Das Racist — “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”

Released: 6.9.11

Peak: Did not chart

Here we have what seems like exactly the sort of internet novelty blip that annoys all the right people. (By whom I mean, of course, “not me.” The internet novelty blips that I–and, I’m sure, you, wise reader—hate are wholly deserving of opprobrium.) The lyrics aren’t solely limited solely to “I’m at the Pizza Hut ( What?)/ I’m at the Taco Bell (What?)/ I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” but aside from a few stray adlibs (“I don’t see you here dog”), an occasional shift to second person plural, and confirmation that both rappers are in the correct (Jamaica Avenue) establishment, that’s what Das Racist’s got to say.

The smarts are right there in their name; the fun comes from wondering if these are smart guys playing dumb, or smart guys disguising smart as dumb. (I pick option A.) If you wanted to be fancy about it, you could say Heems and Kool A.D. are working in a minimalist vein, exploring how many variations can be worked on a simple string of words, like the Philip Glasses of alt-web-hop. No need to be fancy though, ’cause that really is what they’re doing, though (probably?) without the highfalutin rationale—mining comedy from repeated shifts in intonation. Even more repetitive is the staccato pulse, like an electronically augmented pipe clang, threatening but never quite achieving breakdown throughout.

So there was evidence that Das Racist might be more than an internet novelty blip, if not that they’d be able to make a career of it, even before they showed their hand as lyrical maximalists on their mixtapes. And they were great interviews, whether shaming the Times’ shameless Deborah Solomon (“Would we even be on the page of this publication if we had not gone to Wesleyan?”) or, responding, when the Voice’s Rob Harvilla asked them if they feared being pigeonholed as “fast-food rappers”: “There are at least three other things we talk about.”

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