To say that the noise-rap trio known as Death Grips sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the vapid ranks that comprise the average modern major label roster is probably the understatement of the century. Yet somehow the Sacramento, CA-based group managed to ink a deal with Epic Records, bringing their utterly unique brand of confrontational hip hop to the masses with The Money Store, the first of two albums set to be released in 2012. I don’t typically look to the majors for such a high level of craftmanship, let alone innovation, so it is a complete shock to the system hearing Death Grips’ singular brand of musical mind-fuck coming from that often dunderheaded corner of the music biz. Continue reading →
When I was in college, it seemed like I had all the time in the world to just sit and listen to music. I would lay on the futon in my microscopic dorm room, blaring a wide array of metal, rock, hip hop, punk and classic country for seemingly hours on end. Sure, I was going to classes and working multiple jobs, but there was always at least a day or two where I could stay up until the wee hours listening, or find a long break between classes to relax with an album or two. I’d stare at the artwork, read the lyrics, the liner notes and sometimes even the thank yous while the music washed over me out of big-ass speakers, or pumped directly into my ears via headphones (until I accidentally crushed them in a drunken incident that needn’t be recounted here). I could lose myself totally in the worlds my favorite artists created, whether it was the mean streets and dope beats of Ice Cube’s The Predator or the reverbed-to-Hell midnight treble-scapes of Darkthrone’s Under a Funeral Moon. Continue reading →
Like any good teenage metalhead, I hated rap music. In my early youth, I had enjoyed the pop rap antics of MC Hammer, The Fresh Prince and yes even Vanilla Ice, but once metal came along, that rather embarrassing part of my musical evolution was deliberately buried and left for dead. In high school, I found myself hitching rides on occasion with my friend Jon, an eclectic, down-to-earth dude with a taste for rap in addition to rock and metal. I distinctly remember him saying, “I know you don’t like this shit, but we’re gonna listen to it,” and throwing on some random 2Pac (or was it Too $hort?) album. Even in Iowa, rap music was everywhere in the 1990s; on TV, the radio, magazines, my friend’s cars and parties, there was no escaping it. At some point I finally caved, and although my appreciation of rap never grew to the obsessive levels that my appreciation for heavy metal did, I began to appreciate it nonetheless.