Whether “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell” hit you as pointed social commentary on Food Inc.-era capitalist/gustatory culture or a pointless earworm, it’s becoming clear the NYC duo’s self-aware rap wriggling is going even deeper than that first blush: They cite their joy of repetition and slant toward non-sequitors as a nod to the Dadaist school, and have backed up their claims of being more clever than you think with a passionate and considered response to the New Yorker in defense of hip hop’s vitality, and an impassioned pictoral response to the New Yorker’s Das Racist dis cartoon. My interest in them and their Shut Up, Dude mixtape was piqued after they ranked as one of the undisputed heroes of Todd P’s inaugural MtyMx fest; after listening, it’s vast. Their wordplay’s littered with literate and pop-cultural references, fucking with hip hop while boosting it, simultaneously satirical and savvy. They’re “burning Ls reading Rumi,” doing “bad things” like rhyming “Jeff Mangum” with “hand guns,” calling out KRS-One, Jay-Z, Jim Carrey, and Bad Brains for using a fake patois while using a … fake patois. (That last track’s called “Fake Patois” btw.) Plus they’re talking about dosais over a sped-up Billy Joel sample on “You Oughta Know,” which speaks to the Queens-born Indian in me. It’s fun, and game; just don’t discount how sharp the tongue planted in cheek is. Extra points for tapping NYC street artist Aakash Nihalani for the artwork, which gives them an honest leg up on Vampire Weekend.
I asked Das’s Himanshu Suri for a little background on the mixtape, which is the first thing they’ve officially released (not even “Combination Pizza Hut” ever saw proper rollout). Here he is:
the mixtape is all original production from friends (like j-la, leif, like magic, lynas, and the good folks in gordon voidwell) except for 3 songs over popular artists beats in typical mixtape fashion. those 3, “who’s that brown,” “those monsters,” “i dont owe nobody shit,” and “shut up dude” were all recorded in the last two months whereas the rest encompass a year or so’s worth of work. this is the first time we’re putting anything out, ever, including “pizza hut” which never was properly released. and we went into it creatively as if it was our debut album and not a promotional mixtape since we never got label attention.
I had a hard time narrowing down which tracks to pull, so here are a bunch:
And, of course: