Kool A.D.

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Kool A.D.
Kool A.D. Live.jpg
Kool A.D. performing with Das Racist at Governors Ball in New York City in 2011
Background information
Born (1983-11-16) November 16, 1983 (age 33)
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Genres Alternative hip hop, experimental hip hop, indie rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, rapper
Years active 2005–present
Labels Veehead, Greedhead
Associated acts Das Racist, Boy Crisis, Party Animal, Meyhem Lauren, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Lakutis, Mike Finito

Victor Vazquez (born November 16, 1983), also known by his stage name Kool A.D., is an American musician, rapper, author, and artist. He is from the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Vazquez is best known for being a member of the New York-based rap group Das Racist, though he has also been a member of the bands Boy Crisis and Party Animal. Vazquez has also released his own solo material, including numerous mixtapes. Mother Jones magazine described his work as "a thoughtful effort to deconstruct and rearrange cultural objects in ways that challenge our deepest assumptions."[1]

Background and personal life[edit]

Vazquez, who is of Afro-Cuban and Italian descent,[2] originally hails from the San Francisco Bay area of California. He attended high school at the Arthur Andersen Community Learning Center in Alameda[3] and college at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English.[4] While at Wesleyan, Vazquez played drums for the band La Spanka[5] and formed the group Boy Crisis.[4] At Wesleyan, Vazquez met future Das Racist bandmate Himanshu Suri[6] as well as Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT.[7] In early 2014, Vazquez married Cult Days, a fashion designer and musician he had known since he was 15.[1] They now have a child, whom Vazquez wrote about in his column in Vice Magazine.[8]

Music career[edit]

Boy Crisis[edit]

While a student at Wesleyan University in 2005, Vazquez formed the group Boy Crisis, originally playing drums, and then later moving to vocals. Although Boy Crisis signed a record deal with B-Unique Records in 2008,[9] B-Unique never released the album.[10]

Das Racist[edit]

During his second year in college, Vazquez served as Himanshu Suri's resident advisor.[6] Following graduation, Vazquez returned to Wesleyan several times to practice with a Boy Crisis bandmate, who still attended the university. It was during this time that he became friends with Suri, and following Suri's graduation, the two moved to New York City, where they shared an apartment.

With Ashok "Dapwell" Kondabolu serving as their hype man, Vazquez and Suri formed the rap group Das Racist. Das Racist first found success on the internet with their 2008 song "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell", and then quickly established themselves within the underground rap scene with their 2010 mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man, both of which earned them critical acclaim, the latter of which received Pitchfork's designation of "Best New Music" as well as spawning tours across North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2011, the duo released their first studio album, Relax. After signing a deal with Sony/Megaforce Records in mid-2012[11] Vazquez then left Das Racist before they could release their first album with Sony.[12]

Party Animal[edit]

Party Animal is a hardcore band in which Vazquez plays the drums.[13] It consists of Vazquez, Loren Moter, and Malosi, all former members of New Earth Creeps – a band Vazquez was a founding member of in high school.[14] In 2011, they played the Northside Festival in Brooklyn, New York,[15] and in early 2012, Das Racist member Dapwell mentioned that Vazquez was working on material with his "other band" Party Animal.[16] Their eponymous debut album was released online on February 28, 2013,[17] and the band toured the U.S. in March and April of the same year. In July 2015, Party Animal released their second album Avant Garbage.[18] They released a video for the song "Saving All My Money (Just to Buy a Gun)" in September 2016.[19]

Solo work[edit]

Before and during his stint as one-third of Das Racist, KOOL A.D. was developing and releasing solo material. Previous to The Palm Wine Drinkard, he released EPs, titled "The Electric Kool A.D. Acid Test", "That Other Other Shit", "Zoot Fantastic", "Dum Shiny", "Idiot" "Dummo", and "Hyphy Ballads" (Hyphy Ballads produced by Greedhead labelmate Big Baby Gandhi.)

