Tag Archives: le1f

Das Racist at The DNA Lounge (12/10/2012)

19 Oct

You take Das Racist, a ridiculous alternative hip-hop group whose humour, all-over-the-place allusions and stream-of-consciousness style of rap would never fly were they not so good at it and put them on a stage with Le1f, Lakutis and unheard-of Oakland artist Safe and you might expect something special. I certainly hope not though, because they gave me what was by far the worst concert I’ve attended this side of Euphoria.

Expectations

It is possible that you, the reader, may not really know of Das Racist. Despite flirting with breaking through many times, they never really managed that final step that puts a band on everybody’s lips.

These are really smart guys. Their lyricism is undeniable, and their subject matter is unique. Intelligence though is worthless unless paired with some skill and not only do these guys have flow on the level of half of the rappers you see owning the charts, but they pair it with consistently sick beats. Put everything together and you get the freshest feel in rap since Eminem first started dropping records. They might not be big, but they certainly deserve to be. With concerts like this though, you can understand why the reality is rather different.

The Club

The club is probably the best place to start. I don’t need to ask, I know they got it from the hellhole store. The concert was slated to start at 10PM and yet until midnight the club was owned by Crap DJ + Friends. I wish that I could call those Friends amateur rappers. Amateur implies some desire to become skilled, some promise of quality. The only thing I could hope for from these people was that they would stop. On the plus side, they gave me time to catch up on work and meet some nice, new people. Meeting people at concerts can be hard, but when you have as good an opening topic as how terrible that DJ was, things become easy.

To add to the pain, the place was a true hipster dive. Hipsters are like hippos, you see them on television and every now and again you will see one in captivity, but until you meet a whole herd of them in their natural habitat, you can never realise how truly irritating they are. I don’t even want to make the standard jokes as that would only trivialize the incredible hate I now feel for them. I am never going down that area of San Francisco again.

Safe

We gained a bit of a respite from the sonic sludge of that DJ with Safe, an Oakland R&B artist. He was okay and anything was better than what was playing before, but I would not track him down. I honestly wouldn’t even listen to him again. I might even change the channel if he was playing on the radio. However, he was as the music of the spheres compared to what came before, and sadly what came right after.

Lakutis

After a little more quality time with DJ I-don’t-need-to-be-good-if-I-look-hipster-enough, we finally got to see someone known. Admittedly it was Lakutis, the Cappadonna to DR’s Wu-Tang Clan, but he’s something, isn’t he? If stoned out of his mind counts as something, then he most certainly was something. He just wasn’t very good. At one point, he jumped into the crowd and refused to return, leaving his poor friend on the beats stranded. That was probably the only memorable part of his thankfully brief time alone on stage. His friend did manage some decent jokes though. All told though, not really best of the best of the best of the best ahh.

Le1f

Le1f is a full-on internet celebrity. Not content with merely producing such things as Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, he plunged into the public eye with Wut. He also makes for a pretty impressive stage presence.

He ended with Wut and while the rest of his set is nowhere near that level, it still made for quite an enjoyable piece. He may not have the portfolio to follow Kanye and Drake from behind the beats to in front of the mic, but he was there and he was good. Also, whatever else one says about him, his performance certainly gets interesting.


Das Racist

Finally, we had DR themselves take the stage. They threw down a pretty strong set list. Starting with Who’s That? Brooown! they also went through some of their strongest stuff, like Rainbow in the Dark, Rapping 2 U, Amazing, Brand New Dance and Michael Jackson. These are all great stuff for a club and great songs to sing along with. Singing along though requires the rappers to actually be singing though.

To be fair, Dap did an incredible amount and sang pretty much every word of every song into his distorter. Heems and Kool A.D. though seemed happy to let the crowd do all the work though. In hindsight, Das Racist is not really a band that is at its best live. They need the beats to balance with the vocals and they need you to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate their lyrical wit. However, they could have tried. They were clearly stoned, but they seemed far from incapacitated. They just came off as callous.

There’s not really much more to say. They would have been disappointing all by themselves. They certainly weren’t worth all the wasted time waiting for them. When the crowd knew every lyric and DR let us sing the whole thing, it felt in parts like a celebration of what they have become. It felt more like a statement of why they will never be anything more.

More New Tracks to Impress Your Friends

27 Jul

For those who appreciated our earlier such venture, and for those of you just joining us, we present to you a list of five songs that were on perpetual repeat this week. Here we go.

Constant Conversations, by Passion Pit

In one of the first articles on this site, we talked about Passion Pit’s “I’ll Be Alright”, a frantic pop song that slyly talked about self-loathing. This time, we shall hope to introduce you to “Constant Conversations”, which is quite removed from being a pop song: in fact, it’s an R&B jam.

“Constant Conversations” has measured R&B beats as the foundation (“constant”), layered with lead singer Michael Angelakos’ pained confessions of failure (“conversations”). While this is a pretty common theme on Passion Pit songs, one usually sees Angelakos restraining himself on the gloominess. Here, though, he goes all out.

