And Now, A Short Film From
Death Grips

January 4, 2013 | Andy Cush

A review of today in ANIMAL so far: rap music, art-damaged punk, and vaguely unsettling, abstract video works. Now, for something that combines all three: noise-rap crew Death Grips created this 12-minute, mostly silent film to accompany “Come Up and Get Me,” the leadoff track of their latest album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB. The film’s moody first three quarters feature lead vocalist Stefan Burnett traipsing around a hotel room, alternately looking introspective and completely losing his shit, air drumming and throwing things against the walls. Burnett and fellow Death Grip Zach Hill handle rising tension beautifully, bringing the loose narrative to an unclear, did-he-murder-him-or-didn’t-he denouement before the beat finally kicks in and the music video proper begins.

This seems like as good an opportunity as ever to make a point about this band that I’ve been mulling over for a while. There’s been some hand-wringing by hip-hop purists over their music and popularity–that there are better, less-appreciated rappers doing the same kind of thing, and that indie and punk listeners should explore the territory more before going apeshit over this as the greatest thing ever.

The last part of that I heartily agree with, but the larger point seems fishy. I may be wrong, but I don’t think these guys would at this point would even care to be identified as a rap group. They seem to be using the auditory language of the genre in the service of something that has much more to do with what could be loosely termed as punk or noise rock . In the same way that we don’t call The Slits a reggae band even though they used more dubby bass than they did power chords, we shouldn’t even be thinking of Death Grips in terms of hip-hop.

Anyway. Pretty good video, eh?