Without a doubt, my favorite group of recent times has to be NYC outfit Das Racist. Dismissed by some as nothing more than stoner rap, to me they are a fresh new voice in hip hop. Two of the members are of Indian descent and they play around with “brown” identity in America, and perhaps globally. With lyrics like: “They say I act white, but sound black / but act black, but sound white / but what’s my sound bite supposed to sound like? ” they are able to challenge racial perceptions while at the same time not taking themselves too seriously.
One of the rappers in Das Racist, Kool A.D., recently released a mixtape entitled The Palm Wine Drinkard, named after the seminal Nigerian novel by Amos Tutuola. Kool A.D. in particular is a fascinating if unpredictable artist, referencing Edward Said in one track and then singing “booty in the air!” in the next. In this one he seems to be just having fun. You be the judge.
Download the mixtape here.