Death Grips
The Money Store


3.0
good

Review

by Gyromania USER (55 Reviews)
February 9th, 2015 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a good (albeit overrated) follow-up to Exmilitary.

I can’t help but posit that Death Grips would be better suited as an instrumental hip-hop band. They have all of the fixings of a great one, too: flawless and innovative production techniques, an acute, almost obsessive attention to detail (this is an incredibly nuanced record), exceptional drumming, etc. I know, for many the allure lies in vocalist Stefan Burnett’s abrasive, berating voice (and let’s face it, he really is quite the eccentric front-man), but I find myself drawn far more to the actual music. Burnett’s presence as an emcee (if we can actually call him that) seems -in part- contrived to me: so fixated on being outward and generally different but ultimately falling short of leaving a memorable imprint. The thing is, I don’t really get the appeal in that regard, and though I may have talked up their production prowess, the reception The Money Store has garnered has left me a little befuddled. Critics and fans alike touting this as ‘groundbreaking’ seem to have all but forgotten that, well... this isn’t anything that new. Sure it’s different, but the idea for this abstract style of hip-hop surrealism can be traced back to the days of cLOUDDEAD, and more aptly compared to artists like Dälek (think Negro Necro Nekros), except that the ‘rap/rock’ descriptor befitting of Dälek’s brand of music seems loosely tethered when applied to Death Grips. Still, in thinking all of that, I have to concede that there’s something undeniably riveting about this album; something that beckons the listener to press on.

Amidst the cynicism, the grotesque mask strewn about it, and the simultaneously terrifying and curious nature of it all, there’s a ridiculously infectious record here (veiled as it may be). Even though it isn’t the game-changer many would have you believe it is (granted I don’t think it’s trying to be), The Money Store has a lot to offer. The issue is, its strong suit is also its downfall: that is, the album draws from such a broad spectrum of hip-hop progenitors (Public Enemy, Cannibal Ox, Dälek, etc.) but fails to keep focus. Death Grips are able to yield a new aesthetic meaning from the source material, but The Money Store is far too scatterbrained for its own good. Every bar is different, which means that it’s never really stagnant, but it also makes it a little inconsistent, especially when some of the quirks don’t stick (the intrusively off-putting vocals of “The Fever”). But when it hits, it’s immensely enjoyable. The distorted riff in “I’ve Seen Footage” and chorus recalls Public Enemy’s “She Watch Channel Zero,” and ends up being one of the more memorable moments on the album, and “Hacker”’s many synthesizers and vocal effects make it the most cohesive and enjoyable song Death Grips have written to date. There’s an undeniably ‘catchy’ element to these songs. Whether you like it or not, Burnett is a master at making a memorable vocal hook.

The Money Store’s album cover -- stylized as a black and white canvas of what looks like some homage to ‘90s graphic novels (one with a penchant for vintage S&M!) -- is an apt glimpse at the lyrics to be found here: sketchy, disturbing, and morally ambiguous. Through his lyrics, Burnett casts himself as this violently paranoid, unpredictable man; a person whose experience in police brutality and the seedy underbelly of the ghetto has helped fuel his paranoia (“Get Got”). Lyrically, Burnett’s writing should be commended if only because his depiction of this unlikeable, nihilistic character isn’t some typical fallacy of aggression, it seems entirely substantial. It’s contextually brilliant, in fact, but Burnett’s voice sounds best when it’s heavily modulated, otherwise it can be very, very grating -- easily acting to disservice The Money Store and detracting from some of the more distinguished moments. His style of vocalization wouldn’t necessarily fall under the category of rapping, rather, he takes more of a spoken word approach (I’ll leave those of you who have heard his voice to ponder the irony of that).

In the end, the quality that best sets The Money Store apart from its contemporaries is its ever-shifting nature. Unfortunately, that same trait also lends to the album’s inconsistent nature, but be that as it may, there’s plenty to take away from the experience. The Money Store is a visceral album; Burnett’s character is crude, unapologetic, and just a little morbid, and those are some of the best descriptors that come to mind when reflecting on the overall sound. So while it’s not (for this reviewer, at least) the monolithic, quintessential hip-hop album of 2012 that’s - to quote a unified hyperbolic statement - “the future,” it forges something worth hearing.




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user ratings (2494)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
February 9th 2015


30096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

repost

MattTD
February 9th 2015


678 Comments


Two reviews on the home page

Whoa there friend you might need to slow down

Tunaboy45
February 9th 2015


17162 Comments


good review mate (for real this time)
pos

Snake.
February 9th 2015


22179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gyro did you have that orchid avi before? i forget now

BMDrummer
February 9th 2015


14650 Comments


that's off minor lol

hogan900
February 9th 2015


3161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review gyro, still the two review per day rule was broken, even if both of the reviews were grade A writing.

Gyromania
February 9th 2015


30096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

snake: it's off minor - some blood, but yah i had it for a couple months, but that was years ago.



hogan: cheers! fuck that rule ;D

LepreCon
February 9th 2015


5470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

zomg liek 1 revuw per dai man dont post moar den wun revuw liek slow dafuq down bro omg

Gyromania
February 9th 2015


30096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ahem

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
February 9th 2015


15119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ignore ignore ignore ignore ignore ignore ingiron finro fodjrn

Gyromania
February 9th 2015


30096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i should have just kept that review lol

Tunaboy45
February 9th 2015


17162 Comments


damn why would you remove that it was a masterpiece

Funeralopolis
February 9th 2015


14402 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Disagree with a lot of this review but well written, pos. I love the vocals personally I don't find them to over-abrasive, just abrasive enough to match the mood of the album correctly.



I also feel like people try far too hard to dismiss the originality of this record. Who cares if one or two other people sort-of-kind-of sounded a little bit like them, it is difficult to name any 1970's influential heralded 'original artist' who didn't have peers that sounded at least somewhat similar, or hell hard to find any band for that matter.

Froot
February 10th 2015


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review = me about 6 months before i progressively upped my rating of the album until it was a 5

Ryus
February 10th 2015


18846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I GOT THE DIAMONDS

SCRAPIN

SIDIN

WASTIN MY LIFE IN ALTERED STATED DEM

BACKITUP

I GOT DA FEVEEEER

Gyromania
February 10th 2015


30096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

funeral: i agree with you regarding originality. my commentary on it is more a response to those who call it original. i don't find much of it to be original, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.



arcade: hell. no. lol

hogan900
February 10th 2015


3161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I might knock my rating down, doesn't do much for me anymore.

deathschool
February 10th 2015


25704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed with Arc

deathschool
February 10th 2015


25704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos, cause this is really well written, but after a while all of the criticisms of this band start to sound the same. At least you overall like it, but every time someone points out why they dislike this group (mainly problems with MC Ride) I have to point out that this is why so many others in fact enjoy it. Still, you laid out your argument better than most.

PappyMason
February 10th 2015


5702 Comments


Nice review, pos.



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