest way because it’s such a diverse place. So with that being said, you see so many people in different places in their life–people getting money, people not getting money. It’s just so much different shit that runs past your eyes, and I think this influenced me. Atlanta is the greatest city to grow up in if you ask me.
VMAN: I also know that you’re Playboi Carti’s latest signee, that’s so exciting. When did he first hear your music? How did you guys first connect?
DL: I had a video of “Oh Yeah” on my Instagram and one of Carti’s closest friends DMed me and was like, “This song’s crazy.” And I just told them that I appreciated it and had fucked with what they had going on. Then, two days later, he said, “Carti fucks with you.” And then I think the day after that or that night, I pulled up his studio.
VMAN: How did you end up getting signed?
DL: The first day I ever spoke to Carti, in the studio, he said he was going to sign me. But, like, in my head, before any of this shit ever happened, I knew I was going to sign with him. It was always that from the jump, I never questioned it.
VMAN: Also, I understand you’re gearing up for your No Stylist tour. How are you gearing up for that?
DL: I’m very excited. Right now, I’m in New York, working on my next, next project, If Looks Could Kill. But yeah, I’m just ready to go. I just got off tour with Ken, which was so fun. Before that, I was on tour with Carti, so I’ve been on like two tours now, but I’m just ready to do my own and turn the fuck up. I can’t wait to see all my fans.
VMAN: What can people expect from a show of yours?
DL: You should expect not just a regular pull-up, turn-up show, but a real show. It’s something that people will probably never forget.
VMAN: That’s amazing. Alright, I think that’s it for me unless you have anything else you like to add. Anything else you want to share with fans?
DL: Shit. I really want to thank all my fans. From when I started to now is just crazy. I’m just ready to show everybody what I’m really about to do in this shit. It’s not stopping here, this is really about to turn all the way the fuck up.