Music is full of breakup songs but few have ever captured the sound and emotion of decaying memories and blossoming heartache and like “Home”. As 1/2 of the former indie-rap powerhouse Das Racist, Heems established himself early as a captain of swagger, flow, and honesty. I guess I just never expected it to ever come out so beautful. But damn I glad it did. Read more
i can’t control the butterfly
When Das Racist’s Kool A.D. dropped his mixtape around new years I listened once and then moved on. Months later I’m doing some iTunes cleaning and stumble on this mp3 with no artist name. Damn, what a smooth groover! A bit of research and I find out it was a mislabeled track from that mixtape The Palm Wine Drinkard. Weird but awesome! So enough fascinating stories from me. Zone out to this one already and just forget everything I said. I already have.
Awesome. I’ve never got into Chairlift but I am really liking the sounds they are making here.
Yes! In time for NYE! This is my favorite year-end list to make because its obviously the most fun. And I give it the least amount of stress. Read on for Read more
my fingers crossed, the small of your back, my head in your chest but i’m taller than that
People have a complicated relationship with hip-hop jokesters Das Racist and I’m no exception. I have always loved them, but not always loved their music. Their first 2 mixtapes have 37 tracks between them and exactly 3 ever got regular play in my iTunes. That’s not the best track record. But somehow previous projects, solo stuff, and a brilliant blog kept my respect meter high for the guys. So needless to say I was a little nervous about diving into their first proper LP, Relax. First single “Michael Jackson” (below) was loud, spastic, and abrasive and I couldn’t wrap my brain around how it fit into the canon of the Das Racist I knew.
However, once I Relaxed (sorry) and listened to the album I was more that happy. Das Racist really pulled their shiz together here, leaving behind the under-produced beats and fleshing out all the jams. Plus we already know the lyrics are always hilarious and on point. Relax packs a lot of treats into one LP, never relying on one tempo or style for too long. “Girl” (above) brings the beat with a big glossy banger style, “Happy Rappy” packs twisted verses over minimal production that adds just enough rhythm, and “Punjabi Song” goes straight Bollywood on our asses. There are plenty other standouts (“Booty In The Air,” old favorite “Rainbow In The Dark,” “even “Michael Jackson” is getting me pumped lately) but the whole album holds its own. Some fans are turned off by the increased production and poppier shift from their mixtapes but for me that’s only a plus. Guys this sharp would be relevant even if their music wasn’t accesible but having it heard by millions is even better.
yo i think they don’t usually like violence, they like to roll their eyes when i tell ’em i be rhymin’
As the half of Das Racist who doesn’t already have a side project, Heems gets up to some stuff. And thank goodness that he does because as a result the Hitch-obsessed hip-hop-head has bestowed this gem upon us (curious punctuation included). Heems waxes poetic about the many virtues and facets of the fairer sex, giving dudes everywhere an anthem to sing to their ladies. And sing loud and proud we shall. Thanks womyn. And thanks Heems. Das Racist’s first official album will be out September and appropriately titledRelax.
(And thanks to Stereogum for the album art)
Don’t slumber at Tumblr
For more jams by any of these artists use the ‘tags’ links at the bottom of the post!
NEW RELEVENT JAMS
♫ Peter Bjorn & John – Breaker Breaker / PBnJ are back and wielding way more buzzsaw like-ability than on their last sleeping pill! Wooo! Second taste “Second Chance” is also a jam! Gimmie Some is out 3/29.
♫ The Forms – Fire To The Ground [ft. Matt Berninger] / A little more Read more
It’s a new year and a lot of good stuff piled up over the holidays. Considering it’s the 18th Digest, today is the 18th (close enough…), and I have 18 tracks, I think this is some kind of perfect Digest or something. Dig in. But really, dig. There are some real gems in the mix down there.
For more by any of these artists use the ‘tags’ links at the bottom of the post!
NEW RELEVENT JAMS
♫ Passion Pit – All These Trees / Passion Pit drop a new one through American Express ZYNC. I keep waiting for the song to start but it ends up being all build, no climax. Still nice to hear our boys back in the mix.
rock yabba dabba do, cut swagger dagger do, swing vance bagger do, good pig that’ll do
If you haven’t caught it yet there is a new free Das Racist mixtape, Sit Down, Man, yes the second one this year. The 20 track collection boasts bigger name producers like Diplo, Chairlift, and Boi-1da and a bunch of guest spots. While there aren’t any standout solid gold tracks like “Rainbow in The Dark” or “You Oughtta Know,” the disk is overall more solid. Das Racist have honed their skills and dropped some of the more grating goofball bullshit in favor of spitting hilarious brain twisting rhymes over all variety of minimal funky beats. You may have caught “Hahahaha, jk?” or “Fashion Party” on other blogs but it’s “Amazing” that butters my bun. It’s just creamy smooth. So read more thoughts on the mixtape if you have to, or read Heems op-ed piece on NBC’s Outsourced pilot, or just do the smartest thing and get yourself the mixtape for free and then kick back and soak in the rhymes.
