Brace yourself. Death Grips are a 3-piece punk/electro/hip-hop group based out of Sacremento since 2010. Fronted by the enigmatic, fire-breathing dragon, vocalist Stefan “MC Ride” Burnett, these dudes stormed the universe with unabashed reckless abandon. Despite being technically “hip-hop”, they’re as punk as a band can get without residing in a street gutter, going against every imaginable grain of social and economic norm since their earliest release. Death Grips absolutely refuse to be tainted, altered, strong-armed, or diluted – be it record labels, contracts, music critics, social norms… anything. They say what the want, when they want to, and to any audience. Backed by the relentless onslaught of Zach Hill’s spastic drumming/programming and Andy “Flatlander” Morin’s electro/noise-crafting wizardry, these 3 create a perfect storm of raw, abrasive, ear-catching brutality. Over the years, Death Grips have self-leaked their albums, independently created their music videos, paid no heed to record deal contracts, hosted no-shows where they play their music overhead with nothing but an unmanned drum kit on stage, and performed live with Hill’s drumming Skyped in from somewhere outside the venue. The only facet that matches their loose-cannon deviance is their artistic brilliance, with some of the most hard-hitting and unmistakably memorable sounds and vocal phrasing out there.
Since incarnation, Death Grips have unleashed 4 main releases. “Exmilitary”, their amazing debut, showcases some of their most caustic sounds and dizzying lyrical wordplay by MC Ride, perhaps best exemplified by their iconic single “Guillotine (It Goes Yah)” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orlbo9WkZ2E). Sophomore album “The Money Store” is my personal favourite, providing their most refined, pop-hinting effort to date, with palatable ear-hooking sample designs by Flantlander. 2012’s noise-heavy “No Love Deep Web” was wrought in controversy, directly breaching contractual agreements with record label Epic and resulting in Death Grips (to absolutely zero dismay) being dropped and having their website temporarily suspended; not to mention the uncensored image of male genitalia as the original cover. Despite all this drama, “No Love Deep Web” is still an entertaining listen. Last year, Death Grips unexpectedly leaked a full new album “Government Plates”, their most experimental to date and a worthy addition to their amassing discography. Pondering the erratic, ever-uncertain future of Death Grips, I can’t help but recall the instant classic film quote from “The Place Beyond The Pines”: “If you ride like lighting, you’re gonna crash like thunder.”
Favourite track: Get Got (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW9H1b7zXUY)… And the rest of the album follows suit.