Death Grips // The Money Store // April 24 // Epic
Black music 2011 was all about style, whether we are talking about the suave and dark approach to r&b mastered by The Weeknd or hazy, psyched out beats adopted by stylish gangster A$AP Rocky. There was one exception to the rule. Unless you were living under a rock in west Cornwall you must’ve heard about Death Grips. You better have! They ignored all the style and went on to punch your face with a barbed hammer on their debut release Exmilitary. It was uncompromising and strikingly immediate. Fast forward one year, shock horror, Death Grips now belong to Epic. Can you tell that on their new LP The Money Store? Fuck no!
The Money Store stands as their first proper studio LP and it definitely feels more like a studio work when it compared to the slaughter house quality of their previous mixtape Exmilitary. The Money Store still features the breakneck energy that is associated with the group but this time it doesn’t feel like it’s the only thing that the group has to offer. The Money Store sees rapper MC Ride, keyboardist Andy Morin and drummer extraordinaire Zach Hill create some catchy and memorable moments without ever sounding like they’re compromising. The pop moments like The Fever (Aye Aye) and I’ve Seen Footage are better developed than anything on Exmilitary while the loud and abrasive highlights like Hustle Bones and Punk Weight hit as hard but pack that extra bite of imagination and experimentation where Exmilitary felt more like a one trick pony. Really, whichever way you look at it, The Money Store is superior to its predecessor in every way possible.
One of the most impressive things on here is how Death Grips manage to be more focused while being more loose than ever before. Songs on The Money Store are not afraid to not have a constant beat, melody or anything like that. They’re more than likely to have a noise breakdown in the middle. It makes the album feel like the opposite to last year’s brilliant Black Up by Shabazz Palaces, a record that was completely different to everything else that has been released in 2011 and unpredictable with its songs taking many stylistic shifts. The Money Store is not bothered with pretty sounds but it does share those two essential traits. It’s different but it’s just as approachable. The Money Store is a near death experience, a dangerous stunt, an adrenaline rush that even the most careful of us will be foolish to refuse. It’s the sound of the future, one that is not beautiful but potentially very real. Considering that some people think that the end of the world is coming, the carnage of The Money Store would make the perfect soundtrack for the event. Unlike Exmilitary, Death Grips won’t kill you this time, they’ll keep you on the leash and you won’t be able to resist it. It transcends beyond being a mere hip hop or punk album, it’s a combination of energy, rage and mentally unstable pop aesthetics, something only Death Grips dare to do these days.
In 2011 Death Grips were upstarts with an interesting sound that filled a certain niche. In 2012 they are an essential listen to anyone who’s into new and captivating music. It’s quite amazing that this album is coming out on a major label. It stands as a testament that maybe you don’t need to become shit once you sign a deal, maybe you can keep your integrity and maybe you can carry on making great innovative music. Death Grips have done just that, the found a certain approachable beauty in the middle of absolute chaos. Suddenly all those suits don’t seem that bad and The Money Store looks like a unifier that everyone was waiting but no one thought it would ever come.