As an unfortunate byproduct of growing up in the asshole of the Midwest, I live in a city, but I’ve never truly experienced The City. I’ve spent pretty extensive amounts of time in places like Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis, but I’ve never fully immersed myself in the everyday chaos that is living in the clutches of of a wasteland dominated by skyscrapers and surrounded on all sides by unforgiving concrete and steel. I’ve never lived in that grotesque, hyper-active human funk that I imagine city life to be; I’ve only been a long-term guest at best, a lame-ass tourist at worst. Fortunately I can live vicariously through Diapsiquir’s A.N.T.I., an album that epitomizes what I imagine existence in the bowels of urban Hell to be.
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.
When Salem’s King Night was released in September of 2010, there was so much bullshit surrounding the band that it was difficult to give the album a fair assessment. People claiming that Salem was at the forefront of a “next big thing” genre alternately referred to by a parade of ridiculous tags including but not limited to drag, witch house and rape gaze (my personal favorite), the band literally getting booed off stage during a live set at SXSW, and at least one interview where the band came off as complete fucktards all served to detract from what really mattered: the goddamn music.
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.