Rapper Victor Vazquez, known as KOOL A.D., has embarked on a busy solo career since his tenure with Das Racist. He has been actively writing and performing, and plans to release a new album, "Word O.K.," next year. KOOL A.D. will perform at the Duke Coffeehouse on Friday, October 18. The show is free with a Duke ID. Via email, Recess editor MC Bousquette interviewed Vazquez about his inspirations, his aspirations and his beard.
R: Can you speak a little bit about your creative process? Is there an overarching theme or message that you feel resonates from your music?
KOOL A.D.: I just try to "do my thing" on a day-to-day basis. The timeless immortal art that comes from that reflects the various aspects of "my thing."
R: Who were your primary influences that drew you into art? Who are your influences today?
KOOL A.D.: Big fan of Michael Paul Britto, Brett Cook Dizney, Glenn Ligon, Nikki Lee, Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Endia Beal, Luis Cruz Azaceta, LA II, Barry McGee, David Choe, Kehinde Wiley, Fab 5 Freddy, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic, Jenny Holzer, Ai Wei Wei, Cai Guo Qiang, Daniel Johnston, Ornette Coleman, Laylah Ali, M.I.A., Kat Stacks, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Sun Ra, Jean Michel Basquiat, Madonna, John Lennon, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Marcel DuChamp, Carrol Dunham, Swizz Beats, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Sol Lewitt, Richard Serra, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Salvador Dali, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Werner Herzog, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Kool Keith, Lil B, Bjork, Matthew Barney, Amaze 88, Loren Moter, Malosi Scanlan, Eddie Bergstrom, Eleanor Benway, Sonia Rabago, Charles Bukowski, John Fante, E-40, Nipsey Hussle, Danny Brown, Dan Deacon, Despot, Lakutis, Chris "Safe" Edley, Ray Tintori, Kate Bryant, Eric Shaw, Evie Falci, Cult Days, Ted Kaczunski, Chris Dorner, Rainer Werner Fassbinder Kassa Overall, Tecla Esposito, Giancarlo Esposito, my uncle Tulio, my dad, my sister, my mom, my grandparents, Picasso, Tao Lin, Mira Gonzalez, Solange Knowles, MGMT, Toro y Moi, Caroline Polachek, Patrick Wimberly, Aaron Pfenning, the sun, the oceans, trees, the sky, clouds, mythical gods and real ones, etc.
R: What has been the primary change in your writing and performance since leaving Das Racist?
KOOL A.D.: I think I'm more relaxed in general since quitting Das Racist.
R: If you had to look into the future and choose the top three most important and/or interesting artists of 2014, who do you think they'll be? Other than yourself, of course.
KOOL A.D.: Many of the people I just listed.
R: What does your beard mean to you?
KOOL A.D.: It means I'm lazy and don't like shaving. Just shaved it recently tho [sic].
R: It's Tuesday night. What're you eating for dinner?
KOOL A.D.: Iuno [sic] maybe a burrito.
R: Which artists, if any, are you currently or planning on collaborating with?
KOOL A.D.: Doing a track with Mellow Man Ace, about to go into the studio with Shady Blaze and with Issue.
R: In the same vein, what do you see as your next steps going forward? What balance do you see between your writing and music?
KOOL A.D.: I'm handing this novel in to Sorry House by the end of the year. Got this album "Word O.K." coming out next year. Already working on the next 1 [sic]. Probably dropping a few mixtapes. Have a lot of songs and a few videos done, waiting to put them out. I just try to do what I can with the time allotted to me.
R: (Now for the obligatory corny one.) If you had ONE message for the college student not interested in the path most travelled, what would it be?
KOOL A.D.: I don't know, drop out? Do you. You're going to be fine.