On January 3, 2012, Vazquez released his debut solo mixtape The Palm Wine Drinkard. The Palm Wine Drinkard, which featured several R&B tracks and other experimental music styles, received mixed reviews from critics. In April 2012, Vazquez released his second solo mixtape, 51, which received positive reviews from critics. In 2012, Vazquez stated that he had three new albums that he was working on.[13] Two of them – titled 19 and 63 (like 51, the albums are named after Bay Area bus lines) – he released as a double-album on February 7, 2013.[20] The albums include collaborations with Pictureplane, Young L, SKYWLKR, Keyboard Kid, Trackademicks, Fat Tony, Mike Finito, Lakutis and Spank Rock as well as a beat Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys originally made for Das Racist.[20] Vice described 19 and 63 as "taking the discursive and funny work he was doing with Das Racist and stripping it of any sense of structure or formula, but also work[ing] to free him from the label of 'Dude in Das Racist.'"[21] Pitchfork also praised the mixtapes, calling them "organically avant-garde".[22] Vazquez and Kassa Overall released a collaborative mixtape as Kool & Kass entitled Peaceful Solutions on April 30, 2013.[23] In December 2013, Vazquez released the mixtape Not O.K., composed of tracks that did not make it on his then-forthcoming album, entitled Word O.K. (released in 2014), and featuring guest appearances from Sir DZL and Ladybug "Santos Vieira" Mecca of Digable Planets.[24] In November 2015, Kool A.D. released a 100-song mixtape titled O.K. as a soundtrack to his forthcoming novel O.K., A Novel.[25] 2016 saw a flurry of new releases from Kool A.D. with seven mixtapes coming in the first nine months of year, including two 100-track mixtapes (Zig Zag Zig and Peyote Karaoke).[26]

His lyrical style borders on joke rap; his ad-lib overdubs are typically done in jest and the content of his rhymes often are wisecracks.

Other work[edit]

Visual art[edit]

Vazquez's representation of "a futuristic utopia where racism doesn't exist" that won him the cartoon-off with Farley Katz

Vazquez is also a visual artist. While working at 826 Valencia in 2006, he drew the cover to Dave Eggers's Some Things You Should Know About Captain Rick.[3] He has also published his own comic, The Continuing Adventures of Boy With a Fish for a Head.[27][28]

In the summer of 2009, Vazquez responded to The New Yorker cartoonist Farley Katz's poking fun at Das Racist for "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell"[29] by challenging Katz to a "cartoon-off".[30] Katz accepted, and the competition consisted of the two each drawing three cartoons: a day in the life of a rapper, a day in the life of a cartoonist, and a futuristic utopia where racism does not exist.[31] Vazquez submitted the same drawing of domestic slackerdom for the first two, and a person in a Ku Klux Klan hood asking, "What, too soon?" for the third.[32] Rob Harvilla of the Village Voice declared Vazquez the winner, saying he "destroyed" Katz,[33] and Vazquez was widely considered to have won the cartoon-off.[32]

Vazquez also draws pictures and sells them on Instagram and Twitter.[34] His primary medium is Sharpie on paper.[35]

Vazquez has exhibited work in galleries in New York City[36] and Oakland, California.[37]

Writing[edit]

A zine of his writing titled Joke Book was published by Spencer Madsen of Sorry House in February 2013.[18][38] Praised as "a satirical criticism of our modern society that was both refreshing and thoughtful, as well as uproariously hysterical,"[38] the zine sold out in its first run, necessitating a second run three months later.[39]

From July 2015 through February 2016, Kool A.D. wrote a bi-weekly column for Vice about parenting, called "Yeah Baby".[8][40]

In November 2016, Kool A.D. released a novel, titled O.K., A Novel.[41] The novel is a 442-page experimental narrative, with multiple narrators and other unconventional elements such as lists, screenplay-style scripts, dictionary entries, tweets, and fake ad copy.[1]

Discography[edit]

With Das Racist[edit]

Solo Mixtapes[edit]

  • Electric Kool A.D. Acid Test (2006)
  • Zoot Fantastic (2009)[42]
  • Dipset Trance Party (2010)[42]
  • Idiot (2010)[42]
  • Dum Shiny (2011)[42]
  • Dummo (2011)[42]
  • Hyphy Ballads (2011)[43]
  • Ah Luh Mee Duh (2011) – beat tape[43]
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (2011) – beat tape[43]
  • Nite Lite (2011)[43]
  • Hide Your Love Away (2011)[43]
  • Crack Beauty (2011) – beat tape[43]
  • The Palm Wine Drinkard (2012)
  • 51 (2012)
  • 63 (2013)
  • 19 (2013)
  • Not O.K. (2013)
  • Word O.K. (2014)
  • O.K. (2015)
  • All Love (2016) – EP[44]
  • Real Talk (2016) – EP[45]
  • Kool A.D. Is Dead (2016)[46]
  • Gods of Tomorrow (2016)[47]
  • Zig Zag Zig (2016)[48]
  • Official (2016)
  • Peyote Karaoke (2016)[26]
  • Have a Nice Dream (2016)[49]
  • Paradiza Inifiniti (2016)[50]
  • The Natural (2016)[51]
  • Sky Ladder (2017)

