Video Premiere: Das Racist, ‘Michael Jackson’

Ever since they released their first single in 2008, New York hip-hop trio Das Racist has focused as much on subversion and surrealism — in lyrics, interviews, the industry, etc. — as fractured, atypical beats. We’ve got the video premiere for “Michael Jackson,” the lead single off the group’s debut album Relax, which finds the group continuing to channel in cultural pranksterism and gleeful, yet intelligent, absurdity.

After a steely, resolute Michael Jackson impersonator stares into the camera, we find the guys, kidnapped and evidently stripped of their sleeves, rhyming in front of generals, religious figures and generic businessmen. Bizarre faces, awkward dancing and purposely cheesy green screen routines ensues, as the trio sends up both high-budget hip-hop videos and Jackson’s own oeuvre.

Framed by The Simpsons’ television, members Heems and Dapwell square off in a nobody-wins Chippendales battle reminiscent of Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley’s epic showdown on “Saturday Night Live.” Spandex will never be looked at the same way again. Thankfully, a tribute to the King of Pop’s face-morphing sequence in “Black or White” — with special appearance by Das Racist collaborator and underground hip-hop icon El-P — ends the vid on a non-spandex memory. And all is right with the world.

+ Watch Das Racist’s “Michael Jackson.”