Katastrophe (rapper)

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Not to be confused with Norwegian singer songwriter Katastrofe
Katastrophe @ Grog Shop, 2011.jpg
Katastrophe at Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 2011
Background information
Born (1979-10-02) October 2, 1979 (age 40)
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, producer
Years active1997–Present
LabelsKnox Records
Cherchez La Femme
Sugartruck Recordings
Associated actsIce Cream Socialites,
The End of the World

Rocco Kayiatos, best known by his stage name Katastrophe and sometimes in later releases as Rocco Katastrophe, is an American hip-hop recording artist.[1][2][3][4]

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, he began competing in poetry slams in 1997. After winning the 1998 Youth Speaks poetry slam, he went on tour with Sister Spit's Rambling Road Show tour.[5] As a teenager, Kayiatos had poems on four compilation CDs.

He is widely credited as the first openly transgender singer in the hip-hop genre and he often incorporates his identity as a trans man into his work.

Music career[edit]

In 2001, he recorded with Mark Schaffer the title song to the feature film Tijuana Donkeys, directed by Shar Rednour (who broached the project to Katastrophe on a Sister Spit tour) and Jackie Strano; the soundtrack was nominated for an AVN Award but lost to Snoop Dogg.[6] Katastrophe and Schaffer then formed hip-hop group The End of the World along with Ricky Lee; Schaffer subsequently began performing solo as Schaffer the Darklord.[6]

Katastrophe started making beats in 2002.[7] He raps about lives lived outside the mainstreams of education, gender, and culture. He uses his struggle as a trans man and his contested place in contemporary queer and hip hop culture to discuss larger issues of community, space, privilege, sex, and self-worth.[8]

He was named Producer of the Year by Outmusic Awards for his debut album Let's Fuck, Then Talk About My Problems on the Sugartruck Recordings label, released in 2004.[6][9] Kayiatos released a second album entitled Fault, Lies and Faultlines on the Cherchez La Femme label in 2005,[10] and a third full-length release, The Worst Amazing, was released in October 2009 on 307 Knox Records. In 2008 he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a multimedia show, HomeMade SuperHero. He also performs with Jenna Riot as the music act Ice Cream Socialites.[11]

He is featured in the documentary films Poetic License, Pick Up the Mic, Enough Man, and Riot Acts.[12][13][14] He was described as one of the most accomplished rappers in the homo hop documentary Pick Up the Mic.[15] His video for the song "The Life" was on MTV networks LOGO top ten Click List for 12 weeks. His music has been featured on Showtime's soundtracks for the contemporary series The L Word, as well as several short films. Kayiatos is the subject of a forthcoming biopic entitled The State of Katastrophe. He has toured in the U.S. and Europe.[16]

Publishing career[edit]

In October 2009, he and Amos Mac founded Original Plumbing, the first magazine by and for trans men.[17]



  • 2004: Let's Fuck, Then Talk About My Problems [Sugartruck Recordings]
  • 2005: Fault, Lies and Faultlines [Cherchez La Femme label]
  • 2009: The Worst Amazing [307 Knox Records]
  • 2012: Second Hand Emotion [307 Knox Records]


  • 2007: "The Life" (Katastrophe feat. Shaggy Manatee & Ruby Valentine)
  • 2012: "Sour Milk" (Tommy B, Brookside & Katastrophe)
  • 2012: "Eat Everything" (Rocco Katastrophe feat. Margaret Cho, De=MC² and Athens Boys Choir)
  • 2012: Second Hand Emotion including "Wake Me If I'm Dreaming" / "Let Me Go" (Rocco Katastrophe)


  1. ^ Marech, Rona, "Heavy-handed but tender-hearted, transgender hip-hopper Katastrophe is a rebel with a cause", San Francisco Chronicle, February 25, 2005, accessed November 6, 2009
  2. ^ Ganahi, Jane, "Michelle Tea mines her colorful past for a graphic memoir. And we mean graphic", San Francisco Chronicle, August 25, 2004, accessed November 6, 2009
  3. ^ Marech, Rona, "Throw out your pronouns -- 'he' and 'she' are meaningless terms in the Bay Area's flourishing transgender performance scene", San Francisco Chronicle, December 29, 2003, accessed November 7, 2009
  4. ^ Schwartz, Abby, "Queer on the mic Is rap music the final frontier for GLBT artists?" Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, Gay and Lesbian Times, Issue 881, November 11, 2004, accessed November 9, 2009
  5. ^ Anderson-Minshall, Jacob (December 22, 2005), "Man Enough to Take on Rap", San Francisco Bay Times, retrieved November 11, 2009
  6. ^ a b c Swan, Rachel (2005-02-16), "Trans-Cendent: Katastrophe joins up with Deep Dickollective, The Godfathers of Gay Hip-Hop", East Bay Express, retrieved 2009-11-25
  7. ^ Cornwell, Paige (October 28, 2009), "Katastrophe brings transgender hip-hop to UNL", Daily Nebraskan, archived from the original on January 21, 2013, retrieved November 11, 2009
  8. ^ Sawyer, Terry, "Queering the Mic", Pop Matters, March 18, 2004, accessed November 7, 2009
  9. ^ "OMA Nominees". Outmusic. 2005. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  10. ^ Reighly, Kurt B., "Trans-hop", The Advocate, November 8, 2005
  11. ^ Del Mar, Pollo (July 17, 2008), "Pollo Hates Missing Out on the Fun", San Francisco Bay Times, retrieved November 11, 2009
  12. ^ Martinfield, Seán, "Frameline 32", San Francisco Sentinel, June 27, 2009, accessed November 7, 2009
  13. ^ "Review of 'Pick up the Mic'", After Ellen Archived July 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, October 18, 2006, accessed November 7, 2009
  14. ^ "The Actor Slash Model Film Project", accessed August 12, 2010
  15. ^ Butcher, Terrence (June 23, 2009), "Pic up the Mic: The Evolution of Homohop", Pop Matters
  16. ^ Barreto, Mac (2004-11-23), Katastrophe: Hip Hop Against the Grain, Wiretap, retrieved 2009-11-07
  17. ^ Greenfield, Beth, "Gay: Original Plumbing launches: New publication celebrates transmen", Time Out New York, October 22–28, 2009, accessed April 29, 2015

External links[edit]