12 March 2011

An Interview with Das Racist!

"Europeans do what they're told."

We previewed Das Racist a week ago, and recently I got the chance to ask them a bunch of random questions. If you know anything about them at all, then you shouldn't expect a normal interview. However, if you don't know, Das Racist is a duo (or a trio, kinda) of rappers out of Brooklyn composed of Victor Vasquez or Kool A.D, Himanshu Suri or Heems, and hype man Ashok Kondabolu or Dapwell. Other people describe their music as anti-consumerist, "Harold and Kumar existentialism" and whatever, but those labels don't really stick when you hear lines like "Catch me drinking lean in Italy like I was Pisa." At their core, Das Racist embody rap's essential poetic self-aggrandizement by replacing bitches and cars with being smart, making jokes, and just "getting it."

 Photo from DasRacist.net by Ariana Gilrie

They recently finished a tour in Europe and are playing tonight at the Maison as a big part of Foburg.

Art/Official: What does Dapwell do? I’ve only seen videos of y’all doing Beastie Boy covers and cooking Thanksgiving dinners, so I don’t know what an actual live performance is like. Is he like the black dude with the double blonde mohawk from Major Lazer + a blogger?

Dapwell: I'm also a baby! I'm not nearly as cool as Skeritt Bwoy, also.

Heems: He's a hypeman and spiritual advisor.

Kool A.D.: He's a witch doctor.

Art/Official: How did anyone in Europe come even close to understanding what the fuck you guys were saying? Follow up: You’re remarkably clear-speaking for rap music or whatever, and I know a lot of people speak English over there, but other than your most obvious fast food rhymes I don’t see how anyone would have any idea. I mean even your average American fan probably Wikipedias a lot of your lyrics.

Heems: Victor?

Kool A.D.: No idea.

Heems: I don't know. Rap is melodic?

Kool A.D.: Europeans do what they're told.

Dapwell: Europeans are a silly lot. Most of their countries are old news bears. Give it up!

Art/Official: Who’s Gordon Voidwell? His production is the most banging shit on both of your mixtapes. Is he a close friend or just some guy in the industry back in the New York? You’ve played a couple of shows with him.

Heems: He's an awesome singer, producer, performer you can download the music of for free.

Kool A.D.: Gordon Voidwell is one of the best out.

Dapwell: Gordon Voidwell is an incredible man. He makes music as well as love (to the ladies).

Art/Official: Was there a specific point where you first realized you were rappers, like "professional" rappers? How’d you react?

Dapwell: When I quit my job maintaining a website for a law school.

Heems: Probably the first time someone asked me what I do and I said, "I'm a professional rapper." Still feels weird.

Kool A.D.: I always feel a little weird.

Art/Official: I found this old article that said you met in a “students of color for social justice dorm; that’s not true, right?

Heems: True story.

Kool A.D.: It is true. I was his RA until I lost my job and got suspended for a minor altercation.

Art/Official: When you watch TV or see anything getting a bunch of media attention, like that Charlie Sheen deal, do you feel like you gotta rap about it?

Heems: Sometimes, but I try to avoid that.

Kool A.D.: Don't watch TV, watch Ian Cohen.

Art/Official: What do your parents think?

Dap: They're happy I'm doing something that allows me to travel and make money although they barely understand many of the things we're talking about. How presumptuous to ask, what if they were dead!

Heems: They're proud of me?

Kool A.D.: My parents think what they want to think, more or less.


That's it, guys. Thanks to Das Racist, The Templum Group, and Winter Circle Productions.

~You can get both of DR's mixtapes for free on the internet (legally). To get them click here!

**Also be sure to check out this great video of this even greater track:

--Article and interview by Jeffrey Silberman

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