When I last wrote about the experimental rap/punk/rave group Death Grips for The News-Letter, they had just released their critically acclaimed debut album The Money Store. So after mentioning them before, why would I be doing another “check these guys out”/review article of their music? Well, just last week, Death Grips leaked their second album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB: a major label LP.
Music leaks happen all the time nowadays, however artists never intentionally do it, or let the public know if they have. The reason behind this leak was a conflict between Death Grips and their label, Epic. From the get go, Death Grips planned on making two albums this year. After they released The Money Store, they then cancelled their upcoming tour to work on their second album. After not mentioning anything for some time, in August they announced the name of their second album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, and that they had recorded twenty tracks and were getting it down to thirteen. A month later, even though the album was finished, Epic had not confirmed a date to release the album anytime soon, opting for some undetermined time next year. Noncompliant with the demands of their label, on September 30th Death Grips announced via Facebook and Twitter that they would leak the album at midnight and that everyone, including the label, would be hearing it for the first time. And so at midnight PST on October 1st, Death Grips leaked their album on Soundcloud, Youtube, their website, and various other file sharing websites including BitTorrent.
Another well-known leak was done by Radiohead with Kid A in 2001. Despite it being a musical departure from their material from The Bends and OK Computer, Kid A garnered much success. It is considered by several publications to be among the greatest albums of not only 2000 and the decade, but of all time.
So has Death Grips repeated the same success like Radiohead did with Kid A, considering both bands leaked an album immediately after a critically acclaimed one? Besides the obvious differences in genre, Kid A did not have an album cover like NO LOVE DEEP WEB (FYI: It’s a picture of male genitalia with the album title on it) and it was also released physically. Death Grips still is not sure if Epic will ever release NO LOVE DEEP WEB physically. The inappropriate album cover is not the main source of this indecision. According to BitTorrent, Death Grips were the most legally downloaded thing for the last six months with over 34 million downloads the day it was leaked. Not only was the second best thing downloaded seven million times less, but this is only through one of the sites that Death Grips leaked their album to. So now, all the money people would have spent on their CD, can now be put towards seeing Death Grips on tour. The band just provided themselves with amazing publicity.
That being said, what is the music like? While not as accessible as The Money Store, it still has that same intense vibe while maintaining a diversity of sounds between songs. The lyrics still look like gibberish, but they strangely add to and escalate the vibe of the songs. The music and lyrics demonstrate the varying levels of anger, belligerence and paranoia of what Death Grips considers to be the seemingly civil yet secretly savage society of the 21st century. Death Grips puts focus on those concealed primitive thoughts of civilization. While they did not branch too far from The Money Store in terms of experimentation, NO LOVE DEEP WEB definitely feels different and not recycled at all. This album has more emotion and aggression than anything they have released before. The Money Store is more of Death Grips “pop” album while NO LOVE DEEP WEB shows a maturing of their sound as their songs are not as reliant on hooks or catches as they were before.
If you enjoy listening to Odd Future, punk (especially the hardcore material), metal or anything else like that, then you will definitely appreciate Death Grips. If you do not, this stuff will offend you in some way, whether it is the album cover, the music and/or the lyrics. Regardless, Death Grips have further cemented themselves as the Internet band of the 21st century.