In 2012 I had the pleasure of inteviewing JASON NEWMAN, one of the founders of Hip Hop Karaoke–the first event of its kind in the world. Since 2004 HHK has paid tribute to hip hop music and culture at NYC venues ranging from Brooklyn Bowl to Irving Plaza, giving brave souls a chance to channel their inner MC. Below are excepts from our conversation. This Friday HHK returns to Brooklyn Bowl. MORE DETAILS HERE.
This is lightly-edited transcript of a paper I delivered at the 2012 IASPM-US/EMP conference at New York University. If the Internet is to be believed, the music of Das Racist can simultaneously be categorized as stoner rap, thinking man’s rap, slacker rap, nerd rap, hipster rap, political rap, joke rap, meme rap, free association rap, rap for white kids, multicultural rap, ironic rap, post-ironic rap, and even post-post-ironic rap. While these categories aren’t mutually exclusive, this categorical clusterfunk points to the most common trope regarding Das Racist—that is, that they defy easy categorization. As one online commentator asks, “does this band want me to dance, to laugh, or to join a protest? Can I do all of those things at once?” DR themselves label their music “a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B” on the track “Don Dada” (the title itself is a mashup and puns on the art-world mothers of the mashup) with Himanshu Suri aka Heems shrugging off efforts to untangle the knots: “you can try to comprehend it, dawg, why bother.”