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Music |

Death Grips

Wednesday 21 March 2012
Words Spindle

Crawling under the skin of a genre which has become increasingly popular since the worldwide obsession with OFWGKTA, and the dozen or so angry teenagers who release music under its influence, Death Grips appear ready to explode through its chest cavity and attack the west coast music scene.

Vocalist Stefan Burnett and production duo Zach Hill and Andy Morin first emerged with their self-released mixtape Exmilitary in the spring of 2011, its impact was helped by the pairing of intense low-fi beats and panic attack vocals which at times melted away from any recognisable structure and created a wave of emotionally charged sound. It’s not the jarring intensity which highlights them among less noteworthy examples of the contemporary Horrorcore movement; it’s the sincereness of their music. Since it’s become cool to burn schools and swear a lot, the experimental hip hop scene has become clogged with youthful hate, hate which explodes with initial intensity but eventually dissolves into a lukewarm impersonation of itself. What Death Grips has brought to the table is a legitimate set of motives and ideologies centred around raw attempts at connecting to their audience with original ferocity.

Their recent signing to Epic Records have raised them to a level above obscure music makers and given them a platform on which to reach a bigger audience. With two albums lined up for this year, it will be interesting to see how well they will strike a balance between content and quality. Their style is set to influence the younger generation and spawn bands who site them as a musical father figure (albeit an estranged and abusive one). The question is how long it will take for yet another original movement to become diluted down to a cliché, dismantled the point where it can be summarised on a T-shirt.