Death Grips, The Money Store
Brutality that pulls you along instead of dragging you under
The first impulse after listening to Death Grips’ The Money Store might scan similarly to the initial take of their debut Exmilitary: hip-hop as skater thrash, the more aggro strains of both worlds fused in some Bomb Squad meets Bones Brigade shit. But that’s what second impressions are for. As easy as it is to draw parallels to the old punk-rap touchstones, there’s something about this vital noise that makes it hard to situate it at any specific moment in either genre’s hardcore continuum. MC Ride’s raspy bellow has the kind of harsh tone East Coast heads will appreciate — think Bobby Digital-era RZA shouting himself hoarse, cranked up to Waka Flocka Flame levels of intensity, turning cryptic threats and manic free association into shout-along lines. Meanwhile, the clamor throbbing beneath his voice pulls more from the brain trust of contemporary West Coast bass music — a la the popular L.A. club night Low End Theory — than anything else. Southern bounce, electro and boogie funk all with the gloss beaten off are full-Nelsoned into raw-hamburger renditions of grime and dubstep, with the EQ levels pushed into snarling, aching overload. If that sounds a bit brutal, it’s the kind of brutality that pulls you along instead of dragging you under — no matter how belligerent the sound gets, it’s less a confrontation than an appeal to shared catharsis.