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Today, September 13, the first official gimme-your-money release from Das Racist hits stores. Relax, which features the excellent single "Michael Jackson," is the first non-mixtape from the trio of New York and Cali natives. Himanshu Suri (aka Heems) hails from Queens, as does Ashok Kondabolu (aka Dap), and Victor Vazquez (aka Kool A.D.) claims San Francisco.
Because the crew is fond of pointed irreverance, when DR sat down with Complex we gently guided the conversation toward burgers. And like watching a light switch move into the on position, the crew—Heems especially—came alive, weighing in emphatically.
Complex: So. We had a burgers list.
Heems: Yeah, of course. I was talking [on Twitter] about how I really didn’t fuck with that list. I wanted Diner’s (85 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) burger to be on it.
Kool A.D.: Was Shake Shack on it?
Heems: But I thought Shake Shack was too low. It was at #23.
Complex: #25, actually.
Heems: I thought that was ridiculous. I didn’t think Goodburger needed to be on there. I think 5 Napkin was on it. Was Five Leaves (18 Bedford Ave.)? That place in Brooklyn?
Kool A.D.: Five Leaves in Greenpoint.
Heems: I think Five Leaves is really good. I don’t think Goodburger is good; I’ve had their burger mad times. I used to work right by there in Union Square. And I think Diner needed to be top five; they have one of the best burgers in the city.
Kool A.D.: DuMont?
Heems: DuMont was on there. It was very low. [Note: it was #13.] Though I do think Diner’s is much better than DuMont.
Complex: Have you had Peter Luger, the one that was #2?
Heems: No, we’re goin’ there soon.
Complex: Have you had Peaches, the burger with the chicken skin on it?
Kool A.D.: Wait. Chicken skin on a burger? Oh, god..
Complex: Are you interested in that?
Kool A.D.: God.
Heems: I was talking about this before, but like burgers and me have an odd relationship, because I never, as a Hindu, grew up eating any beef. But because of McDonald’s corporate marketing being effective at it, burgers were the one thing that I wanted to eat. And then it became a thing where I was fat and I always used humor to deal with things. And then I decided that it would be mad funny as a fat dude to just embrace burgers full on, and then I got really into them. I don’t eat them as much anymore
Complex: But you hold fierce opinions.
Heems: Yes. They’re something that I’ve taken the time to look into, to find the best variety of.
Complex: Would you say New York does that better than San Francisco?
Victor: I like an In-N-Out burger.
Heems: Is that in San Francisco?
Kool A.D.: Yeah
Heems: Then, yo, we need to do that next time we’re in San Francisco. [Looks to Dapwell.] You don’t eat meat.
Kool A.D.: In-N-Out isn’t fancy. It’s closer to a fast-food burger.I would say there are more bougie burgers out here. There are probably a shitload in San Francisco. I’ve just never been to them.
Complex: Do you think In-N-Out is better than Shake Shack?
Heems: Shake Shack’s fries make it a whole package that’s like. Shake Shack’s fries are actually what make the burger more enjoyable. It’s rare to find fries that complement a burger in that way.
Complex: I feel like people don’t even worry about fries.
Kool A.D.: Nation’s does an ill burger in San Francisco.
Heems: Burgers are an essential food that I think are pretty good wherever you go.
Dap: You probably can’t have one that’s terrible anywhere.
Heems: Wasn’t Corner Bistro [331 West 4th St.] on it? I haven’t been there, but everybody I’ve talked to raves about it. But is that cause it got rated No. 1 or is it because people actually like it?
Kool A.D.: What were the top five burgers?
Complex: Number one was Peaches. Number two was Peter Luger.
Heems: Peter Luger is always rated well, but also everyone only writes about how you’ll get smirked at for ordering a burger at lunch. But that’s why I was like, “If we go together [looks to Victor], you can order a steak and they won’t give a shit.” There’s nothing more that I hate than be treated fuckin’ oddly at a restaurant. Especially when I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t have enough money like the people around me to buy that food. I don’t like when people are rude to me in restaurants.
Dap: Also, you work at a restaurant, loser.
Complex: Have you ever given a waiter shit?
Heems: No, I’ve never given a waiter shit.
Dap: The only thing worse than getting shit from a waiter is giving shit to a waiter.
Heems: In Cancun, Mexico, I was 17 and a waiter was being an asshole, so one of my friends drew a dick on the bill. And then we gave him the bill and paid for everything and he ran after us outside of the restaurant. This was like me and some high school friends. It was wild, actually. But that was the only time we’ve really fucked with anybody. I’m always.
Kool A.D.: He ran after you? What’d he say?
Dap: You muthafucka!
Heems: Yeah, something like that. We were just like, “Whatever, man; we’re idiot kids. What do you want from us?” When I’m 30 I’m gonna yell at a 17 year old.
Kool A.D.: If you were working at a burger spot, maybe.