Q&A: Tuki Carter Talks Taylor Gang, “Flowers & Planes” & Tattooing

Tuki Carter
via Karen Capalaran / BallerStatus

If you’re unfamiliar with Tuki Carter, he’s been around for quite some time. He’s a West Coast artist with some Atlanta flavor. Highly known for his artistic tattoo styles, Tuki is also a rapper signed to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label and has appeared alongside the rap star on numerous tracks. His music that gives off a Southern vibe, but is easy to play on a West Coast cruise.

With his Flowers and Planes album out now, we recently got a chance to speak with Tuki, where he tell us about everything from his new album and being sign to Taylor Gang, to his tattooing career and artistic side in art and design.

You’ve been with Taylor Gang since about 2012. Can you tell us how your experience has been like there and how it’s helped with your career?

My experience with Taylor Gang since 2012 has been learning how to make a brand and make that brand an actual movement. Instead of having to make a brand and continuously rebranding the brand. I learned how to just do your own brand and take it up a notch every time.

Coming up under Wiz Khalifa, what have you taken from him to help personalize your style?

The best thing I’ve taken from Wiz to apply to my style is the hustle. He has hella hustle and I’ve watched how far it took him.

Tuki Carter
via Karen Capalaran / BallerStatus

You’re also a tattoo artist, how did you get into tattooing?

I’ve been doing tattoos since I was young. The music came first, but I used tattooing to connect me to the music because I was tattooing a lot of artists who has influence on people and that having an influence on my clientele being built.

Does your tattoo art ever influence your music or your music ever influence your tattoos?

My influence in my arts influence each other. In order for me to tattoo, I have to listen to music — can’t tattoo with it being all quiet. It’s also gotta be some pump stuff, something that’ll keep me in the mood to keep going. So yeah, a lot of my music is about art, it’s about me creating art and putting it out.

Being both a tattoo artist and a recording artist, how do you find a way to balance both? Do you ever put one in the back burner, as you are working on the other?

I always have to do that. With tattoo and music, of course I’m going to have to put one in the back burner. I simultaneously do both of them, but when I’m doing one, I’m not doing the other. I can’t tattoo while I’m recording, but I have tattooed on another artist while they were recording. Personally, just gotta do them one at a time, best way to work it out.

You posted a photo on Instagram of N.W.A. with the caption, “Childhood heroes”. Were they an influence towards your music?

They were an influence towards everything! I wasn’t really even a Raiders fan, but I was rocking their clothes because N.W.A. was wearing it. Didn’t have to do with me being a fan of the team. Their music was breaking through barriers and I’m really one of the only artists out here that’s talking about art and the hustle like they talked about dope and their hustle.

Your album, Flowers and Planes, has a track titled “Hollywood “featuring Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa. Can you talk about that song and putting both Wiz and Juicy on it?

It was just all love. You make music at a certain time that should be used at a certain time and I felt us all coming together would be great and it was.

Tuki Carter
via Karen Capalaran / BallerStatus

What vibes were you giving off with Flowers and Planes?

The vibes of the album were just like me putting together everything that’s flying in my head. So, I touch on a subject or a movement and it’s not real political or super partied out, but we do have fun on there. It’s just a mixture of what a regular person goes through. We don’t go through the same emotions all day. We go out and do stuff that brings different emotions to us and my album can be a person’s whole day of emotions. Wake up and feel a certain way, and then come night time, it’s time to turn up.

Where does the title Flowers and Planes come from?

It’s basically weed. Flowers are buds and planes are the papers we use. Flowers and planes are also an art movement that I push. With the album, comes a digital art book that’s in a high-def printable version. Five pieces of art I’ve done and I was really happy I was able to put both my works together.

Tuki’s Flowers and Planes album is available now on iTunes.