A curious thing happened this week – a bunch of bloggers got sad that Weirdo Rap group Das Racist broke up. This isn’t exactly an event on the magnitude of EPMD parting ways, considering the trio only released one ‘official’ album and a couple of mixtapes, but an occurance that nevertheless generated a significant response from the online media. Both SPIN and Rolling Stone – two music rags that haven’t been relevant since the ‘80s – showered the crew with praise during their relatively brief time as a ‘buzz band’ or whatever it is that said organisations like to label these things as. The only reason I ever heard a Das Racist song is because they had a Roc Marciano feature, but then I’m shallow like that.
Of course, there was plenty about Heems, Dapwell and Kool A.D. that was going to appeal to the music press – a band of dudes from Queens including Indian and Afro-Cuban/Italian heritage who don’t dress like rappers and make high-brow, ironic Wierdo Rap – and they rubbed shoulders with other ‘edgy’ NY types such as trucker cap pioneer El-P. The stuff that Pitchfork’s dreams are made of, really. But why was more attention given to them during their breakup than what they received when they were an active group?
Further investigation revealed a troubling disclosure via The Martorialist, who said that “the two sexual-predators from Das Racist and their alleged rapist manager have had Julienne Shepherd from SPIN Magazine (who just happens to be dating Dap from Das Racist) keep the sexual-assault allegations about them out of the Rap media.” The link to the piece detailing the allegations themselves was troubling to say the least, as was the backlash from morons attacking her actions on some “What was she expecting?” rapist-apology bullshit. Regardless of what happened in that hotel room, the fact that one of the members of the crew is in a relationship with a someone who works at SPIN may also explain the particularly generous coverage that the group received there, including the cover of SPIN’s November 2011 issue and naming Relax as the “fourth best rap album of the year” for 2011.
The question as to why the story regarding the alleged sexual misconduct wasn’t picked up by the rap media is also strange, seeing as though many ‘major hip-hop media’ outlets are now the rap version of TMZ and flourish on gossip and innuendo. Was there a cover-up of sorts to keep this incident under wraps, or was it simply a case of the victim not wanting to draw anymore attention to herself after a low-key Tumblr entry went viral? The Martorialist claims that his post is responsible for Das Racist disbanding, and perhaps he is. The big question is, were Das Racist Weirdo Rap pioneers or simply another example of shitty Hipster Rap?
Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country For Old (Rap) Men’ here.