Diamanté Anthony Blackmon is the American Dream. Diamanté grew up in Guatemala and came to America at 10 years old speaking very little English in a lower-income neighborhood. Against all odds, Diamanté grew into Carnage, one of the most dominant music superstar artists in the world.
From pioneering the Trap genre, massive collabs and festival appearances in the dance world, to records with Lil Pump, Migos and Mac Miller, few artists are able to move between genres as seamlessly as Carnage.
After the recent announcement of his forthcoming “Reincarnation Tour,” international DJ and producer Carnage returns from his 2018 hiatus with his biggest single yet: “Letting People Go.”
It’s easy to feel the impact on every track the Las Vegas-based artist puts out. With a versatile mindset and deft approach, he siphons dance, hip hop, pop and trap into an intoxicating brew unlike anything out there. It’s dirty, defiant and diverse.
Carnage, also known as El Diablo or Papi Gordo, broke onto the scene in 2012 when he uploaded his first song onto YouTube, “Teke Teke.” In that same year, Carnage produced a song for American rapper G-Eazy called “Loaded” and later collaborated with the dubstep legend Borgore.
This newfound success led Carnage to release his debut single “Incredible” with over 25 million views on YouTube. Shortly following this was the release of “Michael Jordan” and Carnage’s infamous remix for Hardwell of “Spaceman.” He then signed with Ultra Records in 2015 and released a single with ILoveMakonnen called “I Like Tuh” which went on to earn a Gold Award.
Later in October 2015, Carnage released his debut album Papi Gordo, which immediately became the No. 1 Dance Album in the United States, with countless huge records and massive features with everyone from Rick Ross and Migos to KSHMR.
There’s nothing quite like seeing Carnage live. He’s rocked stages at Electric Daisy Carnival, Coachella, Tomorrowland, TomorrowWorld, Life in Color and many more. Carnage stole the show at Ultra Miami 2016 where he performed on the Mainstage and shocked the crowd time and time again as he brought out Hip Hop heavyweights, DJ Khaled, Rae Sremmurd, Wiz Khalifa and Rick Ross. “I’m a big black guy who loves to rage,” he chuckles. “I’m not what you expect. I feed off the crowd and go for it.” That’s why Carnage’s impact will be felt for a long time to come.
Read the full, exclusive interview with Carnage, below:
When did you sign the 7-figure record deal with Ultra Records and what does it mean to you?
“I have been working on my new album Papi Gordo II for well over a year now, it’s my proudest body of work to date and I can’t wait to get it out. In 2015 we released my album Papi Gordo I — it’s the album that features the Migos, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Lil Pump and more, and Ultra really crushed it on that one. It’s been five years since then, and it’s dope to see everything come full circle now in 2020. It is amazing to ink a deal like this during the COVID times and we are ready to get to work and give the people what they want — PAPI GORDO II COMING SUMMER 2020!”
Who are your favorite artists that you have collaborated with?
“Everyone has a different experience in the lab … it’s a vibe, you know? When you can share that energy with someone, especially an artist, the music you make is just different. Mac (Miller) was someone who came to the booth with a new mindset every single time. He was a lyricist and incredible artist so he definitely comes top of mind.”
Tell us about your documentary? What do you hope people will take away from it? Any famous friends in it?
“This documentary is so special to me, it’s something I have been working on for a half-decade, at least. From 2015 to 2017, I traveled with two videographers and together, they essentially captured my day-to-day life. The footage was raw because we had no filters. There were no barriers holding us back or making things awkward … we were best friends, you know? The documentary encompasses a personal side of me balanced with the artistic side of me, and showcases it in a way like never before.
This whole project was something I wanted to do for my fans. For the people who have been with me on this journey. I definitely show love to a variety of artists throughout the film from DJ Khaled, to Avicii to the Swedish House Mafia. I actually tease a full 90 seconds of my unreleased collaboration with Avicii, which took a lot of people by surprise. It will forever stay unreleased, but definitely a moment I will always cherish.”
What do you hope people will take away from the documentary?
“I want people to walk away after watching the documentary with a better perspective of who I am and what my life is like. Not everyone knows I am a first-generation American. My grandma came to the U.S. on a raft illegally crossing the Rio Grande to create a path for me in the states. I am super proud of my journey and hope it inspires Latinos and all first-generation immigrants to show them anything is possible. I’m just a kid from Nicaragua. All of this is crazy, man. This film breaks down life on the road and life as an artist managing the struggles of fame and success. In the eyes of many fame equals success, but that’s not how my story goes. Ultimately, it’s all for the fans and it’s amazing to see how much the documentary is resonating with them.”
How did you come up with the drive-in festival concept? How quickly did it sell out?
“As soon as I heard drive-in movies may be able to open for business during the COVID era, I knew I needed to produce the first-ever drive-in music festival to bring people together. I also imagined a lot of other artists would try to use their platform to get it done, and there was no question promoters like Live Nation and AEG were going to as well. So there was no time to waste so I got on the call with my managers, we brainstormed for hours about who would play, when would it be, where it could be, etc. and at the end of the day, we all came together to make something special happen.
The Orlando show sold out within 24 hours — that was awesome. At the time, it was the first drive-in festival within North America, too. Moments after the sell-out my managers call me and say, “Do you want to beat your own record of throwing North America’s first festival during COVID by producing another one, one week before in Arizona?” We had promoters in Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Minnesota and everywhere else calling trying to produce a Road Rave in their state. We ended up going with Arizona … which I am glad we did because our first Arizona show sold out within a day, so we went on sale with a second night of the festival, too.
This whole concept came to life because my team and I had a vision, and we knew nothing was going to stop us. It was a grind and we needed a lot of people on our side, I couldn’t be more thankful for those who are — especially Disco Donnie and Thomas at Relentless Beats. This is not a long term solution, it’s just an alternative to get us through COVID and hopefully bring some joy to people’s lives.”
What do you think it will be like to perform again in these new circumstances?
“The same but different — I’m still going to throw down an epic set but it will be interesting to read the crowd and see firsthand how people react to partying in their cars. It’s a new setting for everyone so both fans and artists need to come to the Road Rave with an open mind. It won’t be the same thing as a regular live show but it’s a new cool experience to help keep the culture alive. I feel like I am playing my first festival again in a way.”
Do you think drive-in festivals will continue post-pandemic and what do you hope people will take away from Road Rave?
“I’m not sure that this is something that will last past the COVID-19 era. We did this because we want to keep the culture of dance music thriving and give people an outlet to enjoy live music again. For me, I just want to give the world an outlet to have fun and forget about all this nonsense that’s been going on in 2020. It’s been a tough year for the world and these shows are an outlet for happiness and fun.”
Tell us about the charity you’re working with and why it was so important to you to give back to those affected in Nicaragua.
“As I said I am from Nicaragua and ANF is doing some amazing work down there to help the local citizens of the country. Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but for me, all I can see is a country that needs help and I want to be the guy that helps them. I’ve already built a school in Nicaragua but I am not done. I am passionate about giving back and making a difference and ANF shares that same vision.”
What’s next for you? Anything else we should know?
“Right now, I’m focused on producing Papi Gordo II and the new record deal. We have a bunch of awesome announcements to get us through like quarantine — some singles being dropped, season 2 of Grubbin w/ Carnage, more Road Raves, etc.
If fans want to watch the Road Raves in Arizona and Florida, I’ve partnered with OnlyFans to live stream the festivals on their app. It’s 100 percent free, all you need to do is create an account and follow me!”