Sit Down, Man: Das Racist Is Over

Want to reflect on Das Racist’s bizarre trip from campus to Conan? Check out the first ever Wesleying post on the duo.

We interrupt this broadcast (and my, err, thesis) to bring you sad news. Das Racist, the unlikely slacker-rap pairing of Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) and Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez ’06) that seems to have defined an era of irreverent, gruff-voiced irony at Wesleyan, is over and done. I received the news in downstairs Usdan, halfway through Pastabilities’ penne special, in the form of a three-word text from Wesleying’s old friend Carlo ’11. It’s probably what Heems would have wanted.

But the break-up isn’t as recent as you think. According to Pitchfork, Heems took the stage last night at Munich’s On3 Festival and told the crowd, “You guys wanna know the secret? Alright, so I’m going to do some Das Racist songs, but Das Racist is breaking up and we’re not a band anymore.”

This was followed by a series of tweets confirming the break-up and hinting at some internal drama for the duo:

Kool A.D. assures us, however, that they’re still friends:

This kinda feels like the end of an era. Das Racist met in 2003 or 2004 in 200 Church, which they frequently refer to as “Bard Art College.” Four years ago this month, Wesleying devoted its first feature post to the duo, describing their meme-like breakout hit, “Pizza Hut Taco Bell,” as “what I imagine it’s like to be stoned, hungry, and lost in Queens, without a car but with a very rhythmic case of tinnitus.” Wesleying’s typically vocal commenters weighed in, with classic 2008-era opinions like these:

  • “ha ha! these guys have spunk!”
  • “doesn’t seem like they take themselves too seriously. i kind of like it for rap music.”
  • “this band would be great if I was 12 and quoting hilarious raps with my brother [that 1:22 probably wrote when they were 6] at some stupid soccer game that our sister was in but mostly sat on the bench for because she was not particularly athletic or coordinated. merry christmas, you horrible fucks.”
  • “i’m into it in an out of it kinda way”
  • “this music is of poor quality”
  • “I couldn’t listen to more than 10 seconds of any of their myspace songs. but I like posts like these.”
  • “I use to write songs like this when I was 6.”
  • “what are you into now 1:22, auto-erotically asphyxiating yourself, throbbing gristle on full-blast? shithead.”

And, my personal favorite prediction:

  • “I love the name… not so much the annoyingly bad music. Best of luck to these guys, but if they intend on getting somewhere with this they should really try recording shit that isn’t totally inane and hard to listen to.”

Over the course of my frosh year, around the time Wesleyan was still being fetishized as ground zero for “numerous internet buzz bands nurtured by co-ed dorms and naked parties,” the duo steadily rose to fame, eclipsing the novelty of “Pizza Hut Taco Bell” and rapidly amassing fans. (Le1f was the beatmaker behind that initial hit, which definitely makes some weird poetic sense given his current rise to fame.) When I was assigned to interview the group over email in my first month at Wesleyan, they waxed nostalgic about what they do and don’t miss about Wes and told me, “Victor and I met at a support group for discontent minorities at liberal arts colleges that we both came across while perusing Craigslist’s rants and raves section to see when the race war will start.”

They blew up that spring, performing a hilariously inebriated show in Eclectic in February, releasing an unexpectedly acclaimed first mixtape in March, and becoming the sort of band name Michael Roth would namedrop in The Past on Film when he wanted to grab students’ attention and prove he was “with it.”

Now that we pause and reflect on Das Racist’s demise, here’s a look back at some classic DR moments from the Wesleying archives:

December, 2008: Spotlight: Das Racist
April, 2009: Das Racist; Das YouTube
May, 2009: Das Racist Explains “Blipsters”
June, 2009: Pizza Hut/Taco Bell: A Metaphor. An Allegory.
July, 2009: Das Racist in the Times
August, 2009: Das Racist on Nylon TV, New Yorker
January, 2010: Das Racist video: “Rainbow in the Dark”
March, 2010: Das Racist on DKE, Richard Slotkin’s Retirement, Olin (key excerpt: “I think chalking is, like, the ultimate form of expression.” “It’s definitely, like, the new rap.”
January, 2011: Fake Michael Roth, Meet Fake Das Racist
January, 2011: Dismemberment Plan Covers Das Racist, Sort Of
February, 2011: Sasquatch! Doesn’t Really Get Das Racist
March, 2011: “Das Stinky”
September, 2011: Das Racist Releases Debut LP, Relax
October, 2011:Das Racist: “Emblems,” “Emissaries,” “The Friends I Never Made”
November, 2011: Das Racist on Conan

In recent months, posts about Das Racist have tended to involve one member or the other. Heems crashed the Tent Party and released two excellent solo mixtapes. Kool A.D. launched a solo career and popped up at Wesleyan’s Soul Train party. As you mourn the loss of Bard Art College’s premier pranksters, I suggest returning to an old classic and pouring a 40 on the ground: