Das Racist: Relax (Greedhead) 

Cynically, I was ready to be disappointed when Das Racist released its first physical CD after the intellectual jokester hip-hop trio captured widespread acclaim with a pair of free, download-only albums in 2010. But the first single from Relax, "Michael Jackson," is as artistically radical and sarcastically insightful as anything from last year's Sit Down, Man and Shut Up, Dude.

The tune is musically assaultive, riding an annoying/infectious sampled riff that sounds like a digitized combination of a crowing rooster and a video game. And it starts with the chorus: "Michael Jackson / A million dollars / You feel me? / Holler!" That catchy bit of minimalist nonsense almost re-creates the mood of the YouTube sensation "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell."

One could spend twice the space of this review exploring the cultural references and deconstructing the raps by Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez) and Heems (Himanshu Suri) on this track. These guys romp within the conventions of hip-hop while exposing the contradictions and misconceptions inherent in the genre. It's safe to say that no other act today name-drops Fran Drescher, Oompa Loompas, Parenthood, Lady Gaga, Gruyère cheese, Google, Oban Scotch, sophomoric sex jokes, Edvard Munch's "The Scream" and "playin' bass in jam bands up at Wesleyan" while creating cutting-edge urban music.

The group also takes on dance music on the tunefully sung "Girl," while collaborating with El-P on "Shut Up, Man" and Bhangra singer Bikram Singh on "Punjabi Song." For good measure, they include the pure-genius "Rainbow in the Dark," repeated from Shut Up, Dude.

More by Gene Armstrong

  • Primer

    Tony Furtado
    • May 29, 2014
  • Wills Meets Reinhardt

    L.A.'s Cow Bop blends bebop and Western swing into a superbly danceable combo
    • May 22, 2014
  • Learning From Lennon

    Nothing personal, Paul McCartney. Bill Frisell started playing John Lennon's music by accident
    • May 15, 2014
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Song of the Day: 'Cosmic Love Song No. 23' by Louise Le Hir

The Lantern Fest: Get Your Shine On

Fill Up On Beer, Bands and Brats at 4thtober Fest

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation