Death Grips Are A Little Scary — But Their Music Is Unstoppable
Death Grips are angry. No one knows why.
The experimental hip-hop trio from Sacramento, California is loud, abrasive, and in an odd way, pure. Death Grips is from the gut, as frontman MC Ride puts it.
“Lyrically, Death Grips represent the glorification of the gut…the id..summoned, tapped, and channeled before being imprisoned and raped by the laws of reason…”
If it sounds scary, it is. Nothing can prepare you for the first time you listen to the group. You will almost certainly hate it. This is why Death Grips fans have memefied the first listening experience; they call it getting noided.
The rest of the group comprise of Zach Hill on drums, who has once said:
“[He] wants to create a drone-like sound from his drums by playing as rapidly but simply as possible.”
Hill plays like a gorilla who grew up listening to Keith Moon and Sonic Youth.
Lastly, there’s Andy Morin, who creates horrifying beats from another planet. But for some reason or another, they are just as catchy as some of the best pop beats you’ll ever hear.
Popular internet music critic Anthony Fantano calls their music ‘Abrasive Ear-Candy’
This kind of sound shouldn’t work. It won’t work the first seven or eight times you listen to it. Then something happens. No one can explain it. Death Grips starts to sound normal.
The beats start to sound dope. The lyrics from manic psychopath MC Ride make sense. Death Grips becomes your favorite band. This will almost certainly happen to you push past the first few uncomfortable experiences.
You’ll bury your head into a pillow and scream the first time you listen to a song like “Hacker.” Then after a few listens you’ll be on the dancefloor swinging.
Move over “Cha-Cha Slide.”
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.
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. 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, disturbing 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 aggressive beats.
Here are the lyrics:
“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 spitting 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 group’s essence in one schizophrenic, dancy song.
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 is edgy or weird, but couldn’t handle Death Grips. Speaking as someone who greatly appreciates the idiosyncrasies of both artists, I agree.
“The Future is Now “— Death Grips
There are so many highlights on the album; there’s the anti-police brutality anthem, “I’ve Seen Footage.” Or the squeamish, “The Fever.” The album is something you have to experience for yourself.
I implore you to listen from start to finish.
Death Grips may not be for everyone. But if you persist — if you get through all the migraines and self-induced vomiting, you will hear something that changes your music tastes forever.
In an interview with German experimental DJ Alec Empire, he asked the boys, “What is the future?”
“The future is now” — Death Grips