When Death Grips’ dropped their debut LP, The Money Store, earlier this year, it was instantly met with wide spread acclaim from the musical spheres. Cries for “Album of the Year” and “most important hip hop album ever” were thrown around, giving it exactly one whole buttload of hype.
That’s a lot of hype.
It’s pretty much all deserved too. Death Grips have easily crafted the hip hop release of the year, if you can even call it typical hip hop, with this experimental release. Or is it Rap Rock. Or even some bizarre form of Nu-Metal. I don’t even know what it is. This record is confrontational, paranoid and aggressive in its timbre, it certainly doesn’t have any remnants of a guitar in it and it rushes at an immeasurable speed through its thirteen tracks.
This record is everything that those current affairs shows tell you is bad about hip hop. The imagery is terrifying and honestly, incomprehensible for the large part.
The band is made up of three very talented men, MC and front man Stefan Burnett is backed by producing team Zach Hill and Andy Morin. Prior to this group, none of these people were really known. But, one particular member has made his fair share of appearances on other releases from bands such as Wavves, Hella and most impressively many of Mike Patton’s releases.
More or less, Zach Hill knows his shit.
In fact, they all know their shit.
And their record label know that they know their shit. Hence them allowing the group to have complete and utter free reign over this release.
Album opener “Get Got” sets the tone for the entire album. It’s frantic. It’s eclectic. But above all else it’s angry. It wants retribution. Why? I don’t think anyone knows. I don’t even think that they know. The clashing keyboard lines contrast against the barebones rapping, if you can call it that, which takes place over the entire record. “The Fever (Aye Aye)” follows along similar lines, catchy chorus, unrecognizable lyrics. Here’s a quote to give you the idea. “Came prepared / Set it slow rolled / Anticipation grow slow / Deviated septum blow hole”.
I’m sorry, repeat that?
Most of the lines barked or shouted by MC Ride aren’t exactly clear or accessible. In fact. Not a great deal of the record is. The entire album is indiscernible. And it’s not inviting.
So why do I keep being drawn back to listen to it?
It’s got to be the hooks that Death Grips craft on every track. Be it the addictive “Get get get get got got got got” of the first track or the apocalyptic fire alarm of “The Fever” to the “Double, d-d-double Helix”. Whilst it’s by no means as easy to rapping to a Yeezy track, Death Grips give another opportunity for you to get into the solid groove which is maintained for the entire record.
The only other reason I can come back to, is this vitriolic anger and mismatched glitters of synthesisers captures me. And with every listen to this album I start to hear something different, some new message.
Who am I kidding?
Those who claim that this album is intelligent, are the same people who’ll touch something hot, burn themselves, then touch it again. It’s not intelligent.
But it’s bloody good.