As we continue making our way through all of the Roo artists I didn't see this year, we come upon Das Racist. This group goes back to their dorm days together, leading up to 2008 with their "strangely catchy song" "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" (which I saw one today and am shocked by my own will power...).
Victor Vazquez, Himanshu Suri, and Dap (aka Ashok Kondabolu) make up the Brooklyn group. They are said to combine hip-hop, 'druggy nonsense,' social commentary, and obscure pop culture references into "one boldly self-aware album." This is their debut full-length album, after two mixtapes.
"Relax" is track one. We're greeted immediately with the feeling that the sounds are going to be a little different than what we're necessarily used to. The rapping has a light sound, mostly due to the tone and slight echo to the vocal track. The backing instrumentals are very organic for the verses, then computerized completely in the chorus (or what I'll go ahead and deem the chorus). The song goes on to most definitely have all of those odd elements we read about in the intro.
Given what we know so far, I expect "Michael Jackson" to be a commentary on his death. It includes Travis Rosenberg (I have no idea if he's the rapper here, or what, but he's there). It seems to focus on the money surrounding the man though, taking quite a harsh tone in attack of the words. The only thing I got from the verse was something about being the greatest rapper, so maybe this is one of those that there isn't any total connection to the title itself. The beat's sort of annoying, but has a total street feel, and considering they seem to be talking about who's good at rapping, I guess that's warranted.
"Girl" gives us something, finally! The beat is dance-worth, and the lyrics are poppy. It's enjoyable on a base level for all of us. It's not overly sexual like so many other R&B/rap songs about girls, but keeps things in a sexy tone of attraction. It's like it's just enough. Granted, the sound is still just weird enough to not tuck itself into the same as so many other big songs out there. It's good, really good.
Back down to a more serious note, talking about some... violence? I think? "Shut Up, Man" features El-P. The rapping's so tight and fast here, and pretty damn good. There's some elements of anger in it, but almost motivated anger of defense. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but that's what I'm getting from it. Nice drum machine by the way guys, seriously, there was no missing how damn computerized so much of this entire thing plays. It makes the words and voices so much more important since they're the only things that are actually organic.
"Happy Rappy" went by super fast as I was returning an email. It's a very basic beat, very basic words, and obviously brings a good, easy sound throughout. Nothing too stand-out-ish, as it's so consistent. It's not a bad sound, and it confirms that these guys aren't just angry all of the time - or, at least, I'm assuming so from the title.
Travis Rosenberg is back, along with Lakvtis for "Booty In The Air." Just when you think you're getting a more political album, we get a song like this thrown in. Personally, I'm laughing at this more that anything. Just the concept and words used is funny. Oh, and the lyrics "booty in the air, shake it all around." I mean, come on. You can't expect me to take this all seriously when they were just calling us all sheep a few tracks ago. There's depth, but okay, everyone deserves to party from time to time.
"Power" confirms that we're going in a bunch of different directions throughout this experience. Musically, or at least beat-wise, I can't say the same, because there's been a continuously steady, similar beat overall. Anywhos, Despot and Danny Brown join in for this one. I'm not catching a ton of what they all have to say, but there are a few dirty lines that I wasn't expecting to hear. Now I'm wondering if this was the political track I though it was originally, or if it's overtly sexual. I wish i cared more.
I spoke too soon. Something just a little different finally comes around with "Punjabi Song," featuring Bikram Singh. This should be the Great Kali's new entrance theme. Unfortunately, is does get back into the demands on the woman and her body. Damn it, I really thought we had something better going on with this group, but these songs are killing my ability to believe. The mix here, however, is pretty interesting. There's some Punjab sound incorporated into this very typical dance mix of beats and some synth notes. Pretty odd, but pretty cool.
"Selena" is totally a cool tribute/mix to the singer herself. There's references all over the place to her songs, life, and the like. It's kind of got this odd over-laid sound to it, but everything ties together along the way. The words move from element to element in the song, connecting in this cool little string of references. There's even a mention of "I Am the Walrus."
The next one starts off with something about White Castle and tiny hamburgers, which just frigin' makes me hungry. "Rainbow in the Dark" requires some attention to catch everything going on. I'll admit, I didn't give enough at the get-go, but as it goes on, I'm wondering if that's even a necessity, or worth it for that matter. The beat used it kind of cool though, and there's this nice style in the rapping of hopping off of words and onto another, almost like a game of tag.
The final song sound like a fake one of its name - "Celebration." There's sort of something there, like it's struggling to live up to the name, and almost starts up to do so. After the past compilation of tracks though, it's just a let down of a final party. We started out sort of strong, but didn't really get anywhere with it. I think I was more excited about this when I thought the tracks were all going to have something important to say.
Added to My Playlist:
Welp, that's over. Not good, but not bad, with a mix of different ideas thrown in throughout. Overall, not a group I'd really look for more from, unless it was at a political rally. I understand not everyone can have something to say at every moment, but this just started rolling downhill once it gave in to popular demands of dance music, and kept going.