I feel like I should not enjoy Death Grips as much as I do. While I have not looked into their discography as thoroughly as I should, what I have heard has been incredibly interesting. Their abrasive and experimental approach towards hip-hop has made them a group that has exploded in the underground.
After listening through this record, I began to understand why this group has gotten so much online attention. They are more than just a loud, angry hardcore group, there is some real thematic cohesion on this record, as the group makes big statements with genuine emotions. These statements are all delivered by the monstrous energy of MC Ride whose flow and emotive power are an incredibly presence, especially when accompanied by the heavy production that is supporting him.
One of the largest themes that this album explores is the mental state of the band s they begin to grow in popularity. Of course these themes are presented in a unique way, like on the track “Spikes” where MC Ride compares his mental state to a car drifting off road by spikes. Similarly, the track “Warping,” Ride’s mental state is compared to a warping record all the while Ride’s vocals become slurred and the production slows like a warped record.
“Eh,” a considerably slowed down song compared to what Death Grips is known for, seems to deal with genuine feelings disinterest which seem to possibly be fueled by depression. MC Ride lets us know that he is surrounded by all these famous people who believe they deserve attention but he really could not care less.
Aside from the personal introspection, there is an analysis of the group’s fan base which is heavily criticized here. On the opener “Giving Bad People Good Ideas” it seemed the group is commenting on the corrupting affects their music has on their fans. The following track “Hot Head” seems to show how the grotesque lyrics and messaging has gotten into their fans’ heads.
One of my favorite tracks “Bubbles Buried In This Jungle,” has Death Grips comparing their fans to Michael Jackson’s pet monkey, Bubbles, who was raised in privilege. They frame the song to have Bubbles go into the jungle and have his true animalistic tendencies come out. The group continues on “BB Poison” to mock Death Grip’s fans as they tell them to obey them even when Death Grips give them poison.
This relation with the fans reaches its climax on the album’s titular closer where Ride literally repeats the lyric “I fucked you half.” The song contains several graphic lyrics relating to things like BDSM and I believe is trying to show the wildness of their persona and how their fans take that in a violent and sexual way.
Honestly, I feel as if I cannot do this album true justice by just attempting to explain each of the song’s broader ideas. This is a record that fans of hardcore, abrasive music must listen to and hopefully love. I was incredibly impressed with this record and am very curious about the rest of this group’s discography.
Best Tracks: Giving Bad People Good Ideas, Hot Head, Spikes, Warping, Eh, Bubbles Buried In This Jungle, Trash, Ring a Bell, Bottomless Pit
Worst Track: 80808