LAKUTIS IN THE HOUSE:
RAPPER ALEKSEY WEINTRAUB
Photos by Jenna Ledger
Lakutis is rapper Aleksey Weintraub, a New York City-born, first-generation immigrant of Russian descent. If you recognize him, it's because he's been a noticeable part of Das Racist's crew. He's now signed to Greedhead with a new record, Three Seashells, coming out on January 16th (make sure to check out his underrated EP I’m In The Forest). We get the sense that it's only a matter of time before the rapper blows up. We first met up with Lakutis – Lex, as his friends call him – at one of his shows at Santos Party House, where he talked about his background, new album, and love of Muay Thai, the intense martial arts/fighting sport of Thailand. Later, fresh off a tour with Antwon and Le1f, IRL's Monica Rojas had him over for a chat, and essentially, a slumber party ensued. They ordered Chinese, baked cookies, and turned her bathroom into a hair salon, discussing Clueless, high school...and anime porn. – Ryma Chikhoune
[Editor's Note: Three Seashells has been pushed back to an unreleased date.]
Juliann Mccandless: Tell us about your background. Your mom’s Russian right?
Yeah, I’m a first gen. Both my parents are Russian. I don’t know my pops, but my mom’s Russian, and I grew up with my grandma. I learned Russian before I learned English. I learned English when I was five.
Do you think your upbringing has an effect on your music?
I wouldn’t say the Russian shit necessarily…more the first generation immigrant shit had an effect. I didn’t have a dad or whatever. I grew up with a lot of kids, like my man DVS. We just all kind of raised each other, fatherless people. All my friends don’t have dads and are first generation immigrants who understand that experience.
Cool. You’ll soon have a new record out – Three Seashells. What are your favorite tracks?
Oh, that’s a good question. Fuck uh, I really like this shit I got called “Chinese Slippers,” “Body Scream” that’s produced by Hot Sugar…it sounds really good. Also, “What The Fuck”...you’re going to like it…I have a feeling the kids are going to like it.
For those who haven’t been to a Lakutis show, what can they expect?
I don’t know. We kinda get busy. You know what I’m sayin’?
It’s not your typical rap show…
I don’t know what’s typical anymore. I feel like everybody’s doing something different now, and it’s cool, because it’s not one cookie cutter thing. It’s more open, and I just do my little dance. I ain’t shit, but I do my thing.
It seems like you’re not strictly hip-hop.
Yeah, maybe. I grew with hardcore, metal music and shit like that. It was always about the pop music and the rap shit though. I feel like growin’ up in New York, you don’t get that separation necessarily. It’s all about everything, and music hasn’t started reflecting that until now. New York is prepped for that shit.
That’s definitely an appeal of yours. You don’t give people what they’re expecting.
YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN’? YOU KNOW WHAT IM SAYIN’?
Yeah, I try to be funny. People say I’m funny.
OK. So, Muay Thai...tell us about that.
I trained Muay Thai for a while, a couple years ago, when I was real bored in New York and didn’t know what to do with myself, when I wasn’t feelin’ school and shit.
You don’t do it anymore?
No, it’s too expensive in the city. I sold all my shit. You need to do it with a trainer, and you need to get punched all the time. I did that for three months. It was awesome…man I cried when I left that shit. I still miss it so bad. I want to go back, but now I’m too busy with this shit, I guess.
What did you like about it?
It’s just cool man. It’s a different lifestyle. People [in Thailand] are raised [fighting] the way kids here are raised playing basketball. It’s dope. That’s how they’re paid. People retire by the time they’re 18.
How long were you in Thailand?
I was there for three months. It was cool.
Did you fight?
I didn’t have a fight. You know what kept happening? I wasn’t careful about what I was eating, so I kept getting sick. I would get some ill shit, and I couldn’t train. But now that I've been there, I feel like you need that time. You need three months just to get your body to the point where you’re ready for that fight. Next time I do it, I want to have a fight for real, start training, and be there for a year...
Monica Rojas: Where do you gather inspiration?
I don't know. Just doing regular shit I guess, just hanging out in New York. I feel like the more mundane the circumstance is, the more interesting your shit is. Like, if you're somewhere amazing or beautiful or fancy, that shit’s not inspiring the way everyday shit is.
So, your first single is "Body Scream"...
It’s like my club hit. It’s my clubby Usher song.
Like, “Love In This Club,” 2008 Usher?
Yeah, like a 2008 Usher song. It’s like a “Love In This Club,” but I sing the hook, and then I rap the verses. I don't think I could ever be like a Future type dude and sing my verses. But I am making an R&B project with Hot Sugar.
That would be so cool.
Yeah, people seem to like that idea.
So, what is your favorite part about living in Harlem?
It’s mad pretty up there. I live in Harlem/Washington Heights. There’s some big ass graveyards over there, so they can't develop them. In the summer, Riverside Park is pippin’, and all the Dominicans are out barbecuing and jet skiing and shit. It’s cool. It’s neighborhood-y, but you're still in Manhattan.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
I don't know…well, last year I went to Hong Kong, and it was so ill. I was raised by anime and shit, and it felt like being in an anime. It was kind of amazing. I want to go back. I would love to live there for a year.
What’s your favorite anime?
Furi Kuri is a good one. Oh, Ebichu, the housekeeping hamster! I think that might be my favorite. It’s a cartoon about a hamster, but its very sexual.
Weird. Are you into anime porn?
Not really. I remember my friends and I used to go to Chinatown in middle school, Elizabeth Street mall; they used to sell bootleg VHS tapes of anime. All of my friends were obsessed with stupid Hentai and shit, so we would all get together and watched it.
Got to love Elizabeth Street mall.
There’s this new crazy porn that’s of women with giant, over-sized dicks, fake, but really realistic, big dicks, and they cum and shit. It’s the weirdest sub-genre.
Tell me about your high school experience at Bronx Science Center.
I went there with DVS, the guy I rap with, but I dropped out. I would never go to class. I just smoked weed and played handball pretty much all day. I got pretty good at handball.
Handball’s the best. OK, so I bought this huge roll of cookie dough. Are you down to bake?
Oh yeah, I could eat that right about now. That reminds me of that shit in Clueless, remember?
When she drops the whole roll onto the cookie sheet.
And then it burns. That movie’s good.
You’re the first guy I've ever heard say that they liked Clueless. It’s so good, right?
Yeah, a great rom-com.
I’m all about a good rom-com. Clueless is probably the best one...I don't know why anyone cooks this shit. Cookie dough is so good raw.