Death Grips or The High Water Mark That Drowns Your Shitty Music

by Ryan Johann Perry


“You call this speeding/Turn the door off we're leaving/Meet you in our next fetus/Romulus and Remus” - Black Quarterback


The cowards of art run rampant in the era of viral transmissions, turning cheeks to the swarms of attacks; feigning homage, feigning emotional outpouring, cloaking their art in an irony that makes hipster sincerity admirable.  The sheer amount of parody videos in relation to original work is indicative of the theory that, yes, the idiots are breeding.  If you live long enough you will notice the new apes are charging forward.  Their tools are mimicry and clever plagiarism, whether it is Robin Thicke or roughly fifty percent of Beck's material as of late.

 If you live long enough, you will notice the vampires in your age bracket selling the same wares to a younger generation.  This is the same ouroboros of naivete that was fed from our own fathers, older brothers, sisters and uncles.  This sales technique is everywhere: in Hollywood and political discourse.  Idol embalming has spiked, and we're all huffing the vapors.  There is a wink from the charlatans and they hope we wink back. 

“Say hey, Kid/Don't you OD/Come play dead” - Say Hey Kid

But their hope is dead, it's eulogy a syntactical replacement within Death Grips' MC Ride's lyrics, occult and full of a righteous indignation sans looting, sans retaliation.  It is the artistic equivalent of Jesus fighting back, rather than accepting his messianic role in the grand continuum.  

“Know nothing since then/It Seems/Been floating through the nexus/threading dreams” - Get Got

Death Grips have returned and their weight is an immense double album, The Powers That B.  The album is divided into two full lengths (Niggas on the Moon and Jenny Death) and the sum of the two reveals the complete lack of edge in most music today.  This is a band who took their advance from a major label and spent it recording No Love Deep Web at the Chateau Marmont, only to release it free on the internet when completed.  The record labels angry emails? Posted online for all to see.  This temperament is evident in their music.  They are one of a handful of bands within the last few years that continually impress me.  Their albums approach the perfection of a suicide by cop set piece, of a protest without chants and signs, of an evangelist getting his comeuppance.  There is simply nothing within Death Grips radius.  They are unfuckwittable. 

“Fear over pride (lil boy)/Flood you can't hide (lil boy)/Face of a woman (lil boy)/Tears of a child” - Lil Boy

For those of you who have yet to hear Death Grips, it is much like having never been in a street fight and finding yourself in front of a 7-11 at midnight face to face with a recognizably human animal slowly posturing up, clenching his fist for an overhand right.  It is the feeling of that gut-fueled internal confusion, of not knowing what to do with your hands, of wondering how fast you can run – in that split second.  That feeling in the gut, that rises to your cerebral cortex and gives you the multiple choice question you thought you would never have to answer.  It reveals the cowardice of the voyeur, laughing at World Star Hip Hop videos.  Death Grips reveal the disconnection with the primal parts of ourselves that are auto-corrected in our status updates.  It is the mad soundtrack of your flight or fight, whose rhythms can only guide the dance of one answer. 

“Dark matter, flu state of consciousness/Blew straight through, you won't do shit/But beg me to do this/Again, and again and again/Strangler clutch, sine wave deconstruct” - No Love

Death Grips are nothing short of the sound and vision of a thousand paraplegics clapping in an auditorium, the swell of a John Cages 4'33 static swollen to a sickly cancer.  It is the futility of your dreams coupled with the depressing realization that there are many more dreams to come and go in this life and you will bear witness to all of them whether you like it or not.  

“You get no fucks from me/I run the company/On the powers that B/I get paid by the universe…I got the powers that b/Running through me” - Powers that B

My adolescence coincided with the musically impotent late nineties, early oughts.  The young man's anger in a constant relief with the surrounding world's contentment and line-toeing before a dehumanizing future.  Death Grips arrived after my adulthood incarceration and like a bible to a lifer, their music, through its violence, darkness, outlined a light and a way out that would have otherwise filed away with a wet dream. 

“I laugh when you ask if I'm under your spell/Obviously/I guide your demise like funeral sails/ Obviously” - Why a Bitch Gotta Lie

Yes, I am sick of most music I hear these days.  If music is language without text, then the drivel of dialogue on the daily matches perfectly with soundtrack of the trending culture.  I am sick of the lack of confrontation, with oneself, with one another and am sick of the lack of human honesty revealed in the foodies, the internet anarchists, and the ever-smiling selfies.  I am sick of artists weak and obvious attempts to be edifying, pushing some new linguistic twist on a message that had long ago gone to sleep in some psychedelic pasture.

 Honesty has a laugh track, listen to Kyle Kinane.  Honesty has tinnitus inducing feedback, see Death Grips. If you don't have these reactions then you are consuming the psychic equivalent of McDonalds and your low watt proclamations won't carry on a windy day.  Chances are none of you would make said proclamations to a mirroring human.  

“I pull my face out of the dirt slow/These days I only wake up third of the way, narco/ Held to deep rapid eye move, hold/ These days I recede, rapid I reload” -Centuries of Damn

Death Grips are the sound and fury that describe this nothingness, this chicken-shit posturing.  Money Store, No Love Deep Web, and Jenny Death are perfect albums.  Perfect in their nakedness, perfect in their flaws.  Perfect in the way our world, minus our subjective cognitive dissonance, is perfect.  When “On GP” kicks in and Ride proclaims, “I'm tired of all the perks/I've tried nothing, everything works/For Less I'm worth, I've served my bid/ Ah fuck, life wasn't what it is/Ah, Fuck, life was just a bridge” you cant help but feel it.  Something there.  Honesty.  It is sober and sobering.  It is a message that rides the archers paradox into your central nervous system.  While the ever-positive, smiley ones preach about love, some realize that love is not something any amount of jibber-jabber can make manifest.  There is love and there is everything else. There is the violence of time we have to face and seconds are stacking while we learn to deal with this other shit. 

Zero Fucks Given,
Ryan  Johann Perry

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