As first reported on Pitchfork and confirmed through various conversations on twitter, hip-hop group Das Racist are breaking up. After releasing their lone official “album” in 2011, Relax, Das Racist has done a lot of touring this year, while MCs Heems (Himanshu Suri) and Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez) have each released two solo mixtapes.
They were originally booked to perform as a group at the On3 Festival in Munich over the weekend. Instead, only Heems showed up. Before switching from solo material to Das Racist songs, Heems announced to 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.” Video of the announcement is on the festival’s website.
Though official reps for the group didn’t respond when Pitchfork reached out to them for comment, Heems and Kool A.D. confirmed the news on twitter last night. First Vazquez tweeted this:
for the record i quit das racist 2 months ago and was asked by our manager not to announce it yet. apparently @himanshu wanted to do it tho.
— KOOL A.D. (@veeveeveeveevee) December 3, 2012
To which Suri replied:
@veeveeveeveevee hah dag, my bad dont even remember saying that shit.
— Himanshu K Suri (@HIMANSHU) December 3, 2012
Suri and Vazquez first met while students at Wesleyan University. They formed Das Racist with “hype man” Dapwell (Ashok Kondabolu) when they reconnected in Brooklyn after college. They released two “mixtapes” in 2010, Shut up Dude and Sit Down, Man and one “album,” Relax, last year.
This year, while continuing to sometimes tour as a group, Heems and Kool A.D. each released two solo mixtapes. In addition, Heems continued to push releases by other promising atypical hip-hop artists on his Greedhead record label including Big Baby Gandhi, Lakutis, and Mayhem Lauren.
While Das Racist’s career as a group appears to be over after a mere couple years, they’ve already made a huge impact in expanding the horizons of hip-hop and the spirit of their group seems to live on in their various solo works, affiliated artists etc. The perfect distillation of the charms and the worldview of Das Racist to me remains their 2011 track “Rapping 2 U” featuring Greedhead labelmate Lakutis, which contains this perfect stanza from Heems:
“They called us joke rap
We kinda weed rap
We just like rap
We don’t even need rap
Could get a real job only rap weekly
I don’t need rap, told you, rap need me!”