With Party Animal[edit]

  • Party Animal (2013)
  • Avant Garbage (2015)

With Boy Crisis[edit]

  • Tulipomania (2009)

With Kassa Overall[edit]

  • Peaceful Solutions (2013) (as Kool & Kass)
  • Coke Boys 5 (2014) (as Kool & Kass Are... Peaceful Solutions)
  • Barter 7 (2015) (as Peaceful Solutions)

With New Earth Creeps[edit]

  • The Urge to Kill (2003)
  • Overwhelming Hunger (2006)

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Lakutis – "I'm Better than Everybody" from I'm in the Forest (2011)
  • Sole – "Coke Rap" from Nuclear Winter Volume 2: Death Panel (2011)
  • Action Bronson – "Arts & Leisure" from Blue Chips (2012)
  • Supreme Cuts & Haleek Maul – "Testify" from Chrome Lips (2012)
  • Heems – "Kate Boosh" from Nehru Jackets (2012)
  • Angel Haze – "Jungle Fever" from Reservation (2012)
  • Hot Sugar – "Leverage" from Midi Murder (2013)
  • Los Feo Faces – "50 Estate Affair" from City of Mammon (2013)
  • Fat Tony – "Hood Party" from Smart Ass Black Boy (2013)
  • Knifefight – "Pop Your Bubble" from Knifefight (2013)
  • Hot Sugar – "*In & Out*" and "Future Primative Art School" from Made Man (2013)
  • Tecla – "Mayo on the Side" from Bruja (2013)
  • Maffew Ragazino – "Jackson Pollock" from Brownsville's Jesus (2014)
  • Open Mike Eagle – "Informations" from Dark Comedy (2014)
  • King Sterlz – "Holy Sound" from Royalty (2014)
  • Milo – "In Gaol" from A Toothpaste Suburb (2014)
  • A Tribe Called Red – "All Day" (2015)
  • The Shoes – "Der Kreisel" from Broken Bag Mix (2015)
  • Creature – "Warhol's Wig" from Torn Together (2015)
  • Toro y Moi – "2 Late", "That Night", and "Real Love" from Samantha (2015)
  • Lushlife – "This Ecstatic Cult (Zilla Rocca Remix)" from My Idols Are Dead + My Enemies Are in Power (2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Prashanth Kamalakanthan (June 30, 2014). "Kool A.D.'s Bizarre Pop-Culture Carnival". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  2. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (November 22, 2010). "Blacklisted: Das Racist and Odd Future take names". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
  3. ^ a b Matt Werner (December 31, 2012). "Bay Area rapper Kool A.D. shares his views on Occupy Oakland". Oakland Local. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Stefan Golangco (October 10, 2008). "Boy Crisis Interview". The Wesleyan Argus. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  5. ^ Brian Thorpe (Spring 2005). "La Spanka: Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?" (PDF). 108:Music and Culture at Wesleyan. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  6. ^ a b Vivek Menezes (October 2011). "Mic Check". The Caravan. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  7. ^ Paul Lester (November 21, 2008). "'You can't be too smart to make pop'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  8. ^ a b Kool A.D. (July 28, 2015). "So You Had a Baby". Vice. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 
  9. ^ "SIGNED: Boy Crisis + Rox + Golden Silvers + Blue Ray". Music Week. November 14, 2008. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  10. ^ Dap. "Boy Crisis – Tulipomania". Das Racist Tumblr. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ Chris Barth (September 5, 2012). "From Wall Street Headhunter To Indie Rap Mogul: Das Racist's Himanshu Suri". Forbes. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ Eddie Stats (December 14, 2012). "The Okayplayer Interview: Kool A.D. Speaks On Das Racist Break-Up & Future Plans". Okayplayer. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b George McIntire (December 4, 2012). "KOOL A.D. isn't worried about that Das Racist breakup". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  14. ^ Nathan Leigh (February 18, 2013). "Exclusive Interview with Kool AD's new hardcore band Party Animal!". Afropunk. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  15. ^ Amy Rose Spiegel (June 20, 2011). "Northside Festival Recap Part 2: Mccarren Park, St. Cecilia's, and 285 Kent". Death and Taxes. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  16. ^ Zack Cohn (April 2012). "A Conversation with Ashok Kondabolu". Tangerine. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  17. ^ Matt Horowitz (April 2013). "Kool A.D. Presents: PARTY ANIMAL – "I LOVE SOCIETY" (OIL! OIL! OIL!)". Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Cooke, Sam (April 2, 2013). "But To Answer Ur Question, No: An Interview With Kool A.D.". Thought Catalog. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  19. ^ Nathan Leigh (September 2, 2016). "Afropunk Premiere: Kool AD's dadaist punk band Party Animal drops the video for "Saving All My Money (Just to Buy a Gun)" because they can". Afropunk. Retrieved 2016-09-02. 
