Yeah, this post is about a week late, but life rolls on.
Earlier this year, experimental Sacramento hip hop group Death Grips promised the release of two brand new full-length albums before the end of the year. The excellent The Money Store saw release back in April, but up until last week, there had yet to be a definitive date for the follow-up and companion piece. Apparently, the band's label, Epic, said that they would released this second album sometime in 2013. So, not surprisingly, Death Grips (MC Stefan Burnett, producer Andy Morin, and producer/drummer Zach Hill) released No Love Deep Web last Monday for free download through their official website. Shortly thereafter, their site was taken down, which Death Grips, like the rest of us, believed to be the work of Epic. Of course major labels aren't too big on their artists giving away new albums for free on the Internet, but, as it just so happens, it seems the site was taken down due to the explicit nature of the album's cover (an erect penis with the album title written on it).
The site has since been restored, but not before a wave of debate swept over the Internet for a good portion of last week. Was it simply just miscommunication between the parties or was it actually a manufactured PR stunt to promote the release? Regardless, that second album of 2012 is out, and Epic seems to be cool with having it available for free download because, as of this writing, it's still up on Death Grips' official site and various other file hosting sites.
The first time I spun their debut, last year's Exmilitary mixtape, I was hooked. The incredibly raw, visceral character of the music drew me in, especially with how brutal and wild yet accessible and sharp it was. In much the same way I felt a substantial emotional magnetism with At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command, Death Grips proved to be the type of sound that I perceive in a unique way, far beyond what lies on the surface. The Money Store proved to be a bit more of a challenge upon the first few listens, but I grew to find these sort of abstract pop sensibilities -- maybe we can call it art rap. And No Love Deep Web proved to be even more of a challenge, coming off, initially, as abrasive, angular, and difficult. But, as it were, I've begun to see it differently over the past week -- and I'm enjoying it more and more with how it's revealed itself.
From No Love Deep Web, "No Love" is a major standout for me. With nothing more than a seemingly atonal, snaking synth drone menacingly floating over drummer Zach Hill's simple yet heavy beat, Death Grips manage to be one hell of a crushing force, with Burnett's guttural delivery adding a dark grit and detail to the relatively simplistic instrumentation. At their core, Death Grips are all about uninhibited emotion, unforgiving attitude, and all sides of the truth -- they project the beauty and the beast.