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Kool A.D. – 19 & 63

Kool A.D. – 19 & 63

kool ad 19 Kool A.D.   19 & 63Kool A.D. – 19 & 63
Self-released: 2013

“Interstitial material, skits and even songs that are obviously recorded as filler do not have to be seen as less valid art but can be seen as part of the tradition (often enough, “filler” and skits contain truly avant-garde and surreal moments).”

That’s Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez, writing nearly four years ago in a perfectly executed takedown of Sasha Frere-Jones’s article in the New Yorker where Frere-Jones used a Nas album and his years of being a dude who writes about music for a magazine for dads to declare that hip-hop was dead.

The rebuttal Vasquez wrote was important for two reasons. First, it killed any notion that Das Racist were the pre-LMFAO, empty-headed goons people insisted they were post-“Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”; these were guys attacking the culture with their wild-eyed deconstruction of the form. And secondly, that section of the article up there might as well have served as the directive for Kool A.D.’s solo career.

His solo efforts—last year’s so-so Palm Wine Drinkard and the great 51, and now this two mixtape “outtakes” collection, 19 and 63–make a solid case for his position in the evolution from E-40 to Lil B on the continuum of Bay Area rap. Kool was “based” before Lil B—what was “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” but the best possible version of Based God’s “Ellen DeGeneres”?—and now he’s making mixtapes that have the highly visible loose ends of Lil B releases, crossed with the infostream, top of the head pop cultural references he’s prone to. This is as good as one take rap gets.

For being 38 tracks, and culled from a large batch of unused material, 19 and 63 are actually pretty cohesive. 19 is heavy on the cloud rap spectrum, with clanging and buzzing production from the likes of Young L, SKYWLKR, Steel Tipped Dove and Ad Rock (!), and Kool A.D. spends a lot of time manipulating his voice, calling himself Madonna (a la Lil B), and dropping a recurring “Bieber!” ad lib. 63, meanwhile, is more of a piece with 51, a tape heavy on posse cuts (the finest being “Finito Posse Jawn”) and dusty, jazzy production from frequent collaborator Amaze 88 and Heems producer Mike Finito, among others.

With the wealth of material on these two tapes, picking out moments to highlight is a fool’s errand that would lead to roughly seven more paragraphs of random quotations (“I was trying to be a novelist/but who the fuck reads books? Be honest”) (one more: “White people give me 20 dollars, Monopoly!”), recounting the hilarious ad-libs and trying to pick the best guest appearance (Lakutis crushes his two verses), so I’ll leave it at that. Just know that 19 and 63 are probably going to be pretty divisive; if you’re in the tank for Kool A.D. already, you’ll find a lot to love here. If not, this will surely cement every single criticism about Kool A.D. you can think of.

“Shouts to Das Racist and all the fools that paid money to see exactly how we laced it/ you helped me pay rent and eat food so I could say shit for a living”—“Lush”

It’s hard, given its recent timeline proximity, to not frame 19 and 63 through the lens of Das Racist’s too soon recent breakup. But then again, it’s hard to imagine where the group would have gone with the major label distribution deal they landed before breaking up. Given his solo material, it’s even harder to imagine what a reined in Kool A.D. project could even sound like; with his four most recent tapes, he’s gone deliriously off the deep end to endlessly entertaining results.

Would he be able to review Black Snake Moan in the middle of a verse? Would he still be able self-cannibalize from past verses? Would he be able to steal lines from Murphy Lee and Beck? Would he be able to have a chorus go “I’m Dave Thomas, square burgers” like on the hilariously titled “Beautiful Naked Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over UR Face, Flame Grilled Painting”? He certainly wouldn’t be able to go off over “New God Flow” (“Exotische Kunst”) and end the song with an avalanche of ad-libs.

The freedom of this type of mixtape has allowed Kool A.D. to chase his increasing eccentric muse, and that, as much as Heems’ self-confessional bend on Wild Water Kingdom, is an argument for the positives of the Das Racist divorce. It’s hard to lament the demise of the group when tapes as beguiling and weird as 19 and 63 exist.

