Montony Monday #4 – Midcity Madness
clipping.: ndstrl n mzng
The short of it: clipping. is what I think Death Grips sounds to their fans. It’s industrial with melodic sensibilities; Diggs’ lyrical ability and adaptable flow make him on of the most underrated MCs in the game.
The one sound that makes every working person’s skin crawl is the breeching sound of an alarm clock.
And clipping., made of rapper Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame) and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, turns it into a pulsing song where his voice darts between each blare of the alarm. He begrudgingly credits the painful wake up for the 9-5 as a way to survive but twists the drudgery of an office job as the struggle of the street hustle.
clipping.’s beats are often minimal, allowing Diggs plenty of room for his particular method of storytelling. Every description is oddly fascinating, a mix of simple and esoteric. His street stories are humanizing potrayals of the broken souls lost in poverty. He tells tales of murderers and arsonists, gangsters and dealers. They become whole people, compete with their flaws and desires that create their criminal behavior. Every single one of these characters is so vulnerable, a side of the most vulnerable population that is rarely used well in stories.
All of this is backed by simplistic, often pulsing beats where the most common sound is arguably bursts of static. These beats don’t ramp up to complicated climaxes; instead, they maintain their constant thumping as Diggs effortlessly follows along. The hooks often see a slight transition of a slight upwards pitch or a slowly rising bassline, but they never overpower or challenge the vocals. Instead, the two interweave to form a single musical force. Every clipping. song is a harmony of dissonance, with discomforting sounds blended into melodic stories.
clipping. is absolutely deserving of the period at the end of their name- they’re the high point of the experimental hip-hop movement.