Relax – Das Racist (September 2011)

The first thing we heard from Das Racist was “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. “I’m at the Pizza Hut/I’m at the Taco Bell/I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” it went over and over and over, but everyone loved it.  Some tried to say that it was social commentary on consumerism, but it was really just this generation’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”: A song made brilliant by its sheer stupidity.  Next year, Das Racist would release two mixtapes that would make them sound like joke-spewing prophets.  They were less interested in commenting on race relations than making jokes about what minority celebrities girls thought they looked like (like on “Puerto Rican Cousins” or the hysterical “Shorty Said”).  Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man each contained a slew of fantastic tracks, but they were each tragically uneven.

About a year after Sit Down, Man, Das Racist have released Relax, and this time they actually get to earn some capital for their efforts. “Rainbow in the Dark,” pulled from the flooringly great first half of Shut Up, Dude, threatens to take the title of the standout track. Das Racist has developed a new hook-savviness on Relax, and “Michael Jackson” shines flashing lights right into your eyes until you fall over, convulsing. “Michael Jackson! One million dollars! You feel me?! Holler!” They are not just cutting mixtapes for free anymore. I mean, who do you think they are? The Weeknd? Frank Ocean??? Fuck mixtapes. They write albums, motherfucker. Now is the time to rake in some MJ money.

Forgetting the money for a second, Das Racist have now begun creating dancefloor-ready pop sans samples. “Girl” and “Punjabi Song” are great, but it is the stupid simplicity of “Booty in the Air,” a song entirely about exactly what its title implies, that gets me. “Booty in the air (3x)/Shake it all around,” it goes four times every chorus. The song is about as repetitive as the butt motions that Das Racist is suggesting, and if you resign yourself to it (like Das Racist have to the butt in question), you might be frightened to know that the group has taken control of your hips along with your funny bone. These guys are too talented.

Some say that they have sit down and shut up while they watch the dollars roll in. I mean, that is what they keep rapping about, right? Well, people should know better from the group that is not joking (just joking). If you fail to realize they are serious about this tomfoolery when Heems militantly declares, “I ain’t backing out until I own a bank to brag about,” then you are in danger of falling into their trap. That is funny to them, and it is funny to me. Its best songs might not measure up to the cluster of greats at the front of Shut Up, Dude or Sit Down, Man, but with stuff like “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Punjabi Song” sitting near the end, this is a more consistently rewarding product than the mixtapes, whose back halves included too many tracks that were outright disposable. These guys now know that they are absurdly talented, and as a result they have not sit down or shut up, but relaxed.

A-

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Published in: on September 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM  Leave a Comment  

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