Who doesn't love a good rap battle? While plenty of colorful characters have taken turns creating legacies for themselves in the age-old art of insulting one-another through rhyming, there's never been any battler quite like Carter Deems. He's the first MC we've seen step in the ring and spend his rounds attempting to make friends with his opponent and express his love for cats.
While Deems is hilarious, his talent and skills are no joke. Legitimately one of the sharpest writers in the medium today, his intricate wordplay and impeccable timing in his flow is what has made him such a success. His style and approach is a little left of center, though as esoteric as it may seem, Deems' fanbase is one of the fastest growing in the medium, which has seen T-Pain sing his praises.
With battle league No Coast North's The Invasion event this Friday (at 33rd Realm) and Saturday (at Club Underground), the huge two-day battle event will see Saturday's card feature Carter Deems' Minnesota debut as he takes on Minneapolis' own Breakneck the Mage. We spoke to Deems about his growing influx of fans, cats, and what he hopes to do while in Minneapolis.[jump]
How are you doing today?
Carter Deems: I'm having a good lunch. It's a Green Giant steamer bag of seasoned broccoli. Then I had two bean burritos. That was a pretty good lunch. The burritos only cost 39 cents because I'm a value member at the grocery store, it's high quality stuff here.
I spoke with you in August for LA Weekly, and you've had a pretty busy nine months since then,
(laughs) Yeah, I joined a new water aerobics class. Thanksgiving was in that time, it was pretty crazy, family coming in. I've done a couple of battles too.
One of the biggest things in that time was the tweet from T-Pain.
Yeah, that was weird. I didn't really know how to respond to that and I wrote probably nine different drafts of direct messages to T-Pain. I never sent any of them, I was too nervous and didn't know what to do. I tried ignoring it, because I didn't know how to respond and I've thanked him for the tweet and everything, I was just trying to figure out how to turn his tweet into an actual friendship. I've always wanted to be friends with T-Pain even before that — I thought that was my chance, but I don't think it happened.
You mentioned during that last interview that you didn't really feel like you were connecting with that much of a fan base because of how people walked out of your battle with Joe Cutter. But since then, it's hard to deny that people seem to finally be "getting you."
Yeah, a few more people are watching my videos, but a lot of people are adamantly against it. It's cool. I don't try to track each person down that dislikes my battle, I wasted so much time doing that. There's different battlers for everyone, and I guess that's what I'm trying to do, trying to put out a different style people might enjoy. Battle rap has become wordplay heavy, and I tried to put my own personal spin on it.
A lot of people have been saying I'm doing a parody of rap battles, but I don't see it as a parody. I'm just kind of taking the formula that's popular right now and putting my own version out there. I love parodies, I'm a huge "Weird" Al fan, even a Cletus T. Judd fan. But it's not something I'm trying to make fun of. It's something I'm trying to open the other side of. We're providing entertainment for people who want to spend part of their day watching two people rhyme at each other.
While this battle against Breakneck the Mage will be your battle in Minnesota, it won't be your first time battling a Minnesotan as, a few years ago, you battled The Vesh.
Yeah, he actually flew to Atlanta to battle me. So yeah, I'm coming to his home turf. Even though we aren't battling, hopefully we'll eat pizza or something. I always thought he's one of the funniest people in this thing, one of the most clever guys, really underrated. And I'm not just saying that so he'll eat pizza with me. But hopefully he'll see this, and he'll buy my pizza.
This is my first time battling Breakneck. I've always wanted to go to Minneapolis, to be honest. I wish I was going without the anxiety of having to do a rap battle int he back of my head, but it will be fun.
You're from Georgia originally, but you recently moved to California. Are the cats out there much different?
Yeah. There's a park here that has a contingent of street cats that I've been trying to break into and become friends with those guys and gals. I've been putting out pizza crusts for them, slowly earning their trust, but I haven't been fully accepted yet. I'm not close enough to touch them, but they've made eye contact with me a few times. It's progression, I understand it's a process.
For additional information and the complete schedule for No Coast North's The Invasion, go to NoCoastComo.com.
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