kool ad’s new mixtape is challenging, vibrant, and sometimes brilliant. free download + video! #soundcheck

February 8, 2013

No-one will ever criticize Kool AD of being unambitious. 2 months since leaving Das Racist, and less than a month before the release of his new band Party Animal’s debut, he drops a double mixtape. 63/19 runs over 2 hours, and falls prey to the same unfiltered uncensored id that often typifies mixtapes of this ambition; in other words, it might a little too much of a good thing. But taken as a whole—as one 2 hour and 10 minute song—63/19 is a challenging, vibrant, and sometimes brilliant record.

Spattering non-sequitors, obscure references (“bitch I’m Kevin Sorbo!”), and dense meta-text on wax, Kool AD seems to be positing himself as the Jackson Pollock of hip-hop. Except without the douchebag alcoholic part. Though there are only a few individual tracks that really distinguish themselves (the Kanye produced “Exotische Kunst,” the deconstructed cover of Bad Brains’ “Attitude,” and the surprisingly heartfelt and sad “All Skreets” are all must-hear tracks), bizarre through-lines and themes emerge. Is the repeated chant of “Bieber” an inside joke or some sort of commentary on fame? Both? What about the repeated references to Kafka?

Nostalgia runs rampant. From the half-remembered lyrics to 90s rap songs in the Ad Rock produced “NPR” to the references to the Fresh Prince and Family Matters. The album title itself is a reference to two bus lines that Kool AD took as a kid in Oakland. Meanwhile he repeatedly breaks the long streams of absurdist boasts to ask simply “do you like this?” This is Kool AD, with more ideas than he knows what to do with just months after walking away from Das Racist’s new recording contract, trying to figure out where he is, and where to go next.
The Fader has the free download and an interview with Kool AD + stream the whole project below.

– Words by Nathan Leigh