Das Racist: Relax

What now? That's a question that may have haunted Das Racist while recording Relax, their first full-length and third release in two years. Their 2010 mix tapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man established them as rap post-modernists, obsessed with cultural trivia, furious rhyming, and satirizing the genre. It's possible the trio is losing interest in their own brand; Relax is more Family Guy than Simpsons. The disaffected chorus on "Brand New Dance" ("Give us all your money/Everybody love everybody") stings. Are they making fun of "Macarena" or whoever buys this album? Similarly, "Booty in the Air" should be a total club banger but not even the ballistic, rasta-fied third verse summons much energy. On "Power," vocalist Heems gets frank: "I don't know why people feel we give a fuck so often." Other tracks are great: the senselessly raucous "Michael Jackson," the lost late-'80s cop show theme "Selena," the Daft Punk-laced "Girl," and the psych-Bollywood flavor of most songs here. But Das' revelations of self-loathing (or worse, fan loathing) darken what should be a record pregnant with vocal gymnastics, cultural commentary, and caustic wit. Instead, it comes close to a premature retread. See them live October 30 at the White Rabbit.

★★ 1/2

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