On the Otter Hand

Local rapper, producer, and Doomtree crew member Cecil Otter has a lot on his plate.

Cecil Otter, one of the founding members of Minneapolis hip-hop group Doomtree, has been rapping since his grade school days. On top of writing, rapping and performing, he also produces.

Jaak Jensen

Cecil Otter, one of the founding members of Minneapolis hip-hop group Doomtree, has been rapping since his grade school days. On top of writing, rapping and performing, he also produces.

Patrick Maloney

What: “The Best Love is Free,” featuring Cecil Otter and Later Babes

 

When: 9 p.m., Saturday

 

Where: Fine Line Music Cafe, 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis

 

Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

 

Age: 18+

 

Despite living in a world of fast food, instant messaging and 15-minute celebrity, Cecil Otter is in no rush.

“I’ve been working on my solo record for about four years,” Otter said. “It takes me a really long time to get the right words down.”

Otter’s last album, “Rebel Yellow,” full of sharp drum rhythms, lonely guitar lines and poetic lyrics, came out in 2008. Even with such a lapse between albums, Otter’s style is consistent.

“I’ve had this idea for my sound since I was 17. Everything I made was pretty much in the same vein,” Otter said. “It’s pretty epic and somewhat sad sometimes. If I tried anything else, it would just sound fake.”

That isn’t to say that he’s rehashing “Rebel Yellow.”

“It’s more polished,” Otter said of his new project. “It has bigger production; [it’s] more well thought out, a little more mature. Not as complain-y.”

That upcoming solo record, “Porcelain Revolver,” still doesn’t have a release date. However, that doesn’t mean Otter isn’t busy. Although he’s best known for his role as a solo emcee and member of Doomtree, he spends most of his time producing music for other artists.

“I love production because I can make any kind of music,” Otter said. “I do it every single day for, normally, 12 hours.”

Otter’s current projects include collaborations with local musicians Astronautalis, Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson. One of his recently completed works is “13 Chambers,” a remix album created with local DJ Swiss Andy that mashes Wu-Tang Clan acapellas and Fugazi instrumentals.

“I’m always working with whoever,” Otter said. “There’s always some kind of side project going.”

These super groups offer a way to break up the painstaking process of writing a solo record. Although some songs burst into existence fully formed in a matter of hours, others can take years before they’re exactly how Otter wants them.

“There are four songs that I’ve been writing for four years,” he said. “I’m not just sitting for 12 hours writing one little paragraph. I just get uninspired and have to stop.”

Otter’s rapid production turnaround contrasts his laborious writing process. He can pump out up to five beats on a good day. Despite being a more prolific producer than rapper, Otter doesn’t identify as one more than the other.

“I think about words and write just as much as I do work on production,” he said. “I’m just as much a rapper as I am a producer.”