Kool A.D. (of DAS RACIST), Busdriver
579 18th St
Oakland, CA, 94612
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is all ages
Kool A.D. (of DAS RACIST)
Kool A.D. grew up in San Francisco-- while this is a well-known fact, it's not one that's acknowledged particularly often. It's understandable considering Das Racist have become entrenched in N.Y.'s cultural milieu in so many different ways that their music has been embraced as something like a metaphor for a certain kind of lifestyle in the city. You can ascertain Victor Vazquez's Cali roots as a matter of relativity, being that Queens native Heems is more assertive as both a rapper and as a media presence. But otherwise, outside of calling himself the "second-best rapper with glasses after E-40," it's tough to pinpoint much influence even when you know it's there. All of which makes Kool A.D.'s second mixtape of 2012, 51, a surprise and a long time coming: Recorded entirely in Oakland with a heavy presence of Bay Area producers and rappers, it's a testament to his heretofore untested malleability, a new way to hear the old Kool A.D.-- something which the admirable, if loopy outré R&B of The Palm Wine Drinkard got only half right.
He takes every opportunity to enthusiastically serve as a tour guide ("Couple blocks from the sun dial/ Candlestick Park, south one mile/ Alameda, Walnut, St. Anthony"), drop slang, and rhyme over out-the-trunk 808s ("Ticky Ticky") and near-hyphy rhythms ("Manny Pacquiao") to let you know he's making himself at home again. Overall, though, 51 feels more like a comprehensive California thing, specifically mid-2000s Stones Throw in both sound and structure with the "for the love" generosity of recent E-40 tossed in. There's an intelligent stream-of-consciousness here, something along the lines of Madlib's work as Quasimoto or Guilty Simpson's overlooked OJ Simpson. To isolate a particular five-minute run, the typically dense "Donda" ("I'm so emotional like Thursday/ Cherchez anything/ So Diddy with it/ Looking for a check with like 50 digits") abruptly cuts to a Dylan sample ("Biz vs. Nudge") and then 15 seconds later, a screwed Young L production named after British art maven and media provocateur Damien Hirst where Kool A.D., Dope G, and MondreM.A.N. are outfitted with aluminum voiceboxes.
Possessing a hyper-literate, intellectual style of rapping augmented with dizzying elocution that would tongue-tie even the fiercest auctioneer, Busdriver is eclectic and eccentric enough to cite vocalese jazz singer Jon Hendricks as a primary influence. Born Regan Farquhar, the Los Angeles MC was introduced to hip-hop culture early -- his father wrote the screenplay to one of the earliest films focusing on hip-hop, Krush Groove. He began rapping at age nine, releasing his first record at age 13 with his group, 4/29, named after the 1992 L.A. riots. By the mid-'90s, Busdriver was a regular at the Project Blowed open mic, where he would meet future collaborators and underground luminaries like Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, and Freestyle Fellowship. And shortly after, the vinyl did flow.
Busdriver guested on upward of 20 singles, and by 2001 he could no longer be contained by guest spots, releasing his first full-length, Memoirs of the Elephant Man. There were just as many detractors as supporters for his singular style, which was so densely packed it made his chosen name seem a reference for multiple-personality disorder, and the lo-fi production also left more listeners scratching heads than nodding them. His next album, This Machine Kills Fashion Tips (2002), continued in a similar manner before being trumped by better production and more focused rhymes on Temporary Forever the same year. Joined by another West Coast avant-garde MC, Radioinactive, and the breezy, fractured pop of electronic producer Daedelus, Busdriver released yet another odd puzzle piece in 2003, The Weather. Fear of a Black Tangent followed on Mush in 2005. After moving to Anti-/Epitaph, the rapper issued RoadKillOvercoat, which featured production from Nobody and Boom Bip. His second Anti- release, Jhelli Beam, appeared in 2009. In 2010 he put out a full-length mix tape of unreleased gems and illegal remixes called Computer Cooties. It was released as a free album. 2010 saw Bus toiling over a new album that will shock fans and confuse the unconverted into unwilling servitude. It is called Beaus$Eros and was released in January 2012 on Fake Four. Download preview song "No Blacks No Jews No Asians" here.
Other upcoming projects include a full-length release from Bus' new experimental punk band, Physical Forms and a hip hop superduo with rapper Nocando called Flash Bang Grenada.
Musician, Artist, Photographer