When in Rome and abandoned by your boyfriend, do as Sinatra would do— write music. TEss, otherwise known asTess Amodeo-Vickery ’07, has the advantage of being distantly related to Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, which maybe explains her gorgeous and charming voice.
TEss is no mere amateur, obviously. The New York native is the frontwoman/lead vocalist for Tess and the Yellow Cabbies, a jazz combo in Rome, and her love of jazz is obvious in her solo work. Playing guitar, though, is a little bit of a new development in her career:
One night, I was in my room in Rome and I got this feeling like I thought I might throw up or implode. For whatever reason, I grabbed my guitar and somehow a song came out. Like, I knew how to play guitar and compose music out of nowhere, having not touched my guitar since Freshmen year at Wes. I guess that’s what inspiration is.
I bet you guys called each other up and coordinated it. Don’t lie. I know you did.
Himanshu Suri ’07 (Heems) andVictor Vazquez ’06 (Kool A.D.) were Das Racist, Wesleyan (and critic)’s favorite slack-rap duo. And then suddenly they weren’t. That’s about all the history about those two I’m gonna give you, because let’s be honest, you know all of this. It’s not like we don’t post about them every other day or something.
So, the two decided back in December to call it quits, go their own ways, and pursue their already-blooming solo careers: Heems making music as Heems, and Kool A.D. as KoolA.D.
“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 pursuesolo careers, they just “don’t want to be in a professional capacity” anymore. Or have to hang out all the time, sadly enough:
Director Morgan Spurlock’s (best known for Super Size Me) “A Day in the Life” Hulu series followed Das Racist (Victor Vazquez ’06, Himanshu Suri ’07) around for a day. Thanks, Hulu “A Day in the Life” series! Stuyvesant High School shout out at 3:22, Wesleyan shout out at 4:09 and 4:32. Highlight: meeting with composer Philip Glass for a Free Tibet concert at Carnegie Hall (10:48). This is a good watch if you have 25 minutes to spare.
In honor of Black History Month, Eclectic presents Soul Train on Friday, February 17th. Come celebrate the longest running television program in history. Bust out your bell bottoms, tube tops, and dancing shoes, and get down on the Soul Train Line. Special guest performances will be provided by Victor Vazquez ’06 (Kool A.D.) of Das Racist with Lakutis and Kassa Overall. Check out Kool A.D.’s recent mixtape, Palm Wine Drinkard, here.
There will be a photo booth. There will be a love lounge. There will be dancing with disco balls on deck. Hosted by Don “Cornelius” Jones.
Tickets available online here. Due to occupancy restrictions, tickets WILL sell out.
Date: Friday, February 17 Time: 10:00 PM – 3:00 AM Place: Eclectic Cost: $8.50 Facebook: Link
Come to Eclectic on Friday, February 12th to rage, party, dance, and listen to witty raps about fast food chains.
The lineup consists of Wesleyan DJs Ian Johnson and Harrison Schaff, live performer and seriously durrrty rapper Khalif Diouf (aka Leif), as well as Das Racist.
Based out of Brooklyn, Das Racist is composed of Wesleyan alumni Himanshu Suri and Victor Vazquez. They first gained mainstream attention with the song “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” Since then, Das Racist has been featured in Pitchfork Media, XLR8R magazine, The Village Voice, The Guardian, and The New Yorker, just to name a few. On January 19th, they headlined Highline Ballroom in New York City. It’s also rumored that Fox News will be doing a write-up about the show on Friday night.
WHEN: Friday, February 12.
Set times: Yea Mann:
11:00 – 12:15
12:15 – 1:00
1:00 – 3:00 COST: $7, Tickets on sale at Usdan
A newish video is out for “Rainbow in the Dark”, a track that uses fast food (via White Castle) only as a jump-off point and is more indicative of what they’re about. Some rap exegesis might be in order to figure out what it means, but at the very least it transcends the inanity of that previous offering.
Be awed by the viscous lyrical delivery and hyperliterate rhymes, as self-aware but un-self-conscious as ever. With references to NMH’s Jeff Mangum, fancy cheeses, T-Pain, Stephen Hawking, Don King, Gary Soto, themselves, the Harold and Kumar sequel, and various Internet communications technologies delivered in a cannabinoid stream over the course of four minutes.
Bonus points for “Wikipedia Brown,” and this line:
“peep us at the Grammys, we’d like to thank G-Chat”
Mostly SFW, although be wary of Victor’s pubes if that’s a problem. Directed by Jordan Fish ’06:
Last month the New Yorker “Cartoon Lounge” blog poked fun at Das Racist’s Wesleyan roots in a facetious analysis of “Pizza Hut Taco Bell”.
Well, DR’s Victor Vazquez ’08 was not amused. Or, was amused enough to challenge cartoonist Farley Katz to a cartoon duel:
Dear Farley Katz,
While I appreciate you taking the time to blog about our viral art-rap song, I’m sorry to say your journalistic approach lacked vigor. When referring to our alma mater, you mentioned “the dean of Wesleyan’s twin monocles,” when it is a highly-publicized fact that Dean Charles Peyton Randolph Cottonbaron has three monocles. I have no idea how this got past the fact checkers. This is lazy journalism, pure and simple. I notice you’re a cartoonist and a gentleman with a history of dueling. I challenge you to a cartoon-off.
The challenge? Each combatant drew a day in the life of a rapper, a day in the life of a cartoonist, and a futuristic utopia where racism does not exist.
You be the judge:
Vazquez draws a futuristic utopia where racism doesn't exist.