It sure is easy to fall for a dirty puppet show like those sprung to life in “Crank Yankers” on Comedy Central. For some reason, sordid and hilarious puppets fill the brain painting that emerges after a few spins through The Dirty White Hats’ goofball play set, “Mixed Ape.”

It makes sense — this is the Punch and Judy act that admitted to GO a couple of months back that they started not as serious-minded musicians, but as jokesters with a hip-hop pipe dream. Of course, mixing cartoony humor with hooks is a subtle art attempted by few. Mostly, on this first draft of recorded material for the trio, it works.

“Mixed Ape” will make a good party better. It’s packed with enough ideas and lascivious energy for three records. Three young, dumb and full of fun emcees jump on the mic with their own nicely distinctive cadences. Red-eyed Leon Samson is a rhyming romantic, and his thoughtful couplets with full arcs are offset by plenty of manic goofing off. J.J. King is probably the most technically precise on the mic, but baritone Nick Scala makes the most of rumbling Chali Tuna entrances, as on “The Big One”: “Got in this game about an hour ago/ Picked up a mic, and then I started to flow.” “Hick-Hop” has the swagger Kid Rock wants, and “Barlight” puts Madonna in the thuggery context she always deserved.

A certain already-arrived attitude helps and hurts the ambitious cats in Hats. On the one hand, the Auto-Tune’d braggadocio acts as a glaring gap filler for a set that often feels hastily cobbled together, noticeably cheapening the finished product.

On the other hand, this is a mixtape we’re talking about, and given the Hats’ propensity to pack the house and milk the crowd, maybe the fake-it-till-you-make-it route is just what it takes for DWH to take off. We’ll see on the debut LP. 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.