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.