Obnoxiously heavy production that makes the average dubstep beat sound like easy listening with darkly charged lyrics spat with tenacity almost unseen outside of punk rock. The outcome? Some of the most energetic songs you’ll hear at a house party this year. Death Grips’ ever mysterious infection of the hip hop scene and YouTube is coming to a gig near you.

Up until recently, little has been known about the rap/glitch pop/dance project/group from Sacramento, California. What was released on their website third world was the only source of information for months.

Their Wikipedia page (a fairly recent creation) only reveals that they have been lurking in the hip underground since December 2010 and as of February this year they’ve finally been signed to Epic records.

Their success other than their records has a striking similarity to that of Odd Future’s journey into music’s mainstream. Free albums to increase word of mouth is what got the attention of Pitchfork and NBC, whose reviews brought Death Grips name into a wider audience.

But the difference between them and Odd Future is, rather than attain success through sheer quantity of mixtapes and expletives directed at R Kelly, members of Death Grips are fairly quiet. It would appear all they want is to create original music, and that they do.

The average Death Grips is a miasma of grooves equal parts Aphex Twin, Benga and Wu Tang Clan. If you want to listen to a genuinely original hip hop album this year, then you’re in luck. Ex Military, their first album release is available for free online. It’s a startling listen, which includes samples from Charles Manson, The Castaways and Prodigy among others. And it’s this eclecticism that demonstrates how intelligently crafted the album truly is.  

And while the music sounds as compelling recorded as many bands do live, the UK is finally getting a decent chance to hear them on stage. Ever capable of maintaining their idiosyncratic image, their six stop UK tour includes the abandoned Quay House Office Block, which should prove interesting to say the least. If you want to see them here, they will be performing in Nottingham’s Bodega club on May 21.

The next step for Death Grips should include the release of their first two studio albums this year, courtesy of Epic records. If the rise of Odd Future is anything to compare them to, prepare to hear a lot more from the group.


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