Das Racist: Are They Laughing with Us or at Us? (Exclusive Interview)
Now you're hungry. Or grossed out.
Das Racist might be genius. Or a big joke. Or maybe both. "We're not joking, just joking-we are joking, just joking- we're not joking," they intone dully on "hahahaha jk?," the funniest track from last September's very funny mixtape Sit Down, Man. But it's produced by Boi-1da, who's responsible for much of Drizzy Drake's domination last year. And Rolling Stone named it one of 2010's best singles.
We'll probably never know whether the trio behind "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell"- Ashok Kondabolu (Dap), Himanshu Suri, and Victor Vasquez (Kool A.D.)- are laughing with or at us. But they'll be here next week, playing at the Echoplex. You should ask them.
LA Weekly: So, we really hoped you guys would do a remake of "Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell" with In-N-Out, even though I'm sure you're dead sick of that song. Are there any songs you've specifically taken out of performance rotation just because you can't bear to do them one.more.time?
Kool A.D.: We get really sick of playing "Time to Pretend" but we have to do it for our fans.
Himanshu: So sick of playing "Creep".
Dap: Not really. We took "Pizza Hut" out, but a lot of the fun is pretending it was a "legitimate" hit song and we're "above" performing it anymore. I mean, if we had to do a song we didn't want to we'd just "do it real weird."
I read this comment on a September '09 interview: "I very seriously wish I could travel back in time to a point where I didn't read about these guys." Is there anything you HAVEN'T been asked?
Kool A.D.: Nobody ever asks me how my day was.
Himanshu: Nobody ever asks me how Victor's day was.
Dap: Ask me what I'm wearing.
When you started rapping, did you think it'd go this far?
Kool A.D.: When I saw the Steven Spielberg movie where Tom Hanks is chasing Leonardo DiCaprio because all Leonardo DiCaprio wants to do is make his dad Christopher Walken proud of him, I thought, "I'm going to be a professional rapper. If Eminem can do it, so can I."
Himanshu: I knew what we were doing was cool but I kind of feel like everyone does cool stuff. I kind of like everything anyone does. I even just decided I like that Kesha song about bars bars bars and stars stars stars. All art is better than no art. Positive energy and all that. I'm an idiot.
Dap: it was somewhat unexpected. We're happy to spend the money we collect on services and goods! We're happy to meet other artists! We're happy to sing songs and dance for our largely white fan base!
What were you guys like as kids? What the most persistent memory you have from being, say, seven years old?
Kool A.D.: When I was seven years old I watched a lot of TV but I didn't really pay attention to it.
Himanshu: When I was a kid I'd bang on pots and watch Bollywood movie with my grandmother. Now I bang on drums and watch Bollywood movies alone because she died of cancer. Now I'm sad. Great job.
Dap: I remember driving from one part of Jackson Heights to another with Technotronic "Pump The Jam" playing on the radio. I might have been younger than seven.
Do you have any really freaky fan stories? Or are all your fan interactions with super cool hip people?
Kool A.D.: One time a fan of our music had sex with me.
Himanshu: Here's a fan story: one time I was intoxicated on alcoholic beverages and I, rather creepily perhaps, followed Lizzi Bougatsos outside of a bar to tell her I love her and Gang Gang Dance's music and their tasteful incorporation of Indian melodies. She either didn't hear me or ignored me and kept walking down the block. I felt like a loser. I went inside and drank more.
Dap: A male, white fan insisted on giving me a pound repeatedly. It was wild.
I love that you use the Cam/Vado "HUHS." Do y'all follow the SLIME (Street Life Intelligence and Money Is Everything) mantra?
Kool A.D.: I follow the S.L.I.I.M.E.D. mantra: Slowly Losing Interest In Music Every Day
Himanshu: I don't know about all that. I like their music though, especially Cam. I been revisiting S.D.E. a lot lately with our roommate Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. Shoutout Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.
Dap: S.D.E. is very bad.
You were excited about (Detroit rapper) Danny Brown being on your show. Who else do you want to be rapper-friends with?
Kool A.D.: Oprah Winfrey.
Himanshu: Max B. Though since he's locked up I'd settle for kicking it with French Montana. Or pretending to be French Montana. Either.
Dap: Glorifying drug dealers is bad! But easy when you're middle-class and can "go home!"
Have you ever gotten nervous about meeting somebody famous?
Kool A.D.: Jay-Z. It was at some after party at a restaurant he owned.
Himanshu: Anil Kapoor and Anupham Kher when I was 7. Aishwarya Rai when I was 12.
Dap: Claire from YACHT once at SXSW?
Your favorite artist of all time is ... ?
Kool A.D.: Sun Ra
Himanshu: Guru Dutt
Dap: WHATEVER PROJECTS THE IMAGE OF MYSELF I'M MOT COMFORTABLE WITH. DUH!
What's the last song you listened to?
Kool A.D.: Gucci Mane, "Gorgeous"
Himanshu: "Keh Doon Tumhe" from the film Deewar.
Dap: The "X-files" theme song. Over and over again. Watched 11 hours in a row of "X Files" last night.
What's the best song any guy could play for a girl he wanted to 1)sleep with him 2)fall in love with him 3)leave him the fuck alone?
Kool A.D.: 1) Spragga Benz: "Pum Pum Conqueror" 2) Spragga Benz: "Pum Pum Conqueror" 3) Das Racist: "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (Wallpaper Remix)"
Himanshu: 1) "Ignition (Remix)" - R. Kelly. "Maybe I've Made Enough Friends" by Wrens. 2) "Tu Meri Zindagi" from the film Aashiqui. IF YOU MEANT ANY AMERICAN GUY COULD PLAY FOR AN AMERICAN GIRL HE WANTED TO FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM YOU SHOULD HAVE SPECIFIED. 3) I don't know what Josh Groban is but probably that, right?
Dap: 1)Dillinger- "Flat Foot Hustlin'" 2)Dillinger - "Cocaine in my Brain" 3) Dillinger - "Crabs in my Pants"
What is the most played song in your music library?
Kool A.D.: I just got a new computer and my roommate used it while I was out of town. Apparently she listened to Talking Heads, "Girlfriend is Better" 45 times.
Himanshu: I don't have a computer but I loaded my blackberry up with some songs I downloaded on my moms computer in March (I think) of last year and I listen to those a lot. Mostly "Always Like This" by Bombay Bicycle Club and a CFCF remix of "Official Girl" by Cassie f/ Lil Wayne.
Dap: I don't use Apple products. they're expensive and often too powerful and expensive considering what they're used for. Very American. That being said, Dillinger - "Flat Foot Hustlin'."
Do you have any cds or songs that you turn down really fast if someone unexpectedly walks in?
Kool A.D.: No.
Dap: Eww, no.
So, do you guys like L.A.?
Kool A.D.: I like L.A. I like smoking weed and going to the beach.
Himanshu: L.A. seems like it would take a lot more money to live in and wild out in than New York. Seems like people generally care about wacker, less important things there. As a heavier man, I imagine people would be rude to me there if I wasn't in a groundbreaking, legendary rap group.
Dap: I'm from New York and love New York and barely like it there. Why would I like Los Angeles?
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