Reviews: Das Racist - Relax

Published in the Sept. 22-28, 2011 issue of NOW Magazine

Das Racist - Relax (Greedhead) By Anupa Mistry Rating NNN


Das Racist’s Heems (Himanshu Suri) and Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez) were never not good at rapping. Sure, 2010 mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man were cast in a pungent pot haze, but that’s what made their incisive, absurdist observations better than try-hard joke rap like the Lonely Island’s. This studio debut, however, doesn’t sound like it was recorded during the kind of heinously hedonistic week when you subsist entirely on HBO’s Cathouse programming and rations from Rabba.

Heems and Kool A.D. rap harder, louder and smarter. The lyrics are bizarre (“I’m DJ Khaled / I’m a daikon radish”) and confrontational (“RapGenius.com is white devil sophistry / Urban Dictionary is for demons with college degrees”) but also cohesive and purposeful. Heems recruits fellow brown men Anand Wilder (Yeasayer) and Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend) alongside big-name producers like Diplo, El-P and Blood Diamonds. And if you skip Punjabi Song, featuring bhangra artist Bikram Singh, you’re racist.

Top track: Power, featuring Danny Brown and Despot