“Bacchanal? Is that what this shit is called?”: A Roundtable with Das Racist
Written by Bwog Staff
Before their set on Saturday, Himanshu Suri (Heems) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap) of Das Racist, and their friend Aleksey Weintraub (Lakutis), sat down with Bwog to talk about—almost exclusively, though appropriately for Bacchanal—being really fucked up and on the Columbia campus.
Thanks for letting us speak to you guys. We’re pumped for the show and we’re glad to have you guys here.
Dap: Thank you.
First of all, we figured about half our our readers wouldn’t know who you are. How would you introduce yourself to those people?
Heems: We’re Das Racist. We’re a rap group.
Dap: We’re funny. On the stage…on the stage we’re funny.
Heems: I’d say we’re a smart and funny rap group.
So how do you guys feel about performing at Columbia?
Heems: This is kind of New York, right? This is kind of New York?
Lakutis: But none of the people here are from New York.
Heems: Everything up until the walk through Morningside Park was real nice.
What was wrong with Morningside Park?
Heems: Nothing was wrong with Morningside Park. I didn’t say…
I thought you said you said everything up until Morningside Park was nice?
Heems: No, until campus. This isn’t the city I grew up in any more.
Lakutis: It looks like a Tommy Hilfiger ad up here.
Dap: You know about the Weathermen? All that agitation was caused when they were going to build a facility in Morningside. Some guy, like, blew himself up. But it’s really cool to be here. What do you think?
Lakutis: I used to come to this campus, sometimes with this kid. We used to come here drunk and just harass students. It was like every time we were so hammered one of the things we would do is be like, “Let’s just lurk around Columbia,” and then we’d catch kids going back and forth on like a Tuesday night and we’d be like, “Do you want to come to my baseball party?! Do you want to come to my baseball party?!” And I remember this one kid got so scared. And so he’s like maybe where the wall is now, so we’re like, “Hey man what’s up with you?” And he ran, man, it was like—boom—and he just turned around and ran back in the opposite direction. It was so cool man.
Dap: When I went back to my old college where I could pick on kids…at that age bullying is okay, I think.
Heems: And then again after like 60.
Dap: We and some friends had taken acid and we wandered around like the Upper West Side until like 4 in the morning we ended up just drinking beers up here on the campus, and then at some point security was like what are you doing? You can’t do that here, but at that point it was like 7 in the morning and we didn’t care. And the first time I heard “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was on the step of the library…yo this is mad funny.
Heems: [Laughs] And we’ll probably hear that shit again.
Dap: It was a little before that song came out and I was sitting with my boy Dave, like, on the stairs. And he had those wraparound headphones that he liked a lot. They actually had pretty good sound for cheap headphones, but they like looked like that, you know. So he like untwists them an he’s like here…imagine listening to that song for the first time and it was like a brilliant day out on these huge stairs…I was like “Woah!” It was pretty awesome.
The concert was supposed to be on the stairs, I’m not sure if you guys heard.
Dap: Did they move it because it was a rap concert?
No, they moved it because of graduation.
Dap: That’s what they say.
Heems: It’s the Hip Hop Cops.
Dap: Did the Hip Hop reach out to y’all? Cause they heard Snoop was coming? [pause] Y’all don’t know about the Hip Hop?
Tell us about the Hip Hop.
Heems: The Hip Hop is short for the Hip Hop Cops. It’s a special division of the New York Police Department that’s just for bustin’ rappers.
Dap: You know how they always catch rappers with like a gun in their car, but they weren’t breaking any other laws? It’s like why did that car get pulled over? It’s cause they were following him around.
We literally have no idea if you’re being serious right now.
Heems: No, we’re being mad serious right now.
Have you guys been targeted by the Hip Hop Cops?
Heems: Yeah they’re really worried by Wesleyan bottom-tier rap shit.
Has Snoop been busted?
Heems: Yeah, he had that thing in England…
Do you have any more Columbia stories?
Dap: Bacchanal? Is that what this shit is called? I came for like a Spring Fling type thing, not a Bacchanal, where it was De La Soul opening for I think Kanye in 2004. I met up with my friend from Barnard who had left my house the day before because I was race-baiting—she started saying something and I was like what do you want to talk about this with me for, white girl?—and then my friend came home and I started fighting with him too. It was the height of my race baiting. And then a few days later we all went to this Kanye-De La Soul thing and they all wanted to sit on the grass in a circle and smoke weed. And I was like, “I’ve gotta go,” and I think that was the last time I ever sat in a circle at Columbia and smoked weed.
Lakutis: I usually hang out here and I’ll start talking to somebody until they find out I don’t go here and then they’ll stop talking to me. One time I was so fucking drunk and we came up here and started playing Ultimate Frisbee with these kids. And we had been drinking for hours, so we’d start getting short of breath and start vomiting in the bushes. Then after a while it started to freak them out so we had to go. I grew up uptown so like this is like my stomping grounds.
Can you guys talk about your relationship with Snoop? Do you like his music? Do you feel like he’s had an influence on you?
Heems: My relationship with Snoop is I heard, “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and I sent him like 300 Myspace messages one a day for 300 days. And they were just different variations of writing “ooooooooooooooooooooooooo-ooop!” And then he wrote back like, “I’m not actually Snoop,” so it turns out it was the wrong Snoop Dogg.
Heems: I bet every young rapper that Snoop plays with is probably like, “Hey want to smoke weed?” But I thought it’d be really cool if we offered him some meth or some ketamine, cause like how many times do you think that’s happened? I mean do you think Wiz Khalifa when he’s hanging out with Snoop would be like, “Hey man you want to try any of this stuff?”
Lakutis: I bet at this point he expects them to pull blunts, so if you’re like, “Hey man want to smoke this meth with me?” he’ll be like, “Whoa let’s get the fuck out of here.”
Heems: So yeah if I meet him I’m prepared.
Dap: Yeah he’s not saying he has it on his person—Hip Hop Cops—but he’s prepared. He’ll do it. That’s not against the law.
We’ve got this one question that we always ask outgoing seniors, so we thought we’d ask you guys. If you had to give up one of the following for the rest of your life would you choose oral sex or cheese?
Dap: I don’t like cheese and I’m fairly asexual, but I’d probably say cheese.
Lakutis: I’d probably say cheese.
Heems: I don’t really care, cause it’s not something I actually have to deal with. What would you guys choose?
I’d say oral sex.
Dap: You love cheese?
Yeah, cheese is on everything.
Dap: I’d say at this school a lot of kids say oral sex. I bet there are a lot of cheese lovers at this school.
There are so many cheese lovers at this school.
Dap: Yeah cause I want to see at like fancy schools versus normal schools the answers to that question and I’d bet there’s be an overwhelming number of people willing to give up the oral sex at like Ivy League and liberal arts schools…remember when we did that thing in the cheese cave?
Dap: You remember how fuckin’ strange that was?
Can you tell us about the cheese cave?
Dap: Yeah GQ took us to a cheese cave where just ate all this really nice cheese. Plus the chick was really nice. But it was super overwhelming, cause like five types of cheese and I’m good. How many types of cheese do you really need, you know?
Header photography by Evelyn Warner, gallery images by Elise Gannett