Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Albums of 2010: #5: Shut Up, Dude/Sit Down, Man

#5: 'Shut Up, Dude' & 'Sit Down, Man' by Das Racist

Yeah yeah I know, two records shouldn't be allowed; ALBUM OF THE YEAR, NOT ALBUMS YOU PRAT! But shut up, that's why. Two albums in the same year from three of the greatest hip-hop minds of 2010, namely Das Racist, three Brooklyn boys whose minds must consist of piles and piles of pop culture, literary references, philosophical musings and constant, incessant, jawdropping rhymes. If you shake out a few of the duds that hide themselves between the 38 songs over these two records, you have the greatest and most innovative hip-hop record of the last few years.

Sounding like a richly rhythmic Cool Kids, Das Racist first released 'Shut Up, Dude' showcasing three bright eyed, upbeat, party animals at the heart of the creation; shimmying along with head-bopping samples and sound effects amidst a clutch of rapid-fire, endlessly repeatable phrases that fire off here, there and everywhere. For example, 'You Oughta Know' speeds up a Billy Joel lyrical line whilst words spits forth references to Lionel Richie, the nature-nurture argument and Twitter. 'Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell' is a heart pounding ode to fast-food and 'Nutmeg' oozes 90s hip-hop summery vibes. Das Racist explore the world of the hipster through hip-hop, taking trips through explorations of racial stereotypes and almost-comedic observations of the world around them.

The whole process continues on 'Sit Down, Man', a release for the Autumnal months as everything slows down and seems to mature, drifting along with a more serious tone, albeit with all of the pop-culture inanities and high-speed hipster-hop that the trio of Himanshu, Victor and Ashok emanate. Celebrity cameos creep into the record, a sign of the meteoric rise and stature of the group, from Lakutis to Teengirl Fantasy but this overwhelming show of support does little to plug the flow of ferociously fabulous beats and rhymes. 'Hahahahaha jk?' highlights the smarts on offer, steeped in self irony thanks to a soap opera base and more references to both the most mainstream and the most obscure cultural symbols. Throughout this second attempt, the trio utilise and reference the likes of The Doors, the world of advertising, Garfield, Paris Hilton, Christmas, Kraftwerk and, of course, racial stereotypes, leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of rhymes, rhythm and revolutionary hip-hop.

It is worth a mention that both of these records were free releases online and that Das Racist have utilised the net with flair, creating an 8-bit video game and running an amusing Twitter account to keep their legions of growing fans happy. They have been labelled as weedrap, nerdrap, posthip-hop and yet all that matters is that Das Racist are three artists with overflowing brains set atop their heads, full of all sorts of wisdom and words that will hopefully fill a hell of a lot more mixtapes with what they describe as "'deconstructionalist': sawing the legs out from under hip-hop as they celebrate it."

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