 

These are the kind of confessions that come out when you’re inebriated, and Angelakos confirms this: “I never wanna hurt you baby, I’m just a mess with a name and the price/ And now I’m drunker then before they told me drinking doesn’t make me nice,” he says, and you know there’s no inhibitions here. While the vintage R&B layering is spectacular – Boyz II Men and Usher have got nothing on Passion Pit – what really steals the show is the heartbreaking chorus. Brilliant way to start your way into Gossamer.

Fineshrine, by Purity Ring

Corin Roddick and Megan James

Purity Ring is an electronic band from Canada, composed of singer Megan James and instrumentalist Corin Roddick. Since April, when their astonishing debut Shrines released, they’ve become famous for dreamy, elegant, clean electro-pop with strange song titles– for example, “Ungirthed”, “Obedear” and “Amenamy”. The song we like best is “Fineshrine”, a graceful synth-pop song with slick beats and a voice like Elizabeth Fraser’s on “Teardrop”.

To describe any further would be to do no justice for the song: James’ peculiar phrasings and porcelain vocals need to be heard to be appreciated. Imagine if MGMT released a song featuring Norah Jones, and you’ll only be halfway to imagining “Fineshrine”.

 
Jumanji, by Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks is a 21-year-old rapper from Harlem, New York. She has a fascination with mermaids, and sounds like the biggest riot since MIA hit the scene. “Jumanji” is a single from her mixtape Fantasea, and featured on the single cover is a children’s-book-like image of Ms. Banks dancing with a very dapper elephant. Frankly, that image says all you need to know about “Jumanji”. The beats on this song sound half like a ferocious jungle and half like an children’s birthday party, but they anyway take a back seat to the mind-boggling flow of Azealia’s rhymes.

Ms. Banks has more swag than Nicki Minaj, better flow than Kanye, and enough braggadocio to rival Jay Z. Her beats include dramatic drums, plinky calypso, and gratuitous amounts of energy. She frequently chant-raps lines like “Real bitch, all day/ Uptown, Broadway” and “I do it ‘cause it’s my duty / Crazy and kinda spooky/ Yo boobie, step up ya coochie,” in a way that very few female rappers can pull off. If you think Nicki Minaj would do well to learn real swag like Lil’ Kim’s, then you’re going to like Azealia Banks.

Listen to it here.

Elephant, by Tame Impala

It’s easy to judge Tame Impala wrongly: to be fairly honest, their name sounds like hipster nonsense. But if ever a reason to not judge a book by its cover (or a band by its name), it is here: because Tame Impala is, in fact, a very good classic rock tribute band.

“Elephant”, the first single from the upcoming Lonerism album of the Perth, Australia band, starts off with heavy, stomping bass-and-drums and a voice that sounds like Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself. Seriously, we DARE you to listen to the first ten seconds of the song without being reminded of the Doors. And like any good stoner/psychedelic rock band, the lyrics are deliciously mystical and obtuse. “I bet he feels like an elephant, shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it,” goes the opening line, over a beat that feels like, well, an entire line of elephants shaking their big grey trunks for the hell of it. Spiffy.

 

Looking at the YouTube comments section for the video, there seems to be legions of fans trying to classify the song’s sound using the trusted “This is like that one classic rock band, but with a front man from a different band” formula. So far, good ones we’ve read include “Josh Homme fronting the Beatles”, “Syd Barrett fronting Black Sabbath” and “Wolfmother lead singer fronting Deep Purple”, but our contribution would have to be “Jim Morrison fronting Cream”. What do you think?

Wut, by Le1f

 

We’ll cut right to the chase. Here are three reasons to listen to this song immediately:

1. It has the slickest beats you’ll hear all year: a mixture of alarm bells, vuvuzelas and handclaps that will (and I guarantee this) get stuck in your head.

2. Le1f is signed to Greedhead, the record label run by Himanshu Suri, who is one-half of Das Racist, who as we all know are the coolest people on the Internet.

3. Le1f is a ludicrously flamboyant gay black rapper who raps – or rather, brags – about being a ludicrously flamboyant gay black rapper.

“Wut” is the first song from his mixtape Dark York for which Le1f has released a music video, and good God, what a spectacular music video it is. At one point, Le1f grinds on the thigh of a male mannequin who just happens to be wearing a Pikachu mask. Shockingly, you hardly notice all of that, because your jaw is too busy dropping at Le1f’s flow: he spits out seventy (!) words of spectacular swagger in ten seconds (we counted).

Of course, like any self-respecting rap music video, “Wut” has a couple of busty women who are strutting their stuff for you, but it’s pretty ironic here, because Le1f struts his stuff along with them – plus he’s got way better moves than them anyway. Yes, he’s gay (understatement) but it’s amazing how he brags about it, brazenly, the same way 50 Cent brags about his cars and women or Snoop about his weed and women or Kanye about Louis Vuitton and women.  “I’m the kind of jawn closet dudes wanna go steady on,” he boasts, before going on to explain, “I make a neo-Nazi kamikaze want to firebomb.” He’s right.

Agree with our list? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section!

- Neeharika.

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