Review Summary: They came to blow your system.
Now if you don't know what's trending amongst many websites reviews, Death Grips is a experimental hip-hop trio from Sacramento, California. On the outside, the only noticeable thing, for you underground math rock heads, would be Hella's very own Zach Hill on drums & partial production. On the other half of production is Flatlander (aka Andy Morin), also directing most of Death Grips' music videos & finally on vocals is Stefan Burnett (aka MC Ride). First off, Death Grips' is NOT for typical hip-hop heads. Hell, it wasn't for me the 1st time I heard Guillotine, I honestly wondered why the *** people thought it was so good until the 3rd time around. Once you get used to MC Ride's rough vocals & Zach & Andy's selection in diverse samples & genres, Death Grips becomes a group to definitely look out for.
If you've heard Exmilitary then you'd be familiar with this. I'm not entirely sure who manages production on this team between Zach & Andy but to classify the production on Death Grips' tracks would be simply criminal. This trio absolutely pushes the word hip-hop as instead of throwing in a simple drum sample & a catchy hook, there's instead a big heaping pile of glitch, noise & industrial thrown in to make you truly question does this album count as hip-hop. In my opinion, *** yes. The reason I say yes is because the way of course these arrangements are pieced together to cause an almost subliminally hypnotizing queef from the mouth of the Death Grips as I believe can be heard in their singles "The Fever (Aye Aye)" & "Blackjack". The only downside I believe in the production is there are no beats out there that make me want to go out pillaging 100 neighborhoods wearing parent's heads on some sort of human-hide made belt like on Exmilitary's "Takyon (Death Yon)" but the way that these few shards of irrelevance in synths or just mind-boggling & impressive use of bass in tracks such as "System Blower" or "Bitch Please" are arranged makes me completely forget past errors & commence head-bashing into steal-plated walls.
If you were annoyed by MC Ride's soul-crushing yells on every track in Exmilitary, you'll be utterly surprised when you learn he has an inside voice. Now don't get me wrong, MC Ride does get pretty feisty in some of the tracks but now it just seems like he's more in balance & less "I'M GOING TO ***ING DESTROY EVERYONE YOU KNOW"-ey. Now onto the actual lyrics, they haven't really changed much since Exmilitary in the way that you will actually have to listen to the songs over & over again to get a clear idea of really what direction & message the entire album is going to (Thank the creators of Rap Genius). After doing so, you can see underlying images of a man severely on the edge as he tries to avoid the police & his own paranoia of the police in the opener "Get Got" while the transition into "The Fever (Aye Aye)" sends a signal about the descent of a man with the fever for all things unclean; i.e. coke, weed, women, guns, & all that hood ***. MC Ride's lyricism can't necessarily be counted as gangsta rap though it does hit subjects that does normally appear in gangsta rap but with lyrics such as:
"Tail pipe draggin’ volume blastin’ bailin’ out my brain
Red light flash
Dem stop I smash
Abraxas, hydroplane, massive
Catch this flight flow
Mastered mine and laced
The ave with black cat fish tailin’ waves of stratus
MC Ride ends up elevating gangsta rap from just stating "I'm saying I'm going to rob you" to "I'm abstractly saying I'm going to rob you."
Death Grips' The Money Store still contains all the darkness & rage of Exmilitary but this time around... it's more refined. Looking at Exmilitary for one last second, to me it seemed like an attempt at not to just make a mixtape to debut but more to establish an I.D. as who Death Grips is. This time around, the trio carrying this I.D. are making sure that you lock in your doors, turn the lights out & imagine yourself in a world where chaos & disorder are personified to the point that they're real enough to rip you a new asshole. I congratulate this trio on making some of the most unusual & diverse production along with subtle & dark lyricism I've heard. You have made me an instant fanboy with this album, & I will be making sure I actually buy The Money Store along with the coming album No Love, appearing later this fall.