Enigmatic alternative rapper Josip On Deck has cut his teeth on the world wide web. He has become omnipresent through both his use of social media and a ‘do-it-yourself’ aesthetic and has amassed quite the following on websites like 4Chan and YouTube. With almost 100 singles available and hundreds of thousands of hits on his self-directed music videos, he‘s gotten more attention on his own than most up-and-coming indie rappers could ever conceivably buy (even with help from big money labels.) As the blogosphere begins to take notice, the young MC is leery of broad marketing labels and attempts to tie him in with some basic, geek-chic demographic.
Diginativ sat down with Josip to pick his brain about the state of alt rap and otaku culture and we got more than we bargained for. Communicating both directly and indirectly, privately and publicly, we got a very clear picture of the artist, the man himself, and his opinion of the media’s attempts to pigeonhole his music.
DN: Can I interview you (for Diginativ)? Just a few quick questions about how you became a rapper and an otaku. Do you make all of your beats, and do anime or j-rock music ever give you ideas for beats?
JOD: “I just do me.”
DN: That’s cool, what was the first anime you saw where you knew that genre was your shit? For me it was Gatchaman/ Battle of the Planets.
JOD: “Idk been into anime since a kid. Don’t really watch anime that much, I just flex manga.”
DN: Do you use Manga Fox?
JOD: “I don’t read manga. I flex it.”
JOD: “Japanese pictures. Japan period.”
DN: What do you think is tightest aspect of Japanese culture? I personally think they “get” things more. They understand things like punk rock and black culture better than American culture does sometimes.
JOD: “The colors.” (Josip sends a vivid watercolor picture typical of Feudal era Japan to demonstrate this.)
DN: Also street art, graffiti artists…
JOD: “I like color.”
DN: How many songs all together have you produced?
DN: You’ve got a ton of stuff on YouTube and it gets a lot of love.
JOD: “People like how I flex manga.”
Do you produce or work with other artists who do similar stuff?
JOD: “Nah. No one is similar to what I’m on. People like to rap about anime and stuff. I just flex manga..”
DN: It’s pretty original stuff. Goes hard.
JOD: “People always talk about anime rap, wtf is anime rap, lol.”
DN: Like the closing theme to Poke’mon? Yeah, your shit is way heavier than that label would suggest.
DN: Where do you want to take your music next? You pretty much blew up the internet.
DN: With the kind of online support you get shit could take off for you. You’re making stuff people actually want to hear.
DN: Last question, do you think repping otaku culture is something that will catch on in underground rap and hip hop? And if someone bites your style what would you say to them?
JOD: (sends link to you tube video of Josip On Deck – Look Around (OGmix))
What’s next for Josip On Deck is uncertain. He’s been releasing singles and creative freestyles regularly on his Youtube page and continues to generate attention and revenue for the sites that host his work. He is a cutting edge writer, character and artist. By transcending genres and labels and creating a cult of personality he has become an incredibly savvy social marketer. That is what it takes to be a successful musician in today’s digital domain.