Sacramento, California’s Death Grips were formed in late 2010 and have already garnered critical acclaim from their debut album/mixtape ‘Exmilitary.’ The trio of vocalist Stefan Burnett (aka MC Ride) and production team Zach Hill & Andy Morin, have released the first of two albums set for 2012, ”The Money Store.’
Those who are accustomed to the chart-topping sounds of the likes of Nicki Minaj or Drake will find this album a confusing experience, miles away from the pop-tinted ditties of the Young Money rappers. Instead, The Death Grips bring a claustrophobic, avant-garde assault that owes more to vintage Def Jux releases and industrial edged electronica and even metal than classic breaks-and-rhymes hip-hop.
With the lyrics and beats colliding in a collage of sound that at times sounds like a vinyl record being recorded backwards and then spun on a turntable by hand. Phasing in and out, tracks like ‘Hustle Bones’ bring a dense, textural, style that is more about feeling than a clear listening experience. This muddy intensity is exacerbated by the thick, almost incomprehensible, nature of the lyrics – it is of little surprise that the CD comes with the lyrics printed in the accompanying booklet.
Meanwhile, ‘I’ve Seen That Footage’ sounds like Salt N Pepa’s ‘Push It’ filtered through a post-punk sensibility and heard from two rooms away. Quite simply, ‘The Money Store’ defies definition and is unlike anything you are likely to hear this year. Like much of this 13-track album, ‘Double Helix’ sounds like an amalgamation of styles forced together into a single place. ‘System Blower,’ follows with some heavy, grime-type bass-lines and electronica stabs and phasing, as Burnett’s lyrical approach owes more to a hardcore punk ideology than a straight-up b-boy flavor.
There can be no doubting that ‘The Money Store’ will polarize opinion among listeners. While some will embrace the anti-commercial stance, others will find the whole affair to be an alienating and unlockable slurry of sound. Certainly not one for the dance-floors, ‘The Money Store’ is definitely something that needs to be experienced before you drop your money on it. Experimental and challenging, this album is one that few will be able to sit on the fence over; you will either love it or hate it.