Das Racist – Shut Up, Dude

December 12, 2010

I first heard of the existence of Das Racist from a stupid kid with retarded hair.  He claimed he was friendly with this duo out in Brooklyn who supposedly performed crazy-hype shows and hoped to get a demo going to get some buzz going for himself.   That day I was meeting to exchange ideas about him rapping over some beats that I had done.  In the end it turned out that he was a terrible rapper, but that’s not the point of the story.  In a way I’m glad I met this dude because I found out about DR.  Recently, I was reminded about this ’10 first quarter release (they have since released another mixtape – Sit Down, Man) when reading New York Magazine’s Top 10 for the year and wondering how the hell they made this list.  Then I thought shiiiiiit I’ll write about it and let you decide.

Dad Racist is possibly one of the most polarizing group of the past few years, and almost certainly of the last one.  If you’re not familiar, Himanshu Suri and Victor Vazquez met at Wesleyan (of MGMT fame); their first single, which appears on this mixtape is “Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell.”  It is accurate to describe this record as the apex of the debate on DR being purely a gimmick or hipster genius.  Yeah that’s right.  Hipsters have started rapping.

I’m at the pizza hut.

I’m at the taco bell.

I’m at the combination pizza hut and taco bell.

(repeat x 30)

That’s the song.  The whole song.  Listen to it below.  Satire of corporate brainwashing?  Weed smoke-infused crap?  Corporate brainwashing leading to weed smoke-infused crap?  You decide.

DR are known for infusing smart, politically/culturally/historically poignant references into their raps (like what the fuck else would you expect from a latin dude and a middle eastern dude from Wesleyan?) – but at times (more often then not), the lyrics seem forced rather than well-thought out.  Consequently the entire mixtape feels like a long freestyle (which makes it more impressive?).   For instance:

Rap hella much in a busted ass Jetta with Coretta Scott King
Rap bridge on a duet with T-Pain and Stephen Hawking

Yeah.  So did they not want to miss conveying somehow that their rap style reminds of the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking?  Was it just convenient to rhyme his name with King (which it doesnt)? Are these just crazy hipsters who are trying to confuse you under the guise of being smart?  Is this revolutionary somehow?

Maybe I’m looking into too much – it is a mixtape after all (which usually excuses artists from lo-fi, or muddled, or theme-less compilations).  I can neither slam nor praise this mixtape.  A lot of it honestly does sound like complete shit.  You will want to punch babies after hearing some of these joints (see: “I Don’t Owe Nobody Shit” and “I Don’t Want to Deal with Those Monsters”).  There are several tracks which are just plain unlisten-able, whether it be because of terrible beats or confusing/off-beat flow (but not in a good, DOOM, kind of way).   One track is plainly over a madvillian beat (“Deep Ass Shit” uses the same beat as “America’s Most Blunted”) – I dont know if this is just a straight jackin for beats type thing or some sort of tribute.  Even watching a trainwreck gets old – what I mean is – how does a group like this stand over time?  When do you forget about Das Racist?  When do these guys morph from ground-breaking to just “those dudes” from your freshman year dorm who freestyle when they got drunk?  In theory this group sounds fresh:  hi-IQ topics (if you feel that running to wikipedia after a rap song is a good thing), tribute referencing to rap pioneers, some good production (i liked the billy joel-looped track “You Oughta Know” and the use of (I think) a sped up Eddie Holman’s “It’s Over” sample in the song “Nutmeg”), and a weed-friendly environment.

So what do I give the most polarizing group of the year on their efforts?  5/10 of course, right in the middle.  Listen below and decide for yourself!  Check out dasracist.net and download the full mixtape for $0.50.

DL: Das Racist – Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell

DL: Das Racist – Rainbows in the Dark

DL: Das Racist – You Oughta Know


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