IT IS understandable that a major label might want a piece of the renegade Death Grips action. This Sacramento-based hip-hop noise trio have proved to be prolific in the studio and incendiary on stage.
Death Grips - SWG3, Glasgow
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Unfortunately for Epic Records, they have also been hard to handle and were summarily dropped after a public spat over their album, No Love Deep Web.
A group like Death Grips are far better left to their own devices anyway. They don’t particularly fit any of the hip-hop norms, apart from the cathartic impact of a fierce spitting rant. The imposing MC Ride delivered plenty of those, although the precise nature of his beef was impossible to glean, so unintelligible were his lyrics. The crowd fed off his charisma and energy instead.
In addition to his fascinating witch-doctor stage presence, the palette of samples twisted together by producer Flatlander was calculated to disorientate and their bass frequencies were incessantly disturbing. Together, these meshed to create a harsh metallic quaking soundtrack well suited to the warehouse club environment of this venue.
This was hip-hop closer to the urgent, raging salvos of early Public Enemy than anything contemporary, but with all the soul and most of the danceable influences excised and replaced with unsettling avant electronica.
When I say that I felt quite ill by the end of their brief but merciless set, I mean it as a compliment.