Release Date: May 23rd, 2014
Genre: Experimental Hip Hop, Rap, Hip Hop
Record Label: Sub Pop
So it seems, ‘Yeezus’ can be utilised as a yardstick in the progression of contemporary hip-hop, with a discernible alteration between a pre and post-’Yeezus’ landscape. It’s an album of divisiveness that split the hip hop community. Finally, the experimental sounds that had been floating around the internet’s gloomy corners, emitted to varying degrees of exposure, success and artistic intent by the likes of Death Grips and the Flying Lotus ‘Brainfeeder’ sound, finally penetrated the mainstream conscience. In a somewhat desperate yet equally commendable attempt at re-establishing himself at the helm of cultural advances, Kanye employed the services of some truly exploratory producers in an attempt to break new ground. The result: a hip hop world split between those who welcomed such a turn with adulation and those who saw it as a harbinger of the death of some of the genres enduring tropes and the much-feared growing prominence of the “beta male” within the genre.
As with all other modern music genres- from hardcore punk, to electronica and folk, the fracturing of styles has been exacerbated by the internet, promoting in turn an equally fractious mind-set where attention spans are short but taste is wide. The experimental hip hop ‘scene’ is perhaps the most tantalising manifestation of this fractured consciousness, buoyed by a rather nihilistic world view that perhaps comes as a result of trawling through the darker recesses of the internet under the curse of incurable insomnia. Enter LA trio Clipping. a thoroughly experimental outfit whose debut record-cum-mixtape ‘Midcity’ attempted to re-evaluate what constituted a hip hop track through searing blasts of white noise reminiscent of Merzbow and crunching beats that heralded a continually cascading destruction. It was Death Grips devoid of hooks yet injected with a sumptuous flow thanks to the group’s Oakland-based MC, Diggs.
Latest track “Body & Blood” offers an aggressive assault of distorted hammer-blow beats reminiscent of found-sound from an industrial assembly line. It’s a copiously more abrasive and harsh outing than their previous single “Work, Work”, which saw the group flirt with a more poppy tendencies and incorporated truly catchy vocal hooks; the group’s experimental tendencies were still undeniably present in the xylophonic beats but toned down exponentially compared with their trademark noise attacks. In that respect,“Body & Blood” is a return to the grating digital cornucopia they had made their own on ‘Midcity’. It’s Clipping going in hard, the central beat conjuring images of a sledgehammer attempting to smash a cement mixer into oblivion. If Einstürzende Neubauten had attempted to produce hip hop in the guise of their early industrial equipment-utilising oeuvre, the result wouldn’t be far from the grinding electronics and harsh distortion abundant in this track. Vocalist Diggs provides his biting and rapid-fire flow once again, providing observation upon the darker elements of sex and the appalling greed of men with additional shout-outs to both ketamine and rohypnol. It leaves “Body & Blood” as fervently menacing and almost beautiful in its ugliness, the misanthropy extending past the lyrical fare and prowling through the aural makeup. It leaves Clipping stranded on the fringes of rap, banished by their self-imposed extremity, but most importantly it posits the trio of noise-mongers as thoroughly intriguing. As inescapable, crushing heaviness and ever-present darkness goes, “Body & Blood” is a severely engrossing exercise in aurally aggressive hip hop.
Body & Blood