19 Rating

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3 out of 5

63 Rating

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4 out of 5

6 Comments

  1. Based Rap
    Nov 10, 2013 @ 23:19:00

    Kool AD was not Based before Lil B. Not hating on Kool AD, but just saying.

  2. Đ℞ΞV/
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 21:06:00

    I am hugely disappointed.

    not that i don’t like Kool AD, but these mixtapes are pretty much potlock goofing around with a studio and a bag of weed.

    No, Lil B was based before Kool A.D., Lil B was making waves before Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

    Nullus, I love Das Racist, and Nehru Jackets is one of my favorite projects last year.

    but you cannot really tell me with a straight face that these two tapes holds a candle to Sit Down, Man.

    It lacks a sense of well drive. And Kool AD style may be layback, but 19 was basically like mediocre random Charles Hamilton mixtape. (by the way, you guys should peep his new tapes As A Mogul and As A Street Rat; both worth looking at ).

    63, was more grounded. 19, really just was not that good. The satirical undertones have become degenerative, which is not a bad thing. However, Kool A.D. satirizing himself is obviously intentional, which probably has some nuances that are set up to be funny.

    He is trying to make rap music to laugh to. I love that. I love Riff Raff, Lil B, Metro Zu… I just think that 19 and 63 were lukewarm to misses, sort of like Eminem’s Encore.

    The guest verses were good, I give it that. But I found the guess verses also were much better than Kool’s verses.

    On 51, manny pacquiao was a dope song and Kool A.D. actually showed some smoothness in flow. one year later, Kool A.D. is a solo artist, but these tapes will still make me miss Das Racist.

    Good Cuts: Beautiful Naked Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over UR Face, Flame Grilled Painting; Scelra, Red Wine.

    I know that many of people on this site are going to be displeased with my critique. however, these tapes were pretty much like later Police Academy sequel, in my opinion.

  3. Đ℞ΞV/
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 21:06:00

    I am hugely disappointed.

    not that i don’t like Kool AD, but these mixtapes are pretty much potlock goofing around with a studio and a bag of weed.

    No, Lil B was based before Kool A.D., Lil B was making waves before Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

    Nullus, I love Das Racist, and Nehru Jackets is one of my favorite projects last year.

    but you cannot really tell me with a straight face that these two tapes holds a candle to Sit Down, Man.

    It lacks a sense of well drive. And Kool AD style may be layback, but 19 was basically like mediocre random Charles Hamilton mixtape. (by the way, you guys should peep his new tapes As A Mogul and As A Street Rat; both worth looking at ).

    63, was more grounded. 19, really just was not that good. The satirical undertones have become degenerative, which is not a bad thing. However, Kool A.D. satirizing himself is obviously intentional, which probably has some nuances that are set up to be funny.

    He is trying to make rap music to laugh to. I love that. I love Riff Raff, Lil B, Metro Zu… I just think that 19 and 63 were lukewarm to misses, sort of like Eminem’s Encore.

    The guest verses were good, I give it that. But I found the guess verses also were much better than Kool’s verses.

    On 51, manny pacquiao was a dope song and Kool A.D. actually showed some smoothness in flow. one year later, Kool A.D. is a solo artist, but these tapes will still make me miss Das Racist.

    Good Cuts: Beautiful Naked Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over UR Face, Flame Grilled Painting; Scelra, Red Wine.

    I know that many of people on this site are going to be displeased with my critique. however, these tapes were pretty much like later Police Academy sequel, in my opinion.

  4. Ian
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 11:52:00

    > “Kool was “based” before Lil B….”

    Really?? *Skeptical….*

  5. brokemack
    Feb 18, 2013 @ 12:56:00

    63 is an incredibly good rap release

  6. :))
    Feb 18, 2013 @ 08:55:00

    lil b was based before Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell though

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