Posted by
Victor Vazquez
• 02.10.10 11:00 am


Hi, I’m KOOL A.D. but my slave name is Victor Vazquez. I’m a rap artist in the group Das Racist. A while back, Das Racist’s Hype Man & Spiritual Adviser Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu was getting drunk with the UCH (Unexpectedly Cuban Homie; a person you kick it with for a while before you find out they’re Cuban, at which point you’re a little surprised but not that surprised) Jesse Domenech at a bar called The Lovin’ Cup.


All photos by Mackenzie Schmidt

Hi, I’m KOOL A.D. but my slave name is Victor Vazquez. I’m a rap artist in the group Das Racist. A while back, Das Racist’s Hype Man & Spiritual Adviser Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu was getting drunk with the UCH (Unexpectedly Cuban Homie; a person you kick it with for a while before you find out they’re Cuban, at which point you’re a little surprised but not that surprised) Jesse Domenech at a bar called The Lovin’ Cup. Jesse brought up the idea of a covers night in the venue behind Cameo Gallery. He asked Dap if Das Racist would be interested in participating. Dap said yeah, we could do Paul’s Boutique because it was one of his favorite albums and the first one that popped into his head. Dap brought it up with us and we were like, “Yeah, OK,” it being among our favorite albums as well. We set a date and posted the information on our internet website. Due to us being D-list internet celebrities (which is like L or M-list actual celebrities), the show was mentioned in a few publications and blogs and it became evident to us that people would actually show up to this thing.

Eventually we found ourselves on the day of the show listening to the album for the first time in a while, being like “Wow, huh…. What are we doing?”

We discussed what it might’ve been like if in the days prior, we had each picked a Beastie Boy and dedicated ourselves to practicing his specific lyrics over the instrumentals and concluded that that would’ve been boring and lame way of spending our time and that if we had to “do it all over again” we probably still would’ve been getting drunk and doing whip-its with that underage white girl at her parents’ summer home upstate all weekend. Naw, just playing. She was 19.

So yeah, we played the Paul’s Boutique CD and fucked around on stage for its duration. Understanding that this might rub some people the wrong way, we made sure to announce at the beginning of the show that we were donating the proceeds of the night to the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps to go to Haiti. People steadily streamed out of the room until the venue was left with a handful of people who were either confused, intrigued, endeared, ecstatically drunk or some combination of those (ourselves included).

A few people made a point to tell us they dug it, others made it a point to tell us and / or the internet the opposite. New York Magazine expressed their disappointment. The Village Voice responded (continuing the hilarious ongoing beef between the two publications over us) by essentially saying “Well, what did you expect?”

Though not a commercial success at the time of its a release, Paul’s Boutique has been commonly understood by music critics and fans as a masterpiece. With over a hundred musical samples from Idris Muhammed to The Ramones to Kurtis Blow to Pato Banton to the Beatles and with probably hundreds of lyrical references [Note: Hundreds of Lyrical References is third studio album from Das Racist] from Bob Dylan to Creedence Clearwater to Jimi Hendrix to Jack Henry Abbott to Martin Scorsese, the album has been described as “a post-modern epic,” “sprawling,” “dense,” “reckless,” “rambunctious,” “confrontational.”

While it can be argued that on Paul’s Boutique the Beastie Boys were defaming the multiple artists they sampled and referenced by co-opting their work and aesthetically vandalizing it with profanity and general irreverence, the people who see the album for the brilliant work that it is understand that the Beastie Boys (and the Dust Brothers) were celebrating that musical history and attempting to reconcile their experiences with that history and interact with those texts, while still having actual fun. They rap about smoking a cocaine-laced mentholated cigarette with Russell Simmons over a sample from Polish violinist Michal Urbaniak and his wife Urszula Dudziak’s fusion project Funk Factory. They wrote an entire song on the subject of throwing eggs at people over a sample from a Curtis Mayfield song about a man selling cocaine to escape poverty. Part of the Beastie Boys’ brilliance on this album (and on all of their albums) is — in addition to a fierce dedication to juxtaposing disparate sources, references and themes — a refusal to take themselves or anything else too seriously.

