RIP Das Racist: The Weirdos of Hip Hop
A Tribute by Jakob Ross
In 2008, one of the most fascinating hip hop songs to ever go viral was released on YouTube. It was titled “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” and it was released by then-unknown Brooklyn trio Das Racist. This song got immediate attention from blogs and created buzz all around the internet. Who were these weird sounding dudes singing about a fast food restaurant? And why is it so interesting?
When Das Racist released their debut mixtape, “Shut Up, Dude”, in 2010, there were high expectations. They had to prove to the world that they were more than just a silly one-hit wonder, so to speak. And that they did. With incredible well-written and hilarious songs such as “Who’s That? Brooown!”, “You Oughta Know”, and “Fake Patois” (as well as the aforementioned “Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”), rappers Heems and Kool A.D. (with hype-man Dapwell) proved that they were a force to be reckoned with.
Later that year they released their second and equally impressive mixtape “Sit Down, Man,” which featured guest verses from Roc Marciano, El-P, and Despot, as well as samples of songs by The Doors, Kraftwerk, and The Very Best. This wasn’t your average hip hop album and this wasn’t your average hip hop band. They began touring quite often and playing lots of festivals, like Bumbershoot and Sasquatch, as hype built up for their 2011 full length album, titled “Relax,” whose title is almost a sarcastic joke in the wake of their very recent breakup.
“Relax” was above and beyond anything they’d released before. The members (especially Heems) embraced their heritage and relied on mostly Indian and Middle Eastern sounding beats and samples for their album. It was a bit more challenging than 2010’s mixtapes, but proved itself to be worth the hype, and it became one of the most highly reviewed hip hop albums of 2011, even landing itself on the year-end lists of Rolling Stone and Spin.
In the wake of all that success came the June/July news that Das Racist were working on a new album AND had signed to Sony/Megaforce. But, just last night in Munich, Heems announced onstage during a solo gig that Das Racist had broken up, with Kool A.D. leaving the group two months ago. Both Heems and Kool released two mixtapes this year, so perhaps this was predictable, but an up-and-coming and critically lauded group breaking up after a mere four years of existence brings to mind the breakup of Girls earlier this year (lead singer Christopher Owens releases his solo debut in January).
This leaves many questions (What about the new album? And what about the record deal?) as well as a gaping hole in the world of alternative hip-hop, that can only be filled by the likes of Death Grips and Danny Brown.
We at Concert Confessions wish Himanshu, Victor, and Ashok the best of luck, and really hope Coachella gets them back together in a few years after paying them more money than they’ve ever seen before.