Album review: Das Racist's 'Sit Down, Man'

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Das Racist "Sit Down, Man"

Kindred spirits: Beastie Boys, Digable Planets, Jay Electronica

Show: Friday at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Doors open at 8:30. 202-388-7625. www.rockandrollhoteldc.com. $12.

In the early days of rap, words were king. For pioneers like Kurtis Blow and Doug E. Fresh, the mouth was a major part of the beat. Sure, there was music, but rhyme ruled. With Brooklyn-based Das Racist, old-school rap is back. The trio's new album, "Sit Down, Man," relies on a bevy of clever rhymes and pop-culture references that make for a fantastic listen.

Much has been made of Das Racist: Is it joke-rap or is there a serious message? On "Hahahaha jk?" they rap, "We're not jokin, just jokin, we are jokin." But no matter, the rhymes flow effortlessly, and each track is full of surprises and rhythm changes.

"Sit Down, Man" often combines the bravado of the Beastie Boys with the bottom heaviness of Digable Planets. It recalls the era of Sucka MC call-outs, with rhymes delivered so forcefully and endlessly that it's hard to imagine cramming so much in one breath.

The album is a word web of pop-culture references - Toucan Sam, Google, Peggy Noonan and Dwight Schrute - and samples are everywhere. Strong tracks include "Puerto Rican Cousins," which samples Sister Sledge, and "Amazing," with the irresistible line "I'm like Don King, I gets my promote on/I'm smooth, you rappers need lotion." Das Racist makes danceable music out of utterly non-danceable references, and in the end, that it just sounds good is all that matters.

- Benjamin Opipari


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