Album Review: “Government Plates” by Death Grips

Death Grips

Experimental hip-hop group capitalizes on raw, brutal energy for their fourth full-length album.

Death Grips hates you. But don’t take it personally — they hate everyone. Whether it’s canceling shows to work on their album “No Love Deep Web” or releasing it for free without their label’s consent, the experimental hip-hop group has gained considerable notoriety as inconsiderate punks. It should come as no surprise, then, that their music is just as bold as one would expect, blurring the lines between hip-hop and punk with aggressive production and the screams and raps of lead vocalist MC Ride.

On their newest album, “Government Plates,” Death Grips find itself moving further into its insane world, expanding on topics such as sociopathic violence and an inherent distrust of anyone and everyone. It’s both cathartic and twisted — deranged, even — a scattershot barrage of cryptic lyrics and minimalist productions. The majority of songs are densely packed with MC Ride’s voice and manipulations of it. Syllables and lines are cut and looped as multiple voices bounce off one another in schizophrenic frenzy. The voice becomes an instrument, conveying crazed human emotion through a contorted, abstracted medium. Take “This is Violence Now (Don’t Get Me Wrong),” which makes rhythmic use of Ride’s voice to punctuate the swirling synths and madman shouts.

It’s easy for Death Grips’s music to overwhelm. Right when the sound of glass shatters on the first track, the madness grabs onto you and refuses to let go. “Government Plates” exists in a state of engrossing unease, a reprieve from normality into your own disturbed psyche. Death Grips creates raw, amorphous rage with reckless abandon, and listeners would be hard-pressed to not experience their cathartic release. On opener “You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money…” Ride proclaims, “I hover above you / Life pulled out your mouth / I become you.” The listener experiences MC Ride’s psychosis, feels every word he says, every cry of paranoia and pain.

“Government Plates” is an unstable experience, bursting at the seams with hypnotic shouts and cries backed with barebones drumming and distorted synthesizers. It draws out those flashes of insanity present in us all, pushing them to extreme highs that never come back down.

Rating: 4.5 stars
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