Kool A.D. (a.k.a. Victor Vasquez) is front and center in Das Racist, a clique of hipster-ass, hyper self-aware rappers that gets off on mining Brooklyn Vegan blog posts, academic white papers, and childhood pop. The New York trio beats their ideas into profane jargon and serves them over jazz samples. Within the world of “smart rappers,” A.D.—who studied at Wesleyan University and has drawn cartoons for the New Yorker—finds a balance between comically self-serious Def Jux priests and letterman jacket-donning clowns. Still, his punch lines are very much part of hip-hop’s lexicon. Plus, this spring’s 51 mixtape has at least 10 stellar tracks and is so, so much better than Childish Gambino.
Kool A.D. performs with Fat Tony, Chaz Van Queen, and Tecla at 9:30 p.m. at Red Palace, 1212 H St. NE. $12. redpalacedc.com. (202) 399-3201.