hip hop

Das Racist's Kool A.D. and Dap: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Photo credit Das Racist
Kool A.D.

Das Racist is a Brooklyn-based hip hop trio known for tracks like "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" and "hahahaha jk?" They've referred to their particular approach to hip hop as "deconstructualist," combining humor, nonsequiturs, and culture theory. Their newest album, Relax, is due later this year. Victor Vazquez (aka Kool A.D.) and hype man Ashok Kondabolu (aka Dap) joined us in the studio.

JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guests, members of the hip hop group Das Racist, are a lot of different things. Heems, Kool AD and Dap are, in part, the heir to the playful smart identity politics of “Daisy Age”-era De La Soul. They're the men behind one of the most successful hip hop novelty records of the last couple of years, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” They were the only rappers in last year's Sundance Film Festival, at least that I'm aware of. They're MCs who drop social theorists' names casually into their lyrics, like no one in hip hop since Diggable Planets' second album, Blowout Comb. They're also three guys from Williamsburg, who apparently like to drink and smoke weed. Let's hear a little bit of “hahahaha jk?” from their most recent mix tape, Sit Down, Man.

Two of the three members of Das Racist, Kool AD and Dap join me on the show. Welcome, guys.



Click here for a full transcript of this interview.

Dan Charnas, Author of The Big Payback: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Dan Charnas

Dan Charnas is a veteran of the hip hop business and one of a few early writers of hip hop journalism. His newest book is The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop.

JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is Dan Charnas. He’s held basically every position there is to hold, outside of artist, in the world of hip hop; and has made the transition from a record company guy to writer. His new gargantuan book is, I think, one of the better books about hip hop I’ve ever read. It’s called the Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop. Dan Charnas, thanks for being on The Sound of Young America.

DAN CHARNAS: Thanks for having me.

JESSE THORN: The obvious question is: there are all these books of hip hop history, such as Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and Brian Coleman’s Check the Technique and a million others; why did you think it was important to write a book that was specifically about the business side of hip hop?

DAN CHARNAS: That’s a really good question. I want to note that Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop was really one of the big inspirations for writing this book, because what Jeff did was - - he really wrote the first linear history of the culture and more specifically of the generation. None of the great books of hip hop really talked about how the records were made; not in terms of how they were made in the studio, but how the artists got signed, how they got developed, how they got pushed out into the world. But then the larger question of how did this obscure street culture that nobody knew about from the streets of New York become, within 30 years, the world’s predominant pop culture and a multi-billion dollar business. You can’t tell that story, which is a great American story, without talking about the business people.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.

TSOYA Classics: Grind Time (October 6th, 2006)


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Grammy-winning rapper Killer Mike is a native of Adamsville, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. Since debuting on the Outkast single "The Whole World" in 2001, he has emerged from the shadow of his legendary mentors, combining a ferocious delivery with lyrical density in a manner reminiscent of Ice Cube in his hey-day. He recently released "I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind," a two-CD "street album" with his crew, Grind Time Rap Gang.

Please note: we had a little phone trouble 2/3 of the way through and Mike had to go on speakerphone, apologies for any audio quality issues.

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