Album Review: Death Grips – Government Plates

Death Grips have become known for their intense creative freedom and insensitivity to making anyone uncomfortable. With The Money Store and NO LOVE DEEP WEBthe three piece experimental hip hop group showed how unlike anyone else they are. Using heavy beats that break down the traditional walls of simplicity, drummer Zach Hill and producer Andy Morin make some insane electronic sounds. Rapper MC Ride (Stefan Burnett) matches the music with his own out of control yelling of unintelligible words, making for truly epic rap music. On their latest free and independent release Government Plates, Death Grips gets even weirder.

The album starts in what I would call an anxiety attack. With the break of a bottle, shrieking electronics fill your ears as MC Ride yells in his craziest fashion yet. Followed by fuzzy and deep bass and swift deliveries, the record starts off running. With “Anne Bonny” we hear some seriously heavy bass drops that lead into a slowed down head-banging screaming frenzy. “Two Heavens” continues this all out attack on your ears, using the lyrics “I’m on my way out / I’m pressin’ on the pillow til I can’t hear you breathing’ / for no reason” in the loud catchy hook off the song which is backed by heavy drums. “This is Violence Now” is a full on rager, with loud bouncing electronics that are so out of control yet work so well together. Followed by the most spaced out song on the album, “Birds” makes you feel like you’re slowly falling through space and time until it wraps you up in more upbeat electronic riffs. The album then transitions right into “feels like a wheel,” another song with an absolutely mind blowing sound scape that sounds like an electronic jungle. The only lyrics of this song are “feels like a wheel / let me live my life,” echoed throughout the journey we take through Death Grips’ soundboard rainforest. The madness continues on “I’m Overflow” which starts out with fading electronic drones and leads into a wall of sound and yelling. The album finishes strong with “Whatever I Want,” with shredding keyboard lines and layered vocals. These electronic breakdowns and riffs need to be heard to be truly understood, so make sure you give this entire album a listen.

Death Grip’s Government Plates is undeniably one of the most forward thinking rap albums of the year. With absolutely mind blowing musical techniques and unique rapping ability that is shown in every song, their tracks are full of skill, emotion, and originality. Death Grips released this album (and NO LOVE DEEP WEB) without the knowledge of their past record label, Epic Records. With that, and several other socially questionable acts, the group continues to do whatever they want, whether they have a reason for it or not. The musical and lyrical content on Government Plates is shaped by this complete lack of regard for what anyone else wants to hear, so its not surprising that they come across as not caring what other people think. They don’t.

Keep an eye out for Death Grips’ next visit to Philly, they put on a nuts show at First Unitarian Church last time around. Download Government Plates for free here, or stream it through the Government Plates hyperlink above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.