With 2016 drawing to a close, we’re counting down the days to the new year in style, with our very own list of 3 best albums of 2016.
3. Bottomless Pit – Death Grips
As a group, Death Grips are primarily known for pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and fusing it with unexpected genres. The results, while not usually easy listens, are rewarding over time. Their latest effort, Bottomless Pit, proves that, if nothing else, the trio is a bottomless pit of energy. This has managed to usurp 2011’s Exmilitary as my favourite album of theirs.
Where the former was brash and captured the sound of men fighting against the music scene, society, and themselves, the rawness tempered only by digital blips and whirs, this album straddles the bridge between punk and hip-hop, whilst heavily drawing on digital music. Their caustic approach is at its zenith with opener “Giving Bad People Good Ideas”. Starting with the creepy, faint quoting of the title, it launches without warning into a loud, fast, unforgiving war, black metal blast beats and guitars competing with a digital bass line and feedback. At the same time, lyrics are shouted in a stream of consciousness over the top, as if vocalist Stefan Burnett is terrified he might not be heard over the unrelenting racket around him. Penultimate track ‘80808’ is far more akin to standard electronic club fare – if the club was a small, seedy Californian garage, that is.
The instruments are minimal, with the backing track sounding almost entirely digital, featuring dark beats, high-pitched blips, and what sounds like a low-pitched parody of an air horn, as Burnett calls for people to “Fuck with [him]’ while asserting his dominance. This album does definitely show that, when it comes to unsettling hip-hop, these guys are still kings. While a far cry from the likes of Eminem and Stormzy, Death Grips continue to do what few else dare with modern hip-hop: stay true to its confrontational and discomforting origins while blending it with something new… and in the process they challenge their peers in the battle for the genre’s throne.
Favourite Track: Spikes
Text by Aidan Lindsay
Picture research by Jonathan W. Espiritu; featured image taken from readdork.com.