Das Racist (Kool AD aka Victor Vazquez, Heems aka Himanshu Suri, and Dap aka Ashok Kondabolu) went to Wesleyan and they sound like it. Somewhere between burning L’s and drinkin’ beers, they skimmed enough postcolonial lit to pick up the rap game’s best namechecks. When you can reference Andre 3000 and Indian literary critic Gaya Spivak in the same sentence, I will take notice. When you refer to your flow as “chucking Shaka Zulu type spears for ears”, I will follow you as far as you lead. If you can get a million youtube views on a song that has exactly one lyric (I’m at the Pizza Hut/I’m at the Taco Bell/I’m at the combination Pizza hut and Taco bell), I will worship you like a many-armed god of hipsterdom.
The best tracks off of their latest mixtapes, “Shut Up, Dude” and “Sit Down, Man” are “Who’s That? Broooown!”, “Ek Shaneesh” and “Chicken and Meat”. Each of these is worth a trip to rapgenius.com, where you can get the definition of individual words and phrases out of Heems and Kool AD’s densely packed flows. And unless you know off the top of your head what a “Bhatti boy” is, you’re going to need definitions of individual words and phrases. The music videos are pretty rad too, if you like overweight African men covered in flour dancing in orthodox Jewish neighborhoods or two guys eating everything in their fridge.
The Das Racist aesthetic is somewhere between American Apparel and homeless yogi with a dash of “skateboarding black teenager”; the beats sound like Sabzi discovered Bollywood, and the whole thing carries a certain whiff of foreign street food spiced with curry and some sort of snake gland that gets you high. Like wandering the streets of Bangkok, listening to a Das Racist track is confusing, uncomfortable, and fucking great. Except there’s no Lonely Planet guide for the minds of these visionaries.
I’ll be straight up: if you don’t read, or if you mind using wikipedia, look elsewhere. If, however, you like global beats, sterling references, beers for years, and 8-bit music videos, you’re home. Welcome back.