Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The guys in Das Racist wear a lot of hats, and not just jester’s caps. Joke-rap? Sure. Toke-rap? Okay. Coke-rap? At the right party, perhaps. But Himanshu “Heems” Suri and Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez don’t get enough credit for what they’re best at: folk-rap. Which, in their case, means lyrics that shine light on societal injustice via an endless stream of knee-slappers, layered cultural nods only decodable through the eye of a bong, and beats readymade for an all-night indoor slalom. Take the second song on Sit Down, Man, “Puerto Rican Cousins,” for instance: Over a whip-cracking, funked-up dance track provided by Gordon Voidwell, the two weave a complex word-web out of references to a villain from The Smurfs, a popular song by The Vapors, Brendan Fraser in The Mummy, and suicide being a predominantly Caucasian phenomenon, before dropping the Sister Sledge-jacking chorus: “We are family / At least that’s what we look like we might be.” Pause. Cue the sample: “Like Puerto Rican cousins.” (Heems and Kool are respectively of Indian and Afro-Cuban descent.) It isn’t the humor that’s so refreshing about this duo—rap has always been funny—it’s what they do with it. And by wrangling big-name producers this time around (Boi-1da, Diplo, Dame Grease), it’s clear that Das Racist wants to do a whole lot more than make the blogosphere giggle.


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