Hip-Hop’s Experimental Future: Death Grips
Death Grips are angry. Few, if any know exactly why. The experimental hip-hop trio from Sacramento, California have created their own blueprint for hip-hop and for music in general. The group’s brand of sound is loud, abrasive and to be quite frank, doesn’t give a fuck what you think about it.
The group composes of front man MC Ride, Zach Hill on drums and Andy Morin, who creates the alien-like beats.
Instead of hopping on the current hip-hop waves of the 2010’s, Death Grips established a foreign sound in music. It’s a mixture of noise, punk-rock, electronic destruction, abrasive ear-candy, hip-hop, and primal as hell drums. Did we mention their loud?
Hip-hop traditionalists and contemporary fans alike will listen to group and think: “Dafuq? This ain’t hip-hop, this isn’t even music.” These are common reactions during a first-time listening experience. Death Grips fans christened this feeling: “Getting noided.”
Unless you’re accustomed to loud, experimental music, the first time you listen to Death Grips will be a troubling experience. One where you’ll likely rip off your headphones and go scream into your pillow.
But there’s a reason this group blew up during the last decade, reaching millions of streams on Spotify and receiving multiple “Album of the Decade awards.” Death Grips are so far ahead of rap, of music in general that they create a polarizing experience for anyone who listens to them.
So here’s a brief overview of their magnum opus: “The Money Store.”
The Money Store
In 2012, Death Grips released the Money Store, and music was never the same again. This was their second album ever and took the group from small-time independent success to becoming a cultural force.
The album starts with “Get Got,” a bleak, disturbed song about a police getaway. This song sets the tone of the album. It’s an intense, fragmented experience, complimented by MC Ride’s cryptic wordplay, Hill’s explosive drumming and Morin’s catchy yet aggressive beats.
“Get get get get got got got got/ Blood rush to my head lit hot lock/ Poppin’ off the fuckin’ block knot/ Clockin’ wrist slit watch bent thought bot.”
From a hip-hop point of view, it’s near impossible to recognize Death Grips as a rap group. But when you read the lyrics that MC Ride is howling into your ear, you’ll find an entirely different story:
“Lycanthropic manic cycles/ Fire water, burnin’ bibles/ Wake up ragin’, call a taxi/ Take me to the nearest city”
The album ends with “Hacker,” a song that captures the essence of the group. It features dancey, bombastic beats blended with Ride’s horrific lyrics. CU Independent calls this song, “the moment when all shit breaks loose and all that’s left to do is riot.”
“A plethora of maniacs and spiral stairs/Make your water break in the Apple Store/Sink or swim, who fucking cares, cut the birth cords/Press send, yeah, thick/Gaga can’t handle this shit”
The last line refers to pop star Lady Gaga, who Ride see’s as someone who thinks their edgy or weird, but couldn’t handle Death Grips.
Death Grips Future
There are so many highlights on the album; there’s the police brutality anthem, “I’ve Seen Footage.” Or the harsh, not from this world banger, “The Fever.” The album is something you have to experience for yourself; I implore you to listen from start to finish.
That being said, Death Grips aren’t for everyone. But once you hear one of their dope beats or you’re better adjusted to MC Ride’s coarse and savage vocals — you’ll be hooked for life.