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Das Racist- Shut Up, Dude

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My review of Das Racist’s Shut Up, Dude for the Georgetown Voice:

shut up dude

When “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” blew up on the music blogosphere this summer, it provoked a firestorm of controversy—depending on who you asked, it was either insipid, repetitive drivel or witty, inventive joke rap. On Shut Up, Dude, the group’s debut mixtape, Himanshu Suri and Victor Vasquez retain the same goofy, culturally literate sense of humor while proving themselves capable lyricists. With limber, lazy flows over a range of dancy, bass-heavy electro beats that sound like a cross between vintange Timbaland and something that didn’t make the final cut of Kala, the duo mixes social commentary with erudite witticisms, poking fun at everything from racial stereotypes to cultural memes while .

The breadth of the cultural references here is truly astounding—Suri and Vasquez name-drop everyone from John Phillip Sousa to W.E.B. DuBois, call themselves “the black Tintin/ the Jewish Mel Gibson,” and compare themselves to the Zac Brown Band. Take one stretch of “Don Dada,” for example: “I shoplifted Tao Lin’s Shoplifting from American Apparel/ but I didn’t get caught, like Perry Farrel/ Hot Strawberry Darryl/ Hanna-Barbera/ Burberry cologne on/ looking for a skull to get my bone on.” Not many rappers would would even try to string together references to hipster-lit royalty, the frontman for Jane’s Addiction, a former all-star outfielder, and the creators of the Flintstones before euphemizing oral sex, but Shut Up, Dude, is littered with such effortlessly absurd non-sequiturs. Thanks to the alliteration and multi-syllable rhyming, though, the incongruous lines flow together easily. Suri and Vasquez are slyly astute students of hip-hop, jacking rhyme schemes from Jay-Z over a Ghostface beat, or biting a line from the Clipse and turning it into a Lil’ Wayne reference, but there’s too much self-deprecating or ironic humor here for anyone to mistake their precociousness for the pretentious, righteous swagger that dominates the underground these days.

Drug references and name drops aside, the mixtape skates from semi-serious social commentary to tongue-in-cheek cultural criticism without skipping a beat. It’s aesthetically cohesive, ultra-literate, and never afraid to laugh at its own absurdity. Somewhere in there, there’s something about corporatism, racism, the American dream, and what it means to be the son of Indian immigrants in Queens in 2010. It’s just tough to find it between all the toilet jokes and raps about weed-impaired White Castle runs.

Written by sean

July 18, 2010 at 6:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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