December 22, 2009
Das Racist | “Rainbow in the Dark”
“Catch me in the crib gettin light to Jeff Mangum / It’s fun to do bad things like rhyme about handguns”
While this might be nothing more than an ironic joke by a hyperliterate hipster MC, it’s also possible that this lyric is a statement of fact, a declaration of the duo’s contradictory disregard/celebration of both hip-hop and indie culture. And if you’re watching the newly released video for the song (which mostly takes place in what looks like a Queens area thrift store) you are probably confused. Is this is a joke video, an ironic video, or an ironically serious video? Are these two actually commenting on anything? Why do they rap about fast food so much?
And speaking of fast food, if you heard anything about Das Racist (Himanshu Suri and Victor Vazquez) before it was probably because of their song “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” an Internet sensation that went viral last spring and consisted of the two MC’s repeating variations of the line “We’re at the Pizza Hut / We’re at the Taco Bell / We’re at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”, over a frantic and repetitious dance beat. Some people called it clever, some called it criminally stupid, some even called it transcendent. Personally, I’m still not sure how to feel about the song. Most likely it is a combination of all the things said about it: a brilliant/inane/infectious/annoying dance song/social commentary that has nothing to do with dance music and comments on absolutely nothing.
And that’s probably a good starting point for understanding what Das Racist is trying to do. Their video, in its self-aware garishness and gritty humility, is deconstructing both the good and bad parts of hip-hop and giving us something brand new and confusing: something that has nothing to do with Jeff Mangum or rhyming about handguns, but is completely comfortable with the innate contradiction of liking both of those things. At one point in the song, after a line about playing Donkey Kong Country at Don King’s cousin’s house (?), Vasquez tells us “You don’t even know what it’s about”. And that’s true – I don’t know what this is about. But it sure is something.
Video after the jump.
by Tom Mooseker