Album Review: Himanshu/Kool A.D.

At the end of last year, Das Racist announced that each of its three members would be releasing solo mixtapes in 2012. It’s only early February, but two of the members have already released them! How do they expect the world to keep up with this much Das Racist? Nobody knows. All that we can know is that so far, the count is 2 wins, 0 losses.

First released this year was The Palm Wine Drinkard by Kool A.D.. Das Racist has been known for some pretty kooky references (just try and count all of them in their single “Michael Jackson”). This mixtape is named after the Nigerian novel by Amos Tutuola. The book follows an African man into the land of the Dead, and is partially based on Yoruban folktales. The work is supposedly a commentary on Western consumerism from the African perspective. Kool A.D.’s song of the same name hosts none of these messages. Rather, it’s a seven minute, totally badass reggae instrumental mix of Outkast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”.

Kool A.D.’s mixtape is a mess. It’s all over the place, mixing equal parts noisy experimental wordless jams and catchy, silly singalong. But hey! This is why we love Das Racist, right? On this mixtape, Kool seems content to do what he wants whether or not you end up listening to it (which you should, because it’s awesome), which makes it fun and interesting in its own right. Highlight tracks include a great remix of Das Racist’s “Booty in the Air” and the smoothed-out “A Ganglion of Lightnings”. The mixtape is ridiculous, but it’s also ridiculously fun. You can grab The Palm Wine Drinkard here.

Heems (here under his actual name, Himanshu) takes an entirely different approach to Nehru Jackets. His mixtape is of the traditional sense – over twenty tracks, skits that don’t make any sense, ridiculous samples, and cameo verses than you can shake a stick at. The result is 73 minutes of slaphappy Queens rap that will have you bobbing your head while chilling you out.

Heems had released the two singles on the mixtape, “SWATE” and “Womyn”, before its release. The versions we see here are cleaned up to perfection. “SWATE” is still among the most memorable tracks with a killer of a hook that will find you singing along upon hitting the repeat button. “Kate Boosh”, featuring Despot and the aforementioned Kool A.D. would have been right at home on Das Racist’s older mixtape Shut Up, Dude. But “You Have To Ride the Wave” will undoubtedly get the most attention, with its spastic beat and guest spots by Danny Brown and Mr. M*********n’ eXquire. You can grab Nehru Jackets here.

So far, the 2012 Das Racist solo mixtapes have kept fans satisfied. When third member Dap drops his, we’ll be waiting. In the meantime, watch Das Racist’s schizophrenic video for their single “Michael Jackson”:

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