Das Racist, comprised of Himanshu Suri “Heems” and Victor Vazquez “Kool A.D.,” is likely the most interesting underground hip-hop group to surface within the last few years. Ashok Kondabolu “Dap” is also the group’s official “hype man.” While the group’s music is often compared to the average indie rap sound, Das Racist possesses a more complex style that truly sets it apart from most current hip-hop acts.
Simply labeling the duo’s music as rap would be a great disservice to the group. Its lyrics tend to be just as comedic as they are catchy. In an average Das Racist song, listeners can expect various obscure pop culture references, hard-hitting “gangster” lines and humorous rhyming patterns. This may seem like an odd combination of content, but Suri and Vazquez have figured out the formula to make it work.
A quick look into the group’s formation explains the perfect chemistry between Suri and Vazquez. The two originally met at Wesleyan University where Vazquez served as resident advisor for Suri. Although the duo first met in college, it wasn’t until they both moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., that Das Racist formed.
According to a 2009 interview with the Village Voice, both members still reside in Brooklyn. Arguably the biggest factor that brought Suri and Vazquez together was their experiences of racial discrimination; Suri is of Indian descent and Vazquez is Afro-Cuban.
Das Racist has released three albums to date. However, only the most recent album “Relax,” was released for sale through a record label. The two previous albums “Sit Down, Man” and “Shut up, Dude” were released solely through the Internet and given away for free.
They take a less serious approach to their music, almost as if they don’t care. In a few of their songs they even admit that achieving fame was never their ultimate goal, “My work is my play-play,” Vazquez says on the track “Hahahaha jk?” The result of this relaxed outlook is a product that contests the work of the most dedicated artists.
By viewing their creative process as more of a game than a job, Suri and Vazquez make music that relays their playful outlook to the audience. Once the listener accepts the goofy style, the group’s hidden talent emerges.
While Das Racist may never compose an album that goes platinum, the group offers an extremely unique and intriguing product that will appeal to hip-hop fans.