Das Racist may be done. But Kool A.D. keeps on. Coming off a year in which the rapper released two wonderfully dusted mixtape/albums – The Palm Wine Drinkard and 51 – the Bay Area-bred Victor Vazquez continues to record solo and collaborative material, create and sell (via The Twitter) his original illustrations (or, as he calls it, “shitty art”) and play drums with his punk band, Party Animal, as he adjusts to life post-DR. Taking a few moments from all that, Kool A.D. was cool enough to share a few thoughts on some of the recordings that most profoundly affected his life.
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1. Mos Def & Talib Kweli - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (Rawkus, 1998)
Kool A.D.: Had this album on repeat throughout high school. Not much I can say, it’s a classic. Honored to have worked with Talib Kweli and have met Mos Def.
2. The Coup - Genocide and Juice (Wild Pitch, 1994)
Kool A.D.: One day in middle school my dude Loren was like, “This fool is my cousin,” and played me this CD. I was like, “No, he’s not.” But he was, though. A few months later, I heard kids rapping the words to it in hallways at school. I remember listening to this CD a lot. We later got Boots on a track with my old punk rock band New Earth Creeps and I recently got him on my last mixtape. He’s an important figure in Bay Area music and activism and I’m honored I got to work with him.
3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced? (Reprise, 1967)
Kool A.D.: I grew up on Jimi Hendrix. My dad put me on. I remember stealing a Jimi Hendrix poster from a gift shop at Pier 39 in SF when I was like 12. Later that day I “smoked pot” and listened to Jimi Hendrix in my room with my friends. It was “cool.”
4. Prince - Sign O the Times (Paisley Park, 1986)
Kool A.D.: It’s hard to pick just one Prince album, the fool made at least 6 perfect end-to-end-banger albums but The Ballad of Dorothy Parker alone has made this one my favorite since I was a youngster.
5. The Misfits - Static Age (Caroline, 1997; recorded 1978)
Kool A.D.: I’m pretty sure this is the first punk rock album I listened to. The production quality was the perfect combination of shitty and amazing. It literally changed how I thought about recorded music.