  20. ^ a b Carrie Battan (February 8, 2013). "Listen: Two New Mixtapes from Das Racist's Kool A.D., With Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock, Pictureplane, More". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  21. ^ Drew Millard (February 12, 2013). "Interview: Kool A.D. talks politics, Macauly Caulkin, and bears". Vice. Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  22. ^ Carrie Battan (February 14, 2013). "Kool A.D.: 19 / 63". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ Brian Alexander (April 30, 2013). "Listen to Kool A.D.'s First Post-Das Racist Mixtape "Peaceful Solutions" [Full Stream + Download]". The Crosby Press. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  24. ^ Zara Golden (December 20, 2013). "Stream Kool A.D. New Project, Not O.K.". The Fader. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  25. ^ Jordan Darville (November 26, 2015). "Kool A.D.'s New Mixtape O.K. Is A 100 Song Soundtrack For His Novel". The Fader. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  26. ^ a b Danny Schwartz (September 19, 2016). "Kool A.D. Releases 100-Track Mixtape "Peyote Karaoke"". Hot New Hip Hop. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  27. ^ "The Continuing Adventures of Boy With a Fish for a Head [Paperback]". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  28. ^ Victor Vazquez and Margarita Rossi (March 1, 2002). "Matt Groening Signed My Stapler". Youth Radio. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  29. ^ Farley Katz (August 7, 2009). "Combination Food". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  30. ^ Farley Katz (August 27, 2009). "Das Racist Throws Down the Gauntlet". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  31. ^ Farley Katz (September 3, 2009). "Cartoon-off: Das Racist". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  32. ^ a b Charlie Morrigan (December 11, 2012). "10 Great Das Racist Moments". Thought Catalog. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  33. ^ Rob Harvilla (September 3, 2009). "Das Racist Destroys New Yorker in Epic Cartoon-Off". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  34. ^ Cardiner, Brock (April 25, 2013). "A Conversation with KOOL A.D.". High Snob. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  35. ^ Ike Sriskandarajah (November 22, 2013). "Artists use social media to make an "Insta-grand"". Marketplace. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  36. ^ JGM Staff (June 6, 2013). "Kool A.D. – "FREE SNIPES" Art Show @ Poppington Gallery (Recap)". Jungle Gym Magazine. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  37. ^ Will Bundy (April 25, 2014). "Oakland's Wine & Bowties presents "Feels," a group art exhibition, opening tonight". Wine & Bowties. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  38. ^ a b Berke, Julia (February 1, 2013). "Sorry House Launches Mira Gonzalez's Book of Poems and Kool A.D.'s Got Jokes". NYU Local. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  39. ^ "Joke Book by Victor 'Kool A.D.' Vazquez". Sorry House. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  40. ^ Kool A.D. (February 17, 2016). "Bye Bye Baby". Vice (magazine). Retrieved 2016-05-06. 
  41. ^ Jack Riedy (November 15, 2016). "The Psychedelic Melancholy of Kool A.D.'s 'Prove It'". The Observer. Retrieved 2016-11-25. 
  42. ^ a b c d e http://dasracistilluminati.tumblr.com/
  43. ^ a b c d e f http://dasracistilluminati.tumblr.com
  44. ^ Chris DeVille (March 28, 2016). "Stream Kool A.D. All Love EP". Stereogum. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  45. ^ Sameer Rao (May 5, 2016). "Former Das Racist Member Kool A.D. Talks Police Violence, Writing and Kanye West". Colorlines. Retrieved 2016-05-06. 
  46. ^ Noisey Staff (June 9, 2016). "PREMIERE: STREAM KOOL A.D.'S NEW RAPLESS ALBUM 'KOOL A.D. IS DEAD'". Vice. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  47. ^ Elijah C. Watson (June 28, 2016). "Premiere: Kool A.D. Offers Fans All Of The Bars w/ New 'Gods Of Tomorrow' Mixtape". okayplayer. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  48. ^ eskay (July 8, 2016). "Kool A.D. – ZIG ZAG ZIG (Mixtape)". Nah Right. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  49. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22605-have-a-nice-dream/
  50. ^ http://2dopeboyz.com/2016/12/15/kool-ad-paradiza-infiniti-stream/
  51. ^ http://chasethedrop.com/2016/12/31/kool-a-d-the-natural-album-stream/

External links[edit]