Searching for Carter Deems
I have decided to do a limited series where I explore battle rappers that fascinate me and I’ll start with Carter Deems.
Carter Deems existing is one of those things that I can point to as proof that the density of events in the modern world is so extreme that there is literally something for everyone: I’m a very specific kind of nerd and that an MC who so fully fits the criterion of what it would take to entertain me in the realm of battle rap is incredible to me. He is intelligent, self-deprecating, relatively clean, hipstery with an insane vocab and mastery of language and humor. He’s easily my favorite big name professional battle rapper.
This battle with head I.C.E. is as good a place as any to start with what I think makes him special: I.C.E. is good and goes on for some time about Deems being a skinny gay white boy or whatever but Deems jokes the whole time, even going so far as to put on a helmet mid-battle mocking his fear of physical confrontation, landing casual blow after self-deprecating blow about i.c.e.’s age.
“You have a disrespectful attitude toward women- that’s misogyny.
Your legs have arthritis, can I massage ya knees?”
Deems plays with deference in a way that admittedly white privilege allows for: the idea of such a character actually being in a position of serving someone like ice is so outlandish that the mere suggestion of such an eventuality is humorous. Deference, admitting that he’s not going to physically overpower his opponents while still ultimately going at a comedic vulnerability - this is the kind of fun strategy you see deployed by an MC like Carter Deems, a dude who looks like he should have been on Trailer Park Boys or a Scooby Doo movie.
Though I've always enjoyed his work, his origins and full story have always been a mystery to me so I intend to research him more and continue branching out into the battle-rap paradigm from there and reporting my findings to y'all.
More on him and other battle rap, this month. Hope y'all enjoy.
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers