A good friend of mine once described Death Grips’ sound as “a mixture of horror core rap, heavy techno and being conscious during your own brain surgery”. However, I'm here to guide you through the lunacy, and convince you that Death Grips are a band worth your time and attention.
To do that, instead of writing an 'essential guide' to them, I'm going to let you in easy, by choosing the group's most radio-friendly songs. Even though the chances of hearing any of these songs on daytime commercial radio are incredibly slim, most of their songs deserve a bit of effort and patience. However, the band's total command of emotional intensity and anger is what makes them so abrasive and tough, no matter how you try and approach them, so be warned.
The band are splitting up for good upon the release of their 5th album, 'Jenny Death' (which will be released at some point this year), and this is a perfect time to give them the recognition they deserve. Here are the top 5 most radio-friendly Death Grips songs:
(I didn't do ten because there seriously aren't that many)
This is only to be experienced with their accompanying music video. It shows nothing more than MC Ride in a car, filled with static. It slowly engulfs him as the song progresses, and the rage in which he spits his bloodcurdling doom rap intensifies. It was one of the first singles they ever released, and so it's what our first experience of Death Grips was. It's where everyone starts. It's where you must start.
4. Two Heavens
“I’m pushing down on the pillow till I can’t hear you breath, for no reason” is an odd line to base your chorus around. But by God does it fit well. Their third track on their fourth album, “Government Plates” - available to download for free on their website - is accompanied by a very strange, low-fi video, which shows random, unexplained 3D-animated clip-art. People have attempted - perhaps completely fruitlessly - to decipher the meanings of in the comments section below. It alternates between frenzied vocal delivery, hyper-violent lyrics and tribal drum patterns, making this a quintessential listening for someone who wants to find something to “bounce” to in Death Grips’ back catalogue. Try listening to this in the gym. See if you feel any different.
3. Get Got
The recorded sound of a murderous bank robber mid-thought as he bursts onto the shop floor, shotgunning the front desk and taking the cash before mowing down pedestrians on a PCP-induced get-away drive. It's pretty much a solid banger, to be quite honest with you.
2. No Love
'No Love' was recently featured on an episode of the Netflix original series Bojack Horseman, to soundtrack a day-long drug binge in which the protagonist, Bojack - who is a horse btw, if you haven't seen it - hallucinates and wakes up in someone’s garden. It’s a claustrophobic, eyes-switching-from-side-to-side, paranoid and raucous song. However, its progression is fairly similar to a standard rock track, with an eerie build-up to the main event. In a cathartic explosion of energy, MC Ride demeans the listener, telling them “You're fit to learn the proper meaning of a beat down”, followed by a chilling “Madness, chaos in the brain, let my blood flow, make my blood flow through you, mane, you got no business questioning a thang”. It’s a jumper, a bouncy tune. Something to bite your lip and nod your head to. Just don’t show it to anybody who is disgusted easily.
1. I've Seen Footage
This is Death Grips at their most pop, and even then, they're still pretty much the furthest thing from pop. Sampling Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” for drum loops, MC Ride confesses to all the “crazy shit” that he’s witnessed in his life. Flatlander’s complicated, multi-layered production is at its most vibrant. It’s the most out of place song on their psychotic 2nd album, and it’s the furthest from the usual psychological prison that Death Grips like to put themselves in. It can almost described to some extent as “fun”… but I’ll leave you to be the judge.
It also taught me the word “noided”. Apparently “noided” means paranoid.
Thank you, Death Grips.
Thomas Parslew is not on Twitter