By T Cooper
Rocco Kayiatos, the man behind the San Francisco�based hip-hop sensation Katastrophe, has described himself as �just a dude who makes music.� But oh, how words don�t suffice: Katastrophe�s manic beats and wicked lyrics are anything but commonplace, and his particular journey to manhood would humble even the bravest of superheroes. The 28-year-old rapper began the transition from female to male in 2002 and has been releasing his unique brand of �emo-hop� albums ever since. His debut, Let�s Fuck, Then Talk About My Problems, was an underground smash, endearing him to legions of rabid fans nationwide and beyond. The undeniably sexy MC with the Barry White-deep growl is set to release his third full-length album in May. Gunning to bring his music to larger and larger audiences, Katastrophe is taking hip-hop to the next level: post-gender.
Out: How does your new album, The Worst Amazing, differ from earlier work?
Katastrophe: My first CD was all about my transition. The second was about dealing with the media attention from the first album, and having people picking at my identity when I�d already picked it all apart myself. This new one is predominantly about getting sober.
Is your gender status the first thing people ask about?
Yeah. I feel exhausted from having to be an educator when I just want to be an artist. In some ways it�s my duty, but it gets tiring when all people want to focus on is how far you�ve gone with surgery and hormones and what you�re planning to do with your body next year.
What happened with VH1�s The (White) Rapper Show?
They invited me to be on the show, but when I asked whether it would be OK if I didn�t out myself as trans, they said it wasn�t an option. It would�ve exposed me to 20 million viewers, but I didn�t want to play myself like that. I thought I wanted big fame at any cost, but when it was gift wrapped and put in front of my face -- at a cost -- I realized I didn�t want it.
What�s up next?
I�ll be touring a lot with the new album. And I also just got a grant to do a multimedia show called �Homemade Superhero,� which is about drawing parallels between the trans experience and that of a superhero. I�m excited about it.