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Title: Im working on writing an article
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Here is a snippet of an essay I've been working on for maybe a week now. I know death grips content can be looked down upon here, but I believe my interpretations are at least somewhat transformative and original, and should be given due respect. I'm still in the really early stages of working on this and I'm not sure if I'm gonna try and publish it as a full article or maybe try and push it into a video essay/short film direction. Although for as little as I've written in the past, I've worked with video even less so we'll see about that. For sure I'd like to know your thoughts and opinions, feedback is appreciated.


Lets get one thing straight. Death Grips is not a band. In the group's own words, "Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. Above and beyond a 'band'". This ideology is best exemplified by the group's controversial live performances, such as a notorious showing at the Bottom Lounge, a 700 capacity club in Chicago, Illinois. None of the three members were present at the show, instead letting a prerecorded playlist of their music run while a fan's suicide note, addressed to the group, adorned the back wall. Notably, event organizers and concert attendees reacted negatively to the performance.

I will add that Death Grips music is difficult to define and analyze, with Hill suggesting that, even though Ride's lyrics have literal meaning, the energy, sound, and emotion that the group puts forward play just as much of a role in the overall message of their music. In addition to this, they are truly innovative in the way that they create music, often trying to reach a state of musical nirvana, or pure creation, and many times this can't be examined from a traditional view.

Part I. Exmilitary.

Anthony Fantano (aka the internet's busiest music nerd, aka Sam Hyde's worst nightmare) describes Death Grips' first work as "a grim look at mankind's worst personality traits" adding that it "is some very polarizing music" and that many listeners are going to "positively HATE [it]"

Exmilitary is a nearly-perfect exhibition of Death Grips' artistic expression. Each track on the album balances MC Ride's heathen warcries and Hill's abraisive, full throttle drumming with rich samples and grimdark synth sounds provided by Morin.

The album begins with a notorious clip of Charles Manson rambling in an interview, over eerie white noise and a mysterious guitar riff. The 1st track itself, "Beware" could be seen as a manifesto of pure death grips attitude. The chorus consists of Ride repeating his mantra, "I am the beast I worship", while the body of the song paints a landscape of the post-apocalypse, used to represent Ride's reckless personal destruction.

There are several common themes throughout the expansive death grips discography. The first of which being death itself. "Grips", the latter half of the group's name, is implied verbally, as in "Death Grips [you]" Ride and bandmates Zach Hill and Andy Morin feel particularly strongly about the monotonous, slow, and boring lives (or deaths, rather) that many people lead and I believe that many death grips releases are shoulder-shaking wakeup calls aimed at this class. This ideology is broadcast through many lines of Beware, such as Ride's refrain-

    "And I know soon come my time for in mine
    void a pale horse burns,
    but I fear not the time I'm taken past the
    point of no return.

    Wage war like no tomorrow 'cause no hell,
    there won't be one
    for all who deny the struggle the
    triumphant overcome"

MC Ride knows that he will one day die, as we all will. In spite of this, he is not afraid, stating that he does not fear the occasion of his death. He instead urges listeners to "dismiss this life", one where we live day to day in absolute comfort and convenience.

"Guillotine" is another allusion to the motif of Death in this life, or bringing power to and reigniting the flame that our lives hold, which have been wrested from us by the mindless nature in which society participates in utopian comforts such as social media and lightning fast news releases. Ride states that,

    "everything you want, ever did want,
    We got it why not come get it,
    stick your head in that hole,
    And watch me drop this cold
    guillotine death sentence"

Ride is saying that to listen to death grips is a death sentence. Not assigned to the listener themself, but to the tepid existence that they experience, and on the other side of this death lies extreme fulfillment.

To me, Exmilitary seems to come from a more traditional lens of hip hop, where Ride tells stories of his lived experiences, from when he was living "below the bottom line" (all 3 members of Death Grips have been homeless at one point or another) This is highlighted by songs such as "Klink", which blazes against community police forces for being a real pain in the ass, and "I Want It I Need It", a record of Ride's experiences wading through the mud found at a typical Sacramento houseparty, such as taking many drugs and laying alt-culture whores.

In the Album's finale, "Blood Creepin", MC Ride finds himself in a familiar position. Lost after a night of drug dealing, and with the klinkers on his tail, he coaches an unknown accomplice (who is most likely a driver) through their situation. From the onset of the song, Ride knows that they are being followed. His hasty, inebriated plan is to have the accomplice drop him off and then lead the cops down a side road, where Ride can ambush them "In the time it takes you to blink your eyes". Before this happens, Ride miraculously remembers his way around the city, and directs the accomplice away from danger. In the next couple of verses, Ride writes about taking the rest of the drugs that he planned on selling as a way to escape the paranoia of the situation.


So yeah that's part one of three so far. The idea is to write about their first three albums and to try and string them together thematically as a trilogy. If anyone cares I can update with more parts as I write them and maybe update about some edits that I make here and there. If you read this far I Love You, We Are Death Grips, and I will see you this may at the Warfield.

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