Despot is a Queens rapper from Forest Hills, who has been signed to Definitive Jux for five years but has yet to put out a full-length album.
Photos by Valerie Ang
Despot “Look Alive”
Despot is a Queens rapper from Forest Hills, who has been signed to Definitive Jux for five years but has yet to put out a full-length album. We’ve been wondering what the fuck was up, but we needed some kind of angle for an interview so people don’t go, “Why now?” Here’s why now: Def Jux just put out their fourth roster compilation and Despot (aka Alec Reinstein) raps over a Ratatat-produced track called “Look Alive” and it rules.
Street Carnage: Definitive Jux Presents IV came out today. Did you sleep in fits before speed-walking to the record store only to beat the clerks to their own job?
Despot: I did, absolutely. I bought 3,000 today. Throughout the week I’m going to stagger 300, 500, and then 5000.
Obviously you guys want the compilation to make the Billboard Hot 100.
It will if I have any hand in it.
How long has it been since your debut album was supposed to come out?
Two thousand-four was when I officially signed the record deal. Before then, I think I had put out a single with Def Jux. I don’t remember if that was ’02, ’03, or ’04. It doesn’t matter. That’s when I started telling people my album was coming out.
Since then Def Jux has put out many albums — some by the same rappers.
Well the unfortunate truth is I’m lazy.
I’m looking at two different titles for upcoming albums. One is Hooray for Me and the other is Jerry, which is named after your father.
You see, everybody really likes my dad and Jerry is the name of the pretty much full-album I just finished with Ratatat last June. Evan from Ratatat was forcing me to make an album so he was like, “How about I make a beat on the bus everyday and you write a song to it.” This just goes back to me taking 100 years to make an album. With Hooray for Me, the title was scrapped — it’ll now be called We’re All Excited. Three or four songs I did with Blockhead will also be on it — stuff we did six years ago. El-P was like, “You have songs now. Let’s put them out for real.”
Why are you dragging? Isn’t this your dream to be a famous rapper?
You’re 26. You’d probably like to have an album out sometime in your lifetime.
Yeah, I would. I’ve had an album’s worth of stuff together three or four times now. But I ended up not liking it, even though there’s pressure to put it out. I have finally reached the point where an album just needs to happen as soon as possible. I’m tired of talking when the album will come out because I don’t know when it will come out.
This doesn’t bode well.
No, it doesn’t. … I’m sorry. I’m trying to figure out of that girl you said was pretty is this lesbian I know.
It’s impossible for a rapper to be gay. Is this correct?
Right? Imagine that. I would be done being a rapper, that’s for sure.
Who are some gay-ass rappers?
There’s a rapper I know who’s gay and he’s about to blow up. The most famous gay rapper was Caushun, but he ended up getting outed, like it was a publicity stunt. There’s another guy Twisted G who had a song called “Gangster Fag” that was really fucking good. I was really upset that people don’t know this guy. Blockhead actually copied that CD and gave it to me years ago. Same shit — he came out years later and said he wasn’t actually gay. He just thought it would be funny.
What did his fan-base think?
I’m sure if Gangster Fag dude actually had a fan-base of die hard gay thugs who were like, “This is the voice of our struggle!” and he was like, “Just kidding! I think being gay is funny!”, they would be bummed. But it was funny. You know about homo thugs and stuff, right?
I’m better acquainted with hip-hop lesbians.
Well, if you go to the West Village on any given night, there are lots of homo thugs. They’ll beat the shit out of you if you hate gays. They’ve merged the macho hip-hop thing with gayness.
Like that guy in IRAK.
Oh, Earsnot. He’s a homo thug, for sure. He’s a good dude. Nobody really gives him a problem for being gay because it’s very well known that he will beat the shit out of you.
You’re a rapper, but you don’t wear jewelry.
I’m more into getting a nice couch or a nice chair — stuff like that.