If we had bothered to learn the album in its entirety and “nailed” what would basically have been a karaoke cover set of that album, it would’ve just felt like a novelty; impressive on a certain level but ultimately boring. The task of consciously memorizing that album (as much as we all love it and have much of it unconsciously ingrained in our heads from years of casual listening), seemed pointless to us.

The way we’ve always interacted with Paul’s Boutique (or any rap album) has been sitting around rapping along to the parts we know and talking over the parts we don’t (“vibing” as the kids call it, or “building” as the Five Percent Nation calls it). It seemed only natural to attempt to convey that relationship by “vibing”/”building”/”fucking around” on stage, not so much performance art as “performance kicking it.” If the idea of covering someone else’s music is interpreting it and making it your own, then I can think of nothing that felt more natural then how we did what we did the other night. If a handful of kids in Williamsburg didn’t like it, that’s fine — at least they donated five dollars to the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps to go to Haiti.

Often times the glowing reverence for artworks popularly understood as great gels into a haze of cliche that obstructs an actual critical understanding of the artwork. There’s no shortage of works and acts that at one time enraged, confused or disappointed audiences and critics while being understood as somehow vital or at least interesting to an obscure cadre of contemporaries and later dubbed “seminal” and given a half-hearted nod of approval from snobs as those works and arts were assimilated into the dominant ideology of the day. We were attempting to, in our own way, interact with an album we love in a way that didn’t feel trite or overwrought.

The UCH Jesse Domenech sent us an email the following day saying, “If that would have been anything other then what it was, it would have been weird.”

So no, we don’t apologize for being lazy. Besides, “lazy” is such a negative term. How about “objecting to meaningless labor?” Sure, yeah.

-VICTOR VAZQUEZ


Comments
  1. Super Broker says:

    I don’t buy it man; I think you should honor your commitments and try to do a good job.

  2. JOHN SCHIUMO OF NY1 says:

    this is retarded. Stop Wesleyaning an excuse for your lame show. this is like when you go to an art show and there’s a piece that’s just one color, and the artist is like, “this represents my escape from depression and poverty, and serves as a reminder of the way that this society marginalizes blah blah blah” No, it represents that you’re an uncreative hack who is shitty at his artform

  3. Spare us... says:

    The beastie boys suck.

  4. Drippy dog dix and cum bubbles or something says:

    My head is spinning. So many quote marks. You are winking and nodding the whole time, are you trying to fuck me, or simply let me know how clever you are? I had to take cover from all the knowledge bombs…

  5. homeless. says:

    im gonna check out das rascist now, that was too ill.

  6. rocker says:

    i dont really mind that some show in brooklyn was under-rehearsed but that album is…
    just reading the title of this post got my mind falling over itself.

  7. Ziggy says:

    Dap’s the man

  8. Ziggy says:

    Also, please check out my website http://www.DiscountDugans.com

  9. taco truck says:

    instead of writing this novel explaining how high concept being a lazy prick is, you could’ve just memorized the album in the first place

    or maybe made some worthwhile music of your own and played that

  10. anonamonymous says:

    Dap’s a fucking douchebag. I met him for about 15 minutes when he was moving into my friend’s extra room. I told my friend that the guy was trouble, but noooooOOOOOoooo, he didn’t believe me. Thieving, high weirdos fucking around in the apartment at all hours, a guy fucking DIES in the living room, and finally Dap was removed from the household.

    Dap is a fucking DOUCHEBAG and so were all the friends that swarmed around him. If his band is anything like he is, it FUCKING SUCKS.

  11. bejee says:

    it constantly amazes me that no matter how MASSIVE the internet is, and how many miillions / BILLIONS of people are free to contribute to it, there is never really much going on.
    i mean, i check this site, and gawker and a few others regularly as a replacement for newspapers or magazines or whatever, but shit, isnt it weird how there is just FUCK ALL happening on the internet? i think it is. obviously.

