P.O.S’s Ipecac Neat was a drama. But the Minneapolis rapper’s second LP, Audition, is a Daily Show–like comedy, a series of ruses meant to further confuse us about the identity of the artist formally known as Piece of Shit. The pop-punk lead single “P.O.S Is Ruining My Life” finds the emo hero wrestling with his rap star self in the same way that Fight Club‘s Jack disowns his doppelg Tyler Durden. “I’m trying not to lose my grip,” P.O.S explains in “Teddy Bear and a Tazor.” Meanwhile fellow Doomtree producer Lazerbeak shags a backdrop of ’70s spy tracks with foxxy-lady ad-libs. But P.O.S is like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, a dance instructor on the make attempting to reassure us with his Tao Te Ching, chanting “this is fun; just remember to breathe.”
Yeah right. Still, it’s a cold winter in “Paul Kersey to Jack Kimball,” the hip-hop fugue detailing the hit-and-run killing of a dear friend. Enraged, the producer-MC’s alter ego, Paul Kersey, Charles Bronson’s character in the imaginary Death Wish VI, vows his friend’s killer will “burn for this” when” [his] murder weapon crashes into a closed Amoco. “It will be real,” Kersey assures him, “when you peel our friggin’ face off the wheel.” An organ pipes in the score; kettledrums bellow, cellos bow; a vibraphone chimes; a vigorously plucked double bass portends doom. And though P.O.S. rhymes that he wants “no violins as [he] strolls feather silent/seeking asylum,” the dramatic irony is, he’s nailed the role of Charles “Yardbird” Parker with strings.
P.O.S. plays Knitting Factory February 13.