We’re All Excited: Despot’s Long-Awaited “House of Bricks”

After a decade-long wait, the New York legend preps his debut.
By    July 23, 2015

despot

Thomas Johnson is a classic man.

Since 2001, Despot has added to his sparse catalogue at a pace that would make Jay Electronica honk his horn. Unless you had the pleasure of seeing him on tour opening for Run The Jewels’ “Into The Wild” tour, scoured Youtube archives for studio session videos, or were somehow able to procure a copy of Def Jam Presents: Time Travel Vol.1, odds are you are unaware that he’s the best rapper without an album.

If you accomplished the latter, you’ve no doubt played “Crap Artists” until your eardrums caved and can attest to his greatness. If you’ve experienced the former two, you’ve doubtlessly heard “House of Bricks” in some form. It is to be the lead single from his debut, We’re All Excited. Last week it was officially released. Yesterday, the video.

Prog-rock duo Ratatat’s Evan Rast handles the production, which blurs the lines between the horn-laden bounce of their 2006 album Classics and gridlocked traffic in front of a choir in Queens. It leads to a grittier conclusion of what originally debuted on KEXP in 2012. Their collaboration began when the two met, and as Despot puts it “…we have hypothetically been working on this album [We’re All Excited] for close to ten years.”

For his part, Despot doesn’t need to stand on a chair to take you down a peg. He’s got a voice fitting for a sledgehammer with a bad attitude and the nerve to get in your face about it. A childhood spent around local Queens gang The Lo-Lifes will make you rough. Adulthood at El-P’s side will make you riotous.

“Go so hard in the paint, I fuck it, bust a nut in the bucket/and run amok on you fuckwits, and piss and cuss up in public/My come-up ain’t one to fuck with, not for nothing you nothing.” An allegory to a children’s fable never sounded this grim.The only thing harder is your dad practicing his morning tai chi on a concrete basketball court in the projects. Maybe catching a falcon on your arm.

Fourteen years is a long time in the game without a debut album. Eleven years is sizable gap between releasing singles. 33 is pretty old for your first music video. But when this is the by product of a decade and a half of perfectionism, the results outweigh the hiatus. We’re All Excited may not come out for years, but this’ll knock until then. So go ahead, let your mom roll another joint.

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