  12. dapwell says:

    I am a terrible person. Apologies all around.

  13. LemonSqueezy says:

    Nothing like writing a long, obviously labored over post explaining how you are “lazy” and don’t “give a fuck”

    This was the blog equivalent of some douche who spends an hour in front of the mirror to make sure his hair looks like he just got out of bed

    Give it up bitch

  14. Clayton. says:

    I like that term ‘Wesleyaning’. I’m gonna use that.

  15. Jon G says:

    i support victor and his actions.

  16. bolo says:

    is it coincidental only white people think pauls boutique is the best hip hop album ever? that and I’m using the slave name reference from here on.

  17. butternuts says:

    @heems needs to go on a diet.

  18. Maximiizer says:

    Your band is amazing, I tried ditching E minor chords and brought in an MPCs instead. I mean your music is so cool that I dont want to massacre pigs anymore. WOW!!!!!!! FUCKING HELL HAVE YOU GUYS HEARD OF DAS RACIST?

  19. damn says:

    These guys are not attractive enough to be so flippant. Also, why does the skinny Latino guy look Indian and the fat Indian guy look Latino?

  20. victor says:

    ok i don’t usually like to get involved in “comments” shit but two things:

    1. lemonsqueezy, you moron, i wasn’t trying to say i don’t give a fuck, i was trying to say that despite coming off to some like i don’t give a fuck, i actually do in fact give a fuck. which is why i bothered to write this.

    2. (more importantly) anonamonymous, i think it’s wack that you’re using the death of a human being as an example to tell a bunch of strangers on the internet that someone you don’t know is a “douchebag.” that’s some personal shit, leave it alone.

  21. Yo says:

    Sitting on stage and rapping along half-heartedly to the ends of the more familiar rhymes on the album is not cool or a tribute or a tear down. It’s a fuck you to your fans, but not in a cool way. If you’re gonna celebrate the album, do something completely crazy or subversive. Didn’t have to be karaoke. And giving the money to Haiti doesn’t make up for a cop-out gig — I have given plenty of money to Haiti. I go to shows to forget about all the ill shit. We get it, you’re all literate and interesting and not like most other hip hoppers or indie rockers or whatever. Why not make some great art yourself, stuff that lives up to your lofty impression of yourselves.

  22. Dazzy says:

    Seems like a whole lot more time went into writing well thought out responses to the reaction to the show, than actually doing the show. It’s obvious that you all got a B.A. and are on that ‘Wesleyaning’ wax poetic shit that critics eat up. But dudes, a good show is a good show, which is what people want from bands. You either kicking it, or not. But using a bunch of semantics to justify a show that was dumb will not go back and change how you performed. But y’all do write real well, and do a great job of breaking down your critics with an exacto knife of dialectical repartee. Maybe you should go out next time and speak.

  23. but says:

    i stopped reading after the definition of UCH because that’s all i needed to get out of this.

  24. aiieeee says:

    Ashok Kondabolu is the new Kumail Nanjiani is the new Aziz Ansari

  25. dick.shit says:

    unbelievably over-hyped

  26. ROCKER says:

    i might be white and i might love that album but that doesnt make it any less good.

  27. Alex Kutch says:

    Alex k, his keyboards, and his ginger-self is hawt!

  28. sound says:

    “People steadily streamed out of the room until the venue was left with a handful of people who were either confused, intrigued, endeared, ecstatically drunk or some combination of those (ourselves included).” But it was still an awesome show?
    Then, you justify your lack of preparation with a theoretical diatribe and by donating the money to Haiti. How fucking manipulative is that?
    When someone sells me damaged goods, I want an apology and my money back, not a half-assed justification and a patronizing assurance that it’s all good because you gave the money to charity.

  29. There comes a time in life when you have to admit you were wrong and fucked up. Creating some parallel narrative describing the ‘artistic merits’ of procrastination, half-assery, etc. only works on some obsequious dick riders.

  30. White Dice says:

    It’s twisted to hate on Williamsburg, the only place this mess might even possibly go over.


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