Published Apr 30, 2012While the music industry is still adapting to the brave new world, rap moguls just might have figured out the secret: work with the web, not against it. That's why we've seen underground greats like Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Azealia Banks and most notably A$AP Rocky secure lucrative deals that will most likely propel them to superstardom.
At the fore of the 2012 rap zeitgeist are Sacramento crew Death Grips, who broke out with last year's Exmilitary, a 13-track mixtape of blaring, hard-to-categorize doom rap built to explode, which it quickly did. The trio of Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett, producer Andy "Flatlander" Morin and drummer/producer Zach Hill (best known for his work as one half of noise-rock veterans Hella) were soon being wooed by a series of big-time labels, including Epic Records, with whom they eventually signed.
According to Death Grips (who choose to answer questions as one singular entity), a positive meeting with mogul L.A. Reid was all it took. "We recognized the unlimited possibilities and total freedom this relationship would bring artistically. They spend so much time designing artists' entire careers that working with a group like ours is somewhat alien to them, in a good way. They know not to fuck with it."
The Money Store, their Epic debut, is not the kind of major label breakthrough one might expect from this relationship. There's nothing that resembles a single, and the menacing album art will not mesh well with big box retailers. Instead it's a collection of chopped up synths, dystopian sirens and aggressive vocal delivery.
"We're thinking of each track as its own iconic piece of pop art, themed in intense struggle, sexuality, demons, addiction, mysticism and violence," the group explain. "We thought about Andy Warhol's work and perceived attitudes, and applied that inspiration to what we're currently experiencing in the digital dawn."
Death Grips' explosion of creativity doesn't end with The Money Store, however, as the band are already "two thirds complete" on their second Epic full-length No Love. Ultimately, it's all part of their goal of "altering states," as they explain, "We aim to enhance reality through self expression and very real music."