Das Racist at Triple Rock, 4/5/12

Das Racist
With Spyder Baybie Raw Dogg and 2% Muck, Illuminous 3

Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Thursday, April 5, 2012

It was hard to know what to expect at Das Racist's first Minneapolis appearance. The group's cryptic and comedic approach to post-modern hip-hop is so goofy, strange and listless that the translation to stage could've played out a number of ways. It wound up sitting closer to a traditional rap show, with more light-hearted fun than many rappers allow themselves.

The quick-moving local openers made for a smoothly run show without a lot of dragging moments. DJ Neuport started the night off with some left-field instrumental tracks which brought some crazy wall-shaking bass. Host Lizzo introduced lluminous 3, sans Franz Diego ("We're Illuminous 2/3rds tonight"), who came out to prep the crowd with a short but sweet set, who responded well despite not seeming to know what they meant by "Wag." They were followed by Spyder Babyie Raw Dogg and 2% Muck, whose loose and fun dirty raps fit well in the context of the New York weirdos. There was some decent energy in the packed crowd through opening both sets, especially during Mictlan's guest appearance on "Scottie Pippen" with Spyder Baybie, but Spyder still seemed a bit annoyed that he wasn't getting enough. This seems to happen about three quarters into every set I've seen him do. 

After doing a duo with Spyder Baybie to close out his set, Lizzo introduced Das Racist, who weren't ready to come out just yet. Heems appeared after minutes of crowd noise to say that they'd "be right back;" Lizzo said she didn't know what they were doing back there and that she couldn't legally say. After setting up a projector that displayed internet-age psychedelic images (Beyonce plus aliens, loops of Arnold Schwarzenegger screaming, pixelated Peanuts characters, crucified goatheaded men burning in hell), the trio came out full force with "Who's That? Brooown!" -- the legitimate banger that ought to silence any Das Racist naysayers. The people stayed hype into "Brand New Dance," which is far more lazily rapped but actually seemed to have more hands raised. The energy stayed mostly high, except when people seemed confused by what the hell the group was talking about. There was plenty of between set banter that weaved between funny and head-scratching, and thankfully these are genuinely entertaining dudes whether rapping or not.

The set shied away from the '80s-inspired dancy tracks from Relax, focusing mostly on straight-ahead rap tracks, if any of their material can really be called that. With songs that reference things like Maya Angelou's bubble butt and daikon radishes in quick succession, it's easy to see why some dismiss this as parody, but it's next to impossible not to get buck during a song like "Michael Jackson." Even the laid-back Victor decided it was time to stage dive during the highlight track. While every song is a riff of sorts on hip-hop culture, it sure as shit still bangs. Especially with Dapwell (who received a cake from the Triple Rock backstage for his birthday) playing hypeman, complete with warped vocal mics and frenetic stage presence, their stage show is mocking but sincere and certainly a lot of fun. 

Victor bird danced and did overlong call and responses with the audience ("when I say Sandra, ya'll say Bullock..."; uh, sure) while Heems preferred strumming his microphone like a ukulele and performing "tiny little dances" ("you can lean with it or rock with it, whatever you want, but nothing big, keep it little"). Horse neighs and jaguar sounds replaced airhorns and were cued with abandon. Part of the group's schtick is the post-everything murkiness that makes it hard to tell if they're serious or not, but even through that veneer, you could tell they were having as much fun as we were. 

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I hated Das Racist when I first heard "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" but came around once I heard them actually rap on their mixtapes.

The Crowd: Somewhat diverse brands of hipster

Overheard In The Crowd: Frustrated it didn't get performed, a group of five guys started singing "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" on their own.

Random Notebook Dump: I got to be the target of a snarky tweet thanks to the presence of my notebook. 


Who's That? Brooown!
Brand New Dance
Rapping 2 U
American Rap Song
Hugo Chavez
Relax (over Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive")
You Oughta Know
Michael Jackson


Ek Shaneesh
Rainbow In The Dark

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