Das Racist fights 'joke-rap' label with smart rhymes, killer beats on free mixtape

Few recent acts have been as divisive in hipster circles as Das Racist, the Brooklyn rap duo.

Thanks mostly to their jam “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” and penchant for shambolic live performances, MCs Himanshu Suri and Victor Vazquez (joined on stage by hype man Dap) have become the targets of no small amount of enmity from the likes of Brooklyn Vegan and other indie tastemakers who have excoriated the duo for turning rap into a joke.

You have to wonder, though, whether the haters ever dug deeper into the band’s catalog than “Pizza Hut.” Listen, Dammit, happens to think the song is funny, but it’s just one facet of what Das Racist can do, as the duo ably demonstrates on “Shut Up, Dude,” a new 17-track mixtape (if you can call a digital download a mixtape) that shows Suri and Vazquez to be deft MCs whose lyrics reveal an easy command of pop culture, history and, not least, food.

They drop references to old-school hip-hop, indie rock, the Civil Rights movement, Google Chat, high-end cheese and low-end hamburgers and weed (of course), and they do it with fast, nimble flow and a sense of humor over sweet electro beats. “Rainbow in the Dark” rides a spare, heavy rhythm track punctuated by deep bass and video-game synth lines, “Hugo Chavez” is built around a dark, futuristic track and “You Oughta Know” speeds up a sample from Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” which lets the duo improvise on the line “you should never argue with a crazy ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-man,” to amusing effect.

The humor is usually a sticking point with the group’s critics, but the smart lyrics and deft beats on “Shut Up, Dude,” offer ample evidence that Das Racist can make jokes without being a joke. (Download the mixtape here for free.)

  1 comment for “Das Racist fights 'joke-rap' label with smart rhymes, killer beats on free mixtape

  1. April 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Love this. Obviously.

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