Das Racist

Like some lovable super-villains, Spin "comedy issue" cover boys Das Racist move into stage two of their plan for world domination with new album Relax. The album is their first commercially available release (following two excellent mixtapes charting their rapid growth in 2010), and it sounds like it. There's a concerted effort to make the hooks bigger, the catchphrase choruses irresistibly dumber, the hard raps harder and the pop songs poppier—from the EL-P-featuring mean-mugging of "Shut Up, Man" to the goofy, triumphant singalongs of "Michael Jackson" and "Brand New Dance" to the breezy, ecstatic love letter "Girl." That last one is an especially unexpected triumph, the sort of thing that should seal a million romance-kindling mixtapes this year. All of which is not to say the group has lost their free-associative stoner wordplay, deep rap and academic references, or wildly inspired punchlines—or what to expect from their notoriously unpredictable live show. With Danny Brown, Despot. ERIC GRANDY

Wed., Nov. 9, 8 p.m., 2011

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