Death Grips is hip-hop for people with serious anger issues. That’s by no means derogatory, in fact, it’s a compliment. There’s been no shortage of crews coming out and trying to transcend horror-core (insert Odd Future namedrop here), but few have truly transcended that label. For every act that’s able to go beyond the subgenres limitations there’s a dozen more falling right in line, reaping all the attention. What makes Death Grips so unique is not only that the band made waves with its punishing mixtape Exmilitary, but that it somehow drummed up enough interest to garner major label attention without subsidizing its sound.
So how does this major label debut fare? Pretty damn well. The story of an ambitious and creative young act signing to a major only to have its creative vision impeded is a tale as old as the music industry itself, which is why it’s so shocking that The Money Store is even more intense and grating than Exmilitary.
It’s hard to say whether or not this is the first hip-hop record that owes as much to Wu-Tang Clan as it does Merzbow, but even if Death Grips isn’t the first, it’s making a case for it being the best.
Mc Ride’s vocals are just as shouted and angry as they were on Exmilitary, the only difference being his ability to incorporate huge sing-along hooks. Opening track “Get Got” is perhaps the most accessible Death Grips track to date, but even then it’s still a pummeling piece of vitriolic hip-hop.
The production courtesy of Hella’s Zach Hill and Andy Morin is more noise-based than ever before. If Exmilitary was Mc Ride releasing his rage through disgruntled verses, The Money Store is Hill and Morin releasing their hate with distorted, jagged production. Yet, in the midst of this chaos the group is able to produce hooks like the one on “I’ve Seen Footage” which has all the potential to become a club anthem – if people in clubs were ever that pissed.
While Death Grips has yet to catch as much flack for its lyrics as its juvenile kindred spirit Tyler, the Creator did, there’s a reason the violent, horrific images created by Mc Ride resonate: because they are well articulated and purposeful. Where Tyler got off on saying disgusting things, Ride’s rhymes are meant to disfigure the listener’s psyche and make them experience the depths of madness, not just laugh at it from afar.
Death Grips has found a way to take a somewhat tired style and approach it in a way that fresh and is actually worth discussing. The Money Store is an incredible debut LP, and if the band continues to push itself – and with a second LP titled No Love planned for the Fall – it could continue to be at the top of the pack by staying completely and utterly unrestrained.
Death Grips – The Money Store tracklist:
- “Get Got”
- “The Fever (Aye Aye)”
- “Lost Boys”
- “Hustle Bones”
- “I’ve Seen Footage”
- “Double Helix”
- “System Blower”
- “The Cage”
- “Punk Weight”
- “Fuck That”
- “Bitch Please”