Friday 6 June 2014

Review of 'Clppng' by Clipping

Clipping are bursting with creative ideas on their second album.

Cali group, Clipping, are an experimental hip hop act with elements of industrial noise and Death-Grips-style abrasiveness thrown in. Unlike Death Grips, their emcee, Daveed Diggs, takes a traditional, clean style of rapping (i.e. no angry shouty hobo vocals). The crazy intensity and experimentation is mainly in the beats. Highlights include the minimal ambient track ‘Dream’, which rolls straight into the track ‘Get up’ literally featuring an alarm clock bleep as an instrumental. Then there’s the second track, ‘Body and Blood’, which has a menacing industrial Gesafflestein vibe to it. The beats are less noisy than on Clipping’s debut, Midcity, which was too harsh for me in most parts. They feel more creative and varied this time round.

Worth noting even more than the instrumentation is Daveed Diggs’ delivery. Although by no means as experimental as the beats, there are still some extremely original ideas being thrown around such as the flows on ‘Story 2’ that constantly keep morphing to match the ever-changing timing of the beat. The eery whispered chorus on ‘Dream’ also sticks out. Who whispers a chorus? Most impressive however is the speed and precision that Daveed Diggs pulls out on this record. If the first track of Midcity didn’t already wow you, then the lightning speed of this album’s ‘intro’ track certainly will.

There are moments on here that I’m not completely down with. ‘Tonight’ featuring Gangsta Boo contains an auto-tuned chorus. I already expressed my views on Auto-tune in my review of Future’s lastest album ‘Honest’. To put things mildly, I’m not a fan. The closing track – a noisy mish-mash of excerpts from the album cut and clipped together – also drags on a little too long for my liking. It’s a creative touch but isn’t pleasant on the ear and could be made more succinct.

With these issues in mind, I shouldn’t really give the album a full score. However, part of me is so impressed by the originality of this record that I feel I can overlook these two moments. Clppng might just be the most original album I hear this year! Not only does it challenge my perceptions of music, it also feels a suitable length, showcases impressing musical talent both in production and rapping ability and succeeds in invoking a whirlwind of emotions in me – the most important being suspense. The first time I heard this record was at 4am and it was such a surreal, mindblowing experience I thought I’d dreamt it the next morning. Repeated listens keep offering me new insights (I forgot to mention that the lyrics here are pretty inventive too) showing that this album also has playback value. Basically, in a nutshell, this album is straight up awesome.