“Relax” (2011) by Das Racist

When three middle-class college students from New York City released “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” in 2008, their immediate rise to fame on the Internet went hand in hand with their dismissal as a novelty rap group – one of the worst things that can happen to a band after a debut single. In 2010, Das Racist countered these labels with two highly respectable mixtapes, Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man; the former bravely including the aforementioned song that gave them the novelty label in the first place. Inevitably, however, the question that has lingered around Das Racist since 2008 still remains – are they for real?

Let’s take track 8 as an example. “Booty In The Air”. Horribly catchy synthesizer hooks and hand claps provide backing to such insightful lyrics as “She got her booty in the air like her booty was a cloud/And when her booty clap, you know the booty clap loud.” Then follows what I can only assume is a reference to the infamous “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” with the chant “Booty in the air! Booty in the air! Booty in the air! Shake it all around!” Are they for real? Or is this an almost-too-conspicuous critique of pop music?

Exhibit B: “Punjabi Song”.  This begins with a Punjabi chorus courtesy of Bikram Singh, which is followed by “Get fucked up, get bud … Move it out, move it in/Okay, let me do it again”. Again, the question must be asked: Are they for real?

Personally, I would have to say that the majority of the songs on the record are pure satire, saturated with obscure references, absolutely magnificent rhymes and questionable segues. But it has to be asked: does it matter? Regardless of whether Relax is a satire, serious, or simply the product of a few too many THC-filled weekends, it stands as one of the freshest (albeit, not best) hip hop albums I’ve heard in quite a few years. If nothing else, Das Racist unquestionably have endless potential.



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