Bury your face in MySpace
we drink liquor, we drink wine, you show me yours and i’ll show you mine
Now that Safe’s “Twenty Years On” has landed near the top of the best song’s of the year list, you may be wondering what else this wild-haired goat-enthusiast has to offer? Well wonder no further because he’s got a whole 10 song EP that he is offering for free download! The whole collection is delicate and sparse dreaminess that is perfect for a sleepy Sunday afternoon in the sun or just general mellow time. As if that endorsement wasn’t enough, remember that Safe is managed by, and on the label of, neighboring Best Song alums Das Racist. Completely different musical styles, but both bands landed in the top 3 of this years list. They are doing something right over at Greenhead Records! Anyway, back to Safe. The Safe EP is groovy hazy awesomeness that awaits your ears and is also available on cassette and VHS for those inclined! Get on it and enjoy some music that wont make you sweat so much!
Bury your face in MySpace
As I’ve been compiling this best songs list I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a great track. Last year I went by play counts to determine what songs I “loved” the most but this year I noticed that the list that came out didn’t really match my perception of my favorites. A lot of my top played songs this year are indeed great songs, but they also happen to be on a great album so they get played by themselves as well as in the course of the album. So I got to thinking about which are the tracks that I seek out, that I crave, that I have to hear every night before bed or every morning to wake up. Those are the songs that make up this list. Songs that for whatever reason hooked me to the point where I need(ed) them in my life this year. Those great albums (and their highlight jams) will get their moment but for now we celebrate the song, or as Read more
the best rapper is b real. jokes, it’s us. come on, be real.
”Interesting” is one of those words that is usually used to describe music that is not worthy of any higher praise but in the case of Das Racist that isn’t the case… and sometimes it is. I always preferred the Wallpaper remix over the original of last year’s blog-storming ”Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell” but now these Brooklyn dudes are back with their first official release, the Shut Up Dude mixtape and it’s got some serious flavor. The best thing about Das Racist is their absolute lack of swagger. These guys are all the fresher because you will never find them posturing or acting ‘hard’ like so many hip-hop stars. The video below for ”Rainbow In The Dark” is such a refreshingly lo-fi affair and illustrates my point well. The song itself is the kind of jam I like crank loud at night and let the beats shake my hooptie as I rap along feeling way cooler than I am. Then there is ”You Oughta Know” which packs a sick beat, delivery that gets me laughing every time, and rapping that is like a game of free association that goes oh so right. The rest of the mixtape is hit and miss but almost always ‘interesting,’ especially on ”Fake Patois” where Victor and Himanshu rap in a fake patois accent about people who use ridiculous fake patois accents. Their approach to the medium of rap is always a great listen (as well as read) as their lyrics are always even-handedly praising and satirizing. Anyway, just listen for yourself. The mixtape is FREE.
I don’t know about you but 2009 was the year I fell in live with remixes. Starting TBE opened up my world to so many amazing reinterpretations of both great and not so great songs. Having always been more of a cover song guy this was new territory for me but I dove in headfirst and have been enjoying the ride so far. Good music is a personal thing and messing with great music is even more so. This is very much a subjective list and is based on nothing besides how much I love and respect the work done. Oh, and the numbering system is pretty much bullshit but I had to put them in some kind of order. Anyway, enjoy. I certainly have.
every single part of you is built like a weapon
A part of me feels like Boy Crisis might be my new favorite band. Why reserve hesitation on the subject? Because I can’t find their debut album any-fucking-where! I scoured the interwebs and dug up a few jams but I want more damn it, more! I want to review the album! (you listening guys?) Boy Crisis only made their way through my ears recently when “Dressed To Digress” was hyped as the dancey side project of one half of Das Racist. (I’m sold already.) Upon falling hard for that track, and then even harder for “Fountain Of Youth,” I now feel like a tween girl when I yell “I’m having a Boy Crisis!” on the walk to work in the morning. I guess I should phrase it differently but I am too busy busting fresh dance moves and kissing other people’s grandmas. Yeah, this music is that good. As are both versions of the video.
Boy Crisis went to Wesleyan University MGMT and have been drawing unfair comparisons to the art-douche duo. Lest you think Boy Crisis are a similarly educated 3-hit wonder I have included the sex-fest “Strawberries” and can also vouch for the gritty magic of “L’homme.” Oh, and “Strawberries” includes the lyric “don’t you know I wanna smack that like it owes me money.” Epic. MGMT’s crowning lyric was “Shock me like an electric eel.” Ouch. I think “PWNED!” is what the kids are saying these days? Anyway, MGMT-boners can get bent because I don’t care about your tears, these guys make everyday a party and that’s where I want to be.
Bury your face in MySpace
How freaking crazy is it that 2009 is already halfway over? What a crazy year so far, in so many ways, the least of which is all of the fantastic, surprising, and sometimes disappointing music that has come our way. TBE will be 5 months old in a week and we have been chronicling most of the year’s jams. Here are my top 20.9. I guarantee you wont agree with all of them but doesn’t that just make our friendship that much more deep and meaningful? Just so we are clear how I arrived at this particular order, I’ve selected my favorites from my top listens each month and then ordered them purely by total play count. I know that’s confusing but whatever, the list is after the jump.