Ahh Death Grips, the internet’s poster boys. Not a week goes by without me seeing a new MC Ride meme somewhere on the web, or a weird mash-up created by people with way too much time on their hands.
Despite the sometimes tiring meme-orientated fan base (although there are some gems out there i will admit), Death Grips have garnered well deserved attention from music fans all over the world, whether it be because of their powerful, driving studio recordings, their visceral live performances, or the fact that they suddenly ‘break-up’ and cancel tours, only to reform months later. Eh.
It’s their unpredictability and ability to excite fans that sets the internet on fire whenever any new piece of Death Grips-related news slips onto the internet, and I for one bloody love them.
Death Grips formed in 2010 and consists of Stefan Burnett (MC Ride, vocals/shouting), Andy Morin (keyboards and programming) and Zach Hill (drums). They released a mixtape in 2011, their first release, entitled Exmilitary to positive reviews. They quickly followed this up with their debut album, The Money Store, in 2012, which was again met with critical acclaim. This album is personally my favourite of theirs (and i’d probably include it in a list of my favourite albums of all time). With songs such as Get Got and The Fever (Aye Aye), this album introduced us to the harsh electronic hip hop that Death Grips are now renowned for.
Only shortly after the release of The Money Store, Death Grips cancelled a 30-show tour for the album to instead focus on getting into the studio and writing their second album, a move that greatly upset fans and even their own label. It just goes to show how the band keeps the media and fans on their toes; just when people think they finally understand what Death Grips are doing, they’ll then go and do the opposite.
They completed and released their second album, Government Plates, in late 2013, which featured a guest appearance from none other that Robert Pattinson of Twilight, playing guitar on track ‘Birds’. That’s kinda like getting Daniel Radcliffe to play the flute on your new album. Kinda.
With already more drama under their belt than an episode of Corrie (sorry anyone outside the UK), they dropped a bombshell in 2014. In June of that year, they announced a double album titled The Powers That B, making disc 1, Niggas On the Moon, available to download at the time, with disc 2 coming later on in the year. However the following month they announced that they’d in fact be splitting up via their Facebook, posting an image of a napkin with the news wrote on it. Again, absolutely no one saw this coming and all of a sudden the internet was officially in mourning.
But, you guessed it, this wasn’t in fact the end. In March of 2015, a mysterious twitter account being run by the band themselves announced that The Powers That B would finally be released properly at the end of March, and that tickets for a tour would be on sale the week before, with the tour starting the same week. And with that, 8 months after announcing their split, they were back together with a new album coming out and a tour. Even if fans were already starting to catch onto Death Grips’ antics by now, the whole thing nonetheless had again sent the internet into meltdown (Kanye take notes) with the hype over the faux ‘reformation’.
Forget about all the drama and fiasco for a second though, and you’re left with one of the most exciting groups around in music. Just check out this amazing footage captured from the front row of one of their gigs last year.
The combination of MC Ride’s ferociously engaging vocals, Andy Morin’s discordant electronic soundscapes and Zach Hill’s monstrous drumming all roll into one to create that signature Death Grips feel and sound that puts nearly all bands around at the moment to shame (I certainly wouldn’t like to be on after them). It’s the reason why time and time again, even after the disappointments of tour cancellations and constant efforts to alienate and confuse their fans, their loyal fanbase returns foaming at the mouth for more. We’re all suckers.
Death Grips will release a new album entitled Bottomless Pit in 2016.