Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review of "Government Plates" by Death Grips

Death grips are a type of lethal technique that ninjas and Vulcans use to kill people.

Death Grips is also a hyper-aggressive, experimental hip hop group from California. We’re going to be focusing on the latter in this review.

Subtlety has never been one of Death Grips’ most prized assets. The album artwork on their last record, No Love Deep Web, consisted of a giant erect penis. Here’s a censored picture of the album cover:

Here’s an uncensored picture of the album cover:

Oh sorry, that’s actually a picture of me. oops...

Before releasing No Love Deep Web, Death Grips released an album entitled The Money Store. It had a gimp with boobs on the front of it.

Their latest album, Government Plates (the album we'll be focusing on in this review), has a government plate on the front of it and is therefore not as controversial or interesting as its predecessors, and therefore A TERRIBLE ALBUM.

Album artwork for 'Government Plates'


just kidding, just kidding, jeeeeeeez...

Musically, Government Plates is everything you can expect from Death Grips. In other words it’s totally unpredictable and utterly unmusical in every way possible.

Death Grips lavish in trying to be as disorientating and ugly as possible. They are the death metal of hip hop. Here, the group continue to push boundaries, experimenting with new musical ideas and obscure sounds never experimented with before. The emphasis on this album is on the crazy instrumentation rather than the crazy vocals, making this more of an experimental electronic album than an experimental hip hop album. Producer, Flatlander, forges some of his most abrasive beats, swamping them in digital effects and distortion. So much is going on musically that it feels almost impossible to keep up with it all. This overwhelming, dizzying mood is what I love about Death Grips. Here, they’re at their most dizzying and overwhelming.

The first track and the last track are arguably my favourites. The first is the ridiculously named “You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money But I Know What He Really Loves You For It's Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat. Vocalist, MC Ride, turns batshit insane rapping some of his most frantic verses to date, each verse split up with pummeling, headbangable bass breakdowns. Meanwhile, the last track, “Whatever I Want” is schizophrenic house music for aliens on ecstasy. It contains perhaps the only vocal hook on the album “fuck who’s watching!!!”, hammered at the listener over and over again in an almost comical fashion. Perhaps the album’s one only pitfall is its lack of MC Ride throughout the remainder of the album. He has much fewer verses on this album and the few contributions he does make are overly edited, chopped and screwed with, removing the human element. He helped the noise on previous albums have context.

Saying that, this is still essentially Death Grips and they continue to blow my mind with their originality. It’s incredible that this is their fourth album in three years and that they’re still progressing and still oozing with creativity that no other musician can rival.

Kanye, take note.