We’ve written a decent amount about Death Grips over the last couple of years–enough, at least, that I probably don’t really need to be going too in-depth about the Sacramento experimental “noise rap” trio, consisting of drummer/producer, Zach Hill (Hella, Boredoms, etc), Stefan “Mc RIDE” Burnett, and producer, Andy “Flatlander” Morin. I will, however, try to break it down a little bit, for those completely new to the group and their backstory.
When we stumbled across their first release, the mixtape, ExMilitary, in 2011, my mind was blown. I wasn’t sure who was behind the effort, but tracked down the download for the entire album on their official website, Thirdworlds.net, after coming across their video for “Guillotine (it goes yah).” After a while, the group started to pick up steam and they even made the shocking move to sign with L.A. Reid and Epic records. From there, they announced that they’d be releasing a pair of albums through the label and then booked a tour. I scheduled an interview with them and was sent a copy of their major label debut, The Money Store. After that, they disappeared, the tour dates were all canceled, and so was my interview. Still, Death Grips continued to work their way into the public eye, playing large festivals like Coachella, while leaving that small club tour abandoned. It was hard to pin down their motivations. On September 30th of last year, only months after the Money Store was released, the Sac Town crew made some cryptic announcements through their Facebook page and Twitter account, which eventually built up to them releasing a brand new album, No Love, Deep Web, for free through with download links through those social media outlets and their website (we posted all about that here). The No Love cover featured the image of a human dick, and the group made statements implying that they were leaking it, because they had issues with their label. The website was overloaded and crashed. Epic was pissed off and, even more pissed off when the band released emails between them. They label then dropped them from their deal.
Response to Death Grips has been critically fairly positive, but where they lie in the worlds between mainstream and underground music is still a bit murky. They have a DIY approach in some respects, yet continue to play festivals like Sasquatch! and garner major attention. Many from the Houston area, specifically, have openly expressed a distaste for the large amount of hype that the group has managed to garner as “innovators,” while their city’s own B L A C K I E (all caps with spaces), who has been creating music that is undeniably similar, and way before the group ever formed or entered onto the scene, has received very little. On the other hand, Death Grips pulled a move earlier this year where they didn’t even show up to their Lollapalooza gig and, when the world stopped spinning to collectively suck Kanye West’s dick over the release of YEEZY, earlier this year, (note: we have 2 separate reviews ourselves, one primarily in favor and another pretty much trashing the album), there was very little mention of the incredibly obvious B L A C K I E and Death Grips “influences.” So, how widely acknowledged are they, in the grand scheme, and how interested are they in being so? It’s kind of hard to tell, but no matter how you slice it, from a purely product-based angle, they’ve been putting out some pretty terrific shit and consistently.
In about a week (November 19th), No Love, Deep Web is scheduled for a physical release date; preorder’s have been up on Amazon for a little while now. Back in July, the trio announced the formation of their own Third Worlds label, which would involve “a very unique relationship with Harvest/Capitol Records, to be distributed by Caroline.” A song titled “Birds” was released by the group earlier this year and, shortly after, a letter was distributed to a handful of websites that claimed they were releasing the soundtrack to a short film, called Misoneism, which Hill was producing.. It also stated that the track “Birds” would be officially included as part of that recording. Later, sites like Pitchfork announced that the letter, itself, might have been a hoax. So… who even fucking knows anymore. One thing that we do know, is that the song has resurfaced today, as part of an album of a different name–an album that was again leaked by the band themselves, in what could, otherwise, be classified as unorthodox fashion, if they hadn’t already established it as their chosen means of distribution.
Earlier today, the post-apocalyptic doom rap big shots switched their Facebook profile image to the photo above. After that, came a post with the image of a California license plate that read “DEATH” (see header image) with the following text, included:
NEW RELEASE: Government Plates by Death Grips
Not surprisingly, the website crashed… again. And it’s been difficult to download for a lot of people (us included). So, here’s a…
Here is also a direct link of our own from our MEDIAFIRE account…
And here’s the soundcloud files to the whole album, in case you want to check it out beforehand, or download the songs individually.
But that’s not all that Death Grips has done this time around. With their last leak, they had more of a build up, growing the anticipation for No Love, Deep Web slowly throughout the day. This time, Government Plates seemed to have dropped out of nowhere, without any warning that the album was even in production. That being said, this was definitely planned. Immediately after the download links were put up, a video for each individual track was also posted, one after the other, on their Facebook page, reinforcing their constant message that Death Grips is much more of an art collective than a simple musical project.
Check out the videos below, in chronological order: