It’s pretty simple. You either get Das Racist, or you don’t. Whether or not you like their music is a whole other topic entirely, but songs like “Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell”, or more recently, “Michael Jackson”, either grow on your hypnotically, or grate on your nerves endlessly. Truth is, they’re meant to do both, with the Das Racist crew laughing all the way to the corner store bodega. As “threatening” as they look on the cover, truth be told, these cats are closer to De La Soul than Dead Prez. Hence the title, Relax.
Das Racist were best represented on their last mixtape album, Sit Down, Man, which really defined them as more than just “joke rap”, presenting dope beats and lyrics, while still maintaining their off-kilter sense of humor. Relax takes things a step further, really beginning to test the patience of the average backpacker, with an even more experimental approach to production and a sarcastic approach to song making.
Songs like “Brand New Dance” and “Middle Of The Cake” present hypnotic hooks and group’s usual brand of anti-pop culture infused rhymes, while the post-Def Jux collabos “Shut Up, Man” and “Power” round things out a bit, but truthfully their more seasoned guests, El-P and Despot steal the spotlight.
Unfortunately, this time around, it seems like the crew are more concerned with goofing on current musical trends than actually making truly great music themselves; something they accomplished simultaneously on their previous release. Songs like “Booty In The Air”, “The Trick”, and “Girl” take humorous jabs at the music scene, but the gimmick wears thin after a few listens. Meanwhile, there are simply too many moments like “The Punjabi Song” and “Selena”, which simply just go too far off into left field.
Das Racist are still a pleasure to listen to, simply based on their assuming attitudes and hilarious lyrics, but ultimately it’s something that is best in small doses. Perhaps their next project will hit that sweet spot that Sit Down, Man did, right at the crossroads of sharp witted commentary and musical brilliance.
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