Das Too Bad: Vazquez ’06 Talks Break-Up, Heems Friendship

“We did our thing, we had a good time, and I think it was time for it to end.”

Still mourning the blow of Das Racist’s weekend demise? It wasn’t supposed to come like this. Though Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) broke the news rather suddenly at a show in Munich, bandmate Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez ’06) later tweeted that he had actually left the band in September and was asked by his manager to keep quiet. This week Vazquez spoke about the details of his decision with Rolling Stone, explaining that he planned to quit the group officially after wrapping up their current tour—but before completing a second album:

“I was like, ‘I’ll do the rest of the tour—anything that’s on the schedule right now, I’ll do. And then I’m done. I’m not recording the album,'” he said in a phone call, referring to the single-record deal inked with Sony in July. “When I made that decision two months ago, I was certain in that decision. And I think maybe the whole team around us thought I was going to change my mind.”

Despite the tension surrounding their breakup, Vazquez adds that he and Heems—whom he met in 200 Church in 2003—are “more or less still friends.” As both artists pursue solo careers, they just “don’t want to be in a professional capacity” anymore. Or have to hang out all the time, sadly enough:

“The plan was that this was going to be our last album anyway,” Vazquez added. “Once we had that sort of definitive endpoint, it was kind of like, ‘Why are we even doing this? We know we want to break up.’ Like, why are we even going through the motions of another album that’s going to be a whole ‘nother year of having to hang out with each other?”

Seems like performing with Das Racist became a just-for-the-money gig, which is sad when you listen back on all the goofy and irreverent rhyming interplay on their first few mixtapes—they sound like two Tumblr-era hip hop weirdos  playing off each others’ energy and in it for anything but the money. Then again, the amount of focus both emcees have placed on their solo careers over the past 12 months probably says enough.

Over at Rolling Stone, the best reader comment reminds of one fundamental details that’s largely been missed: Kool A.D. was Heems’ freshman year RA:

Whether that friendship began in 200 Church or at Massachusetts’ Bart Art College is anyone’s business.

[Rolling Stone]

More in-depth reflection on Das Racist’s breakup here.