Death Grips – Constructing Hip Hop’s Horizon

Very few musical acts get me as excited about music itself as Death Grips does. This avant garde hip hop trio out of Sacramento, California combines experimental sounds, off the wall beats, extremely aggressive and usually violent vocals (both in the delivery and the lyrics), as well as samples they collect on the streets to create the most unique rap sound I’ve ever heard. In the past five years or so there has been an explosion of experimental hip hop and Death Grips are at the forefront of this movement. In this post I’d like to take a few words to discuss their 2012 full length debut “The Money Store”, which blew the hinges off of the experimental hip hop scene.

92277814The Money Store

Some nasty cover art to match some nasty noise

Having been picked up by Sony owned Epic Records after the wildfire underground success of their mixtape “Exmilitary”, Death Grip’s debut LP was highly anticipated to say the least. Thankfully “The Money Store” lived up to all of the hype and anticipation the band had generated. This album’s songs are so well thought out and composed, the performances as tight as can be, and the production rich and deep. Clocking in at just over forty minutes, these thirteen tracks fly by without much of a dip. “The Money Store” is a lean, mean, hip hop killing machine.

The most ‘traditional’ of The Money Store’s tracks makes for a great starting point

The first thing that jumped out at me about these tracks is the strength of the choruses. The hooks on this album are some of the best in the game, brought to life by the combination of MC Ride’s gritty, visceral vocals and a steadfast musical background with slick production. And while the choruses serve as the center piece for just about all of these tracks, the verses are a force to be reckoned with. MC Ride spits bars in such an angry manner; I’m convinced that he’s experienced and seen a lot of the things he writes about.

Sammy’s favorite hook on the album

But aside from MC Ride’s vocal poweress, band mates/producers Andy Morin and Zach Hill seal the deal with their beats and textures. Morin plays keys and synths in the group, and adds some pretty thick textures to the band’s compositions. His parts glue everything together as well as adding layers upon layers of almost hidden noises; every time I listen to this album I pick out something that I hadn’t noticed before. Hill is the band’s drummer and his playing really sets Death Grips apart from their peers. He’s very fluid in his drumming and his parts compliment Morin’s work well.

“The Money Store” is the album that really flung me headlong into rap and hip hop music. I had been familiar with the genre before discovering this band, I had my favorite few rappers that I listened to from time to time, but I had not realized the full potential of this style of music until I heard “The Money Store” for the first time in late 2013. It promptly blew my mind, made me a Death Grips fan for life, and opened my eyes to an entire genre of undiscovered artists for me to fall in love with.

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One thought on “Death Grips – Constructing Hip Hop’s Horizon

  1. So I’ve heard a lot about Death Grips, but I’ve never bothered to go out of my way to listen to them. They’re fusing some really interesting styles together, and doing it really creatively. Thanks for pointing them out, glad I heard it.

    Like

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