They call it “post-Satanic, post-Christian”. We’ve branded it dangerous and narcissistic. Lots
of people tar it with Odd Future’s brush. One gushing writer exhumed the spirit of avant genius David Foster Wallace to provide a literary analogy.
In reality, though, it’ll take more than a few months and a scrabble for words to assimilate just what it was that Death Grips left on our doorstep earlier this year. A hip-hop wrapped package, sure, but way, way more than that. On inspection, it opened up into a universe of invention several dimensions beyond their fellow Californian goof-rap arse clowns. If Tyler offers an odd future, Death Grips point to a previously unimaginable, paranoid and fragmented tomorrow, and their debut free mixtape might just be the shot in the arm this nebulous “indie hip-hop” thing might need.
A party of five but in reality largely the work of two – producer Flatlander and unhinged vocalist MC Ride, who are aided and abetted by Hella/Wavves drummer Zach Hill, Mexican Girl, and Info Warrior – Death Grips have ingested all manner of tasty tricks and treats left behind by more inventive peers who came before them, and disgorged them across ‘Exmilitary’ with abandon.
There’s shades of MIA, brief AFX-y incursions, blips, glitches, sirens and 8-bit jolts knitted to sample snippets of The Castaways’ 1965 pop hit ‘Liar Liar’, Link Wray’s ‘Rumble’ and of course that unhinged Charles Manson clip at the very beginning (“I’m the king man! I run the underworld, guy. I decide who does what and where they do it at”). MC Ride steps to all this chaos like a preacherman possessed, offering stream-of-twisted-conciousness rants that speak to you like a voice in your half-sleep and make you addictively uneasy.
And the scariest thing of all? The fact that something this exciting wasn’t even an album proper, but rather a premature splatter of ideas. The real debut is heading our way next year, and will be rattling a few cages loose. We can’t wait. TC
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Terrifying and innovative album from the masters of uneasy listening is a tough but engaging listen
- Dec 13, 2013
Pitchfork Paris Festival, Paris, November 3
- Nov 16, 2012
An unconvincing release from this Sacramento rap trio
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