I really wanted to like the new Das Racist single "Michael Jackson," from the group's forthcoming commercial debut Relax--I'd heard the song live a few times, and it's chorus ("Michael Jackson/A million dollars/You feel me/Holler") got obediently lodged in my head. But, man, this song puts a lot of stock in repeating that pretty blank chorus, like this is the big shot at a heavy-rotation radio hook or something. And maybe it is, but it'd be a shame if this were the (hypothetical, radio-listening) wider world's first taste of DR.
That's because "Michael Jackson" omits so much of what's great about the group. In its emphasis on the sing-along choruses and "that's how WE DOOO"s, it winds up giving short shrift to the verses, where DR would usually pack in a ton of sharp-tongued jokes and jabs. Those are in relatively short supply here (Kool AD gets in an all-right sushi gag, I guess), and worse, Heems is doing that hoarse rasping thing again (also on display on his cover of the Strokes' "NYC Cops"--a superior track). I think all this is supposed to signify "going hard," which is maybe something you have to do to cross over to mainstream rap radio or whatever, I don't know, but I just don't think it's the most flattering look for the "smartest dumb guys in the room" of Das Racist. Here's hoping the rest of Relax, you know, relaxes a bit.