Album Review: Relax by Das Racist

Posted: September 10, 2011 by eptarheels23 in Album Review, Music
Tags: , ,

Courtesy of stereogum.com

Have you ever wanted to have that one rap group that can joke and mess around but still drop hard hitting bars? Enter Das Racist. A group based out of Brooklyn, NY composed of rappers Himanshu Suri (aka Heems, on left) and Victor Vazquez (aka Kool A.D., on right), joined by hype man Ashok Kondabolu, known as Dap (in middle), for live performances and in music videos. They are known for their unorthodox style and use of humor. Das Racist has been called everything from a complete joke of a group to the urgent new voice needed in the game today. They are a more serious version of The Lonely Island, in that they joke a lot but still drop real songs. They certainly won’t be for everyone because of their style, but they should be considered a serious threat in the game of rap.

1. Relax 3.5/5
Das Racist starts off the album on a solid note. The track has a classic Das Racist feel to it and Heems and Kook A.D. kicks sweet bars over the track. The chorus sort of thing had me hooked from the start as it has a guitar riffs and weird electronic chanting of “relax”. If you’re not familiar with the group, then this song is for you.

2. Michael Jackson (feat. Travis Rosenberg) 2.5/5
I’ll be honest, this is one of my least favorite Das Racist songs to date. It just seems like a masss of different instruments and vocals all thrown into one. The beat is nowhere near par of other DR records and the verses seem uninspired. I’m going to have to pass on this one. I’ll give it to them though, when I first heard this song I hated it and didn’t listen to it again until now. Turns out it has actually grown on me quite a bit.

3. Brand New Dance 3.5/5
This is vintage DR. This record has that “I’m joking around with you, but I’m still going to drop hard bars” feel to it. While I’m gonna have to skip the chorus, I love Heems and Kool A.D.’s verses, bith give it their all and go hard for each bar. Another solid all around track from the Das Racist trio in the same vein as Relax.

4. Middle of the Cake 4.5/5
This beat is downright sick. It has an Indian vibe to it, almost like The Throne’s Gotta Have It. Said beat sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the track. DR plays around again with lines such as “How many licks does it take to get to the middle of the cake?” and “Rick Ross on the radio at the pharmacy, when I die remember me like Guru Dutt”. Best record so far on the LP, definitely peep this track.

5. Girl 4.5/5
Talk about switching it up. The record sounds like it was meant for MGMT or something like that. The beat is an uptempo, drum kick filled one, yet Das Racist feels right at home. The long verse in the middle is definitely the high point of the track and I’ll have this record on repeat for a ong time to come. I’m also going to have to give props to Dr for switching it up, but still make a crazy track.

6. Shut Up, Man (feat. El-P) 4/5
This is the most down right, hip-hop track so far. It has an underground, gritty NY sound and I’m really glad DR threw this track on the LP. As a sidenote this track is different than Sit Down, Man (feat. El-P) off Sit Down, Man (another favorite of mine). Both Heems and Kool A.D. show off nasty flow on their verse and that’s what makes this track stand out from the rest on the album. Throw in a dope guest verse from established rap vet, El-P and you have one helluva record.

7. Happy Rappy 5/5
Wow, this is one of my favorite Das Racist track to date. The beat is almost a simplistic one, just made up of drum kicks and clapping. Perfect sound from Heems and Kool A.D. to spazz on, and do they go off or what. Another track where they show off their underrated flow and prove to all the haters that they can flat out rap. I highly recommend you listen to this track.

8. Booty In the Air (feat. Travis Rosenberg & Lakvtis) 4.5/5
This song has the same vibe to me as Girls. As they are both more up-tempo, club jams. This one has clapping all over the beat and you’ll be singing along to the chorus in no time, it’s catchy as hell. Despite the lack of rapping, this is definitely a favorite of mine so far.

9. Power (feat. Danny Brown & Despot) 5/5
Another straight up hip-hop record from Das Racist. This beat is a banger, synth kicks and a pounding bass set the stage for Das Racist. DR also recruits up and comer, Dany Brown to drop some bars alongside them. His verse is sick as hell and if you’re not familiar with the NY emcee, I suggest you do so now. Despot also drops a nice verse to close out the song, great record here.

10. Punjabi Song (feat. Bikram Singh) 4.5/5
Welcome to Bollywood. This song bleeds that feel, yet DR doesn’t sacrifice their rap roots here. This is once again another up-tempo, fast paced track with two solid verses from Heems and Kool A.D. apiece. I was pleasantly surprised by what this song produced. Wasn’t expecting much and a great product came out, I guess that’s what makes this track even better.

11. Selena 4/5
This record started off with a menacing sound and I was hoping the rest of the track would stem out of that. Sadly it did not, but it still turned out to be a solid song nonetheless. At times the beat seems like just a mush of random sounds, but at other it’s like a musical genius made it. I’m not sure what to rate this song as a whole because at points I love it, but at other I just want to hit the skip button. In the end the positive out ways the negative.

12. Rainbow In the Dark 5/5
This track was originally a standout off Das Racist’s first tape Shut Up, Dude and it’s a welcome addition on their first album. If you’ve never listened to DR before, this might be the track for you to get familiarized with the trio. They rap about almost everything on here, classic Das Racist. Sick flow, dope lyrics, nasty beat, amazing track. I realize it’s becoming a little repetitive, but it’s the truth.

13. The Trick 4/5
This record starts off with an extremely futuristic beat that sounds like alien ships taking off. I love how Das Racist half sings/half raps the first two minutes of the song and then Heems comes it and spits a hard verse at the end. It makes for a great sound overall and I feel like more groups should implement this theme in their songs.

14. Celebration 4.5/5
This is how you close out an album people. To me this almost sounds like Rainbow In the Dark Part 2, but that’s not a bad thing at all. It has the same type of sound, just less rapping. This track is basically DR just celebrating everything they have accomplished so far in the music game and boy have the done a lot.

I’ll admit it, after one listen through I liked Relax but it was a little disappointing. However after a couple more time through, I love every bit of it. This LP just proves that Das Racist can do about anything in terms of music; from classic hip-hop (Power and Shut Up, Man) to electronic, up-tempo jams (Girl and Booty In the Air) to straight up rapping (Happy Rappy) to classic DR (Rainbow In the Dark and Middle of the Cake), they’ve got it all. The sad thing though, is that I feel like this album will go under the radar for some time. I hope I’m wrong, but I think people are going to sleep on Das Racist. So shut up, sit down, relax and just listen to (and buy!) Das Racist’s new album Relax!

Download: Das Racist – Relax

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