This week a rapper by the name of Lil Kambo topped Spotify’s US Viral Top 50 chart with “Kid Carti.” Kambo’s feat is causing lots of head scratching, considering Kambo’s not an artist and “Kid Carti” isn’t his song. Per a story published by Genius on Monday (May 20), Kambo claims via e-mail that he’s a high school sophomore whose chart-topping song is actually an unreleased Playboi Carti snippet that he initially uploaded “for fun.”
The song, which has accumulated over 2 million views on Spotify since first being uploaded April 19, is a snippet of “Kid Cudi,” previously known as “Pissy Pamper,” a song recorded by Carti, Young Nudy and producer Pi’erre Bourne.
As of press time, Kambo’s “Kid Carti” record is hidden on Spotify, despite occupying the top spot on the US Viral Top 50 chart. According to Pitchfork, “Kid Carti” is credited to Lil Kambo, and was uploaded via Distrokid, a distribution company that Spotify has a minority stake in. Billboard reached out to reps at Distrokid for comment.
Kambo’s Spotify profile appears to be connected to two other profiles, Unocarti and Unocompac. Via email, Kambo told Billboard that he is the owner of Unocompac as well and took credit for a leaked Young Nudy song called “Bitches a Body (Deluxe).” The artist pages for Unocarti and Unocompac contain leaked music, and the latter has a press of shot of Carti and A$AP Rocky on Apple Music. Those profiles are still intact on both streaming services as of press time.
Though “Kid Carti” made little noise upon its release, during the last few weeks the song has picked up considerable steam. Not only has the song spawned countless memes on social media, including one of Playboi Carti as a baby reciting his verse — a nod to the baby voice Carti sometimes uses on his records — but the Atlanta-born artist performed the record at recent festivals like Coachella and Rolling Loud. Carti’s reps were unavailable for comment.
Carti’s “Kid Cudi” is the latest example of a growing trend: unauthorized leaks landing on profit-making streaming services. Last December, Beyoncè and SZA dealt with similar issues when fans uploaded unreleased music to Apple Music and Spotify. In March, Rihanna encountered the same issue when an unauthorized album titled Angel, credited to Fenty Fantasia, debuted at No. 67 on the Worldwide iTunes Albums Chart. Later, it was deleted from Apple Music. Billboard also reached out to reps for Apple Music and Spotify for comment.
With the overwhelming success of “Kid Carti,” which is garnering streams and profit for Kambo — not Carti and Bourne — streaming services will have to find a way to deal with a very 2019 problem.