The label “experimental hip-hop” seems to now extend to more artists in the industry than it used to, but there’s no denying Death Grips helped found the genre and still remain at its center. Though Zach Hill is often noted as the leading creative of the group, Stefan Burnett, better known as MC Ride, is the vocal star. His punk, industrial-inspired delivery feeds on noise and electronic styles and production to create an unmatched sound. With Andy Morin also on keyboard and production, the music trio has put out six studio albums, a mixtape and six other miscellaneous projects.
Death Grips formed in 2010 and I’ve been listening since 2015. Considerably late to the show, I still found myself among very few fans in my area during high school. That being said, I spent my teen years in Wake Forest, NC. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Death Grips’ internet and streaming popularity were stronger than ever and continuously growing. I was a proud, but delusional, DG fan.
When you find a new project as inventive as Death Grips, it feels like stumbling upon gold. I thought I was nearly alone in this discovery and it took time for me to realize they were incredibly popular. As years passed and their popularity still grew, I found myself listening to Death Grips as often as I used to, but now in private. There was a certain embarrassment of Death Grips for me, and since talking to friends, I’ve learned for others, too. The embarrassment, perhaps stemming from a sudden jump of feeling special to being just a cog in the DG machine, was polarizing. Older listeners retreated to their rooms to partake while newer listeners were outwardly experiencing their newfound feeling of uniqueness.
Death Grips, despite their ever-altering audience, continue to put out music and I’ve noticed, both in myself and the people around me, the former DG embarrassment lifting. As people come to terms with liking music simply because it’s good and putting less concern into whether or not it boosts their individuality complex, I find that Death Grips is getting more public love from their long-time listeners.
As an ode to my lifted DG embarrassment, here’s a short list of some of my favorite Death Grips songs (in order of release):
1. “Full Moon (Death Classic)” – Full Moon (Death Classic) (2011)
2. “Guillotine” – Guillotine (2011)
3. “Lil Boy” – No Love Deep Web (2012)
4. “Deep Web” – No Love Deep Web (2012)
5. “Hacker” – The Money Store (2012)
6. “Birds” – Government Plates (2013)
7. “Feels Like a Wheel” – Government Plates (2013)
8. “I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States” – The Powers That B (2015)
9. “Inanimate Sensation” – The Powers That B (2015)
10. “80808” – Bottomless Pit (2016)
11. “Bottomless Pit” – Bottomless Pit (2016)
12. “Hahaha” – Year Of The Snitch (2018)
Here’s to the fact that Robert Pattinson plays guitar on “Birds”,