On Monday, the much-buzzed about indie rap group Das Racist held the launch party for their first real album, Relax, at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom.
The trio, consisting of Himanshu Suri, Victor Vazquez and hype-man Ashok Kondabolu, first rose to fame with the internet viral sensation "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" in the summer of 2008. Since then, the group has produced two mixtapes, Sit Down, Man and Shut Up, Dude, which have earned them positive reviews and acclaim in the form of a non-stop stream of media coverage. Their live performances, on the other hand, have sometimes been panned for being inconsistent with the quality seen in those two mixtapes.
In launching their first commercial release, the group did not disappoint. While the show retained much of the clowning that has occurred in the past, the performances were crisp and dynamic. Tracks from the new album were played alongside fan favorites, including numbers featuring the group's "Caucasian rapper friend" Lakutis, El-P, Despot and Mr. Muthafucking eXquire replacing an absentee Danny Brown. The number of guest rappers continued to build on stage until the group performed their latest single, "Michael Jackson," which included Vazquez crowd surfing and Suri in the middle of a mosh pit while costumed dancers drove the crowd's excitement level to the evening's peak.
While "Michael Jackson" and the entirety of the Relax album is beginning to garner even greater critical acclaim than their earlier hits "Who's That Brown?" and "hahahaha jk?", the group is reasonable about the success that they hope to achieve with this release.
"We're number seven on iTunes," Suri said last night of the album's first day sales, a ranking that puts the indie group alongside giants like Lil' Wayne, Kanye West and Jay-Z. "We don't want to get to number one, number two or number three. We just want to get to number four."
As of press time, Das Racist's Relax had reached number four on iTunes' Hip-Hop/Rap album sales.