Watch Kool A.D. splurging on the non-sequiturs in his new video, ‘Al Green’
Victor Vasquez, a.k.a. Kool A.D., a.k.a one third of Das Racist, is a self proclaimed "semi realistic, semi impressionistic dipshit". He’s also exactly what the rap game needs.
Kool A.D.'s track ‘Al Green’ was released in the same week that Jaden Smith’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)’ appeared on youtube and promptly received over 700,000 views (and counting). Meanwhile, in the same time frame Kool A.D.'s video attracted 800 views. Young Jaden spits over a beefed up version of the tween friendly anthem ‘Pumped up Kicks’, talking nonchalantly about how fantastic he is, how cool his friends are, and how he occasionally likes to pose next to a skateboard. According to Jaden ‘everyone is trying to get like’ him, while his song masks its performer behind a veneer of buzz band samples and market research trends, leaving the audience with no idea if Jaden is a human being or the latest firmware upgrade to pop-rapper-bot 3000. It’s all part of a completely recognizable, tired and tested formula.
Is this what’s popular? Is Jaden’s track rap music at its most cynical? Does it have to be this way? At least when OPM wheeled out the ‘skateboarding-is-cool’ gimmick in an effort to shift units, they had the good sense to sample a great song.
Far over at the other end of the musical spectrum is Victor Vasquez of the group Das Racist. New York City native Victor, or Kool A.D. opens ‘Al Green’ by telling the listener explicitly not to imitate him. From there he delves down a rabbit hole of scatter gun pop culture references, verbal trickery, stutters, false starts and references to ‘Bob Creeley’. Even a seemingly throwaway line like ‘stack pancakes / Mike Bickle’ ties an evangelical church pastor’s money making activities to a popular American pancake chain by way of a shared acronym. The track’s beat bumps and shocks with ingenious ease, and even the ballet dancer (Samantha Miller) is based at Princeton University. This ain’t no middle of the mall ‘ish. It’s a cerebral, funny and elusive record, unlike ‘Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)’ which is exactly as boring as it looks.