Release Date: Apr 24, 2012
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap, Left-Field Hip-Hop
If for nothing else, The Money Store will be noteworthy for featuring perhaps the most unnecessary use of the "Parental Advisory: Explicit Language" label in its entire history. For a start the little monochrome killjoy is tucked away underneath an unapologetically crude sketch of a dominatrix and her (presumably) male yet mammary-endowed gimp. Secondly, of course The Money Store is ridiculously sweary, but anybody likely to be offended by a bit of bad language honestly won't last more than a minute into the assault of noise that comprises Death Grips' second album; if the potential purchaser should be warned about anything, surely it should be the record's potential to cause panic attacks/complete mental breakdowns.
It’s difficult to deny the social, cultural, and political significance that frequently appears to attend the culture of music. But in the matter of experiential meaning, of temporal engagement with sound, the endeavor to pinpoint the identity of meaning in music is largely disadvantageous. I — ironically, as a music writer — agree with Jamie Saft that “when considering terms to deconstruct music, all language is equally useless in expressing something extra-linguistic.
Death GripsThe Money Store[Epic; 2012]By Brendan Frank; April 24, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetTrying to be objective about something that comes entirely down to personal taste can be a challenge. For music that is clearly going to do something different for everybody, it really seems needless to quantify how you think everyone is going to feel. The rules of basic personal preference will hold especially true for Death Grips’ The Money Store.
Death Grips are angry. It's unclear why. But their thirst for vengeance, their monomaniacal desire to visit fiery destruction on the powers-that-be, is crystal-clear on The Money Store, even if nothing else-- where the hell this album came from; who plays which instrument; what the lead singer is yelling about; and what on earth this band of insurgents is doing signing an Epic Records contract with L.A.
“It goes it goes it goes it goes…” ...Rather better than anticipated, actually. Indeed, Death Grips’ second album, and first of a pair due via the major label machine of Epic before the year is out, is the most intoxicating, invigorating, envelope-pushing long-player of 2012 to date. And while this writer isn’t about to leap to the premature conclusion that it’s the album of 2012, the release schedule for the foreseeable offers little to rival its immense power over the listener.
Death Grips :: The Money StoreEpic RecordsAuthor: Patrick TaylorSacramento rap/noise crew Death Grips came on the scene last year with their excellent mixtape "Exmilitary" and a series of crazy videos. Somehow someone at Epic Records heard their music, which features MC Ride ranting about illegal drugs over illegal samples, and decided that it was the perfect money-making machine. Eazy-E was on Epic, so maybe they know a thing or two about turning offensive hip-hop into dollar bills.
A confusing band from the get-go, Death Grips' first release, Exmilitary, was maybe a mixtape, maybe a debut, or maybe both, but there's little doubt that the freely downloadable monster was a headline release in the underground hip-hop renaissance of 2011. From Lil B to Shabazz Palaces, it was a great time to right click, but the 2012 season often involved entering credit card information -- not just to some file-hosting service but to an old-school record label, which in the case of the game-changing The Money Store, is shockingly the Sony-owned Epic. That this restless blast of paranoid avant-rap was released by an imprint that was also committed to signing the winner of the X-Factor recalls a time when you could follow Throbbing Gristle releases all the way up to Warner Bros, but none of this would matter if the music wasn't amazing itself, and it is.
"L.A. Reid got in touch and asked if we'd meet with him at the Sony building in Los Angeles... It quickly became apparent that these people truly believed in what we were doing and understood our vision. We recognized the unlimited possibilities and total freedom this relationship would bring artistically...
That there remains a major label out there willing to shower money on a group as experimental and visceral and plain fucking out-there as Death Grips is either testament to the fact there are still a select handful of believers and risk-takers left in this rotten industry, or a sign that all up top have lost their minds for good. Debuting last year with ‘Ex-Military’, this Sacramento trio of self-described “freaks and outsiders” play a strain of rap music jerry-rigged to test the listener to the limits of their endurance: a post-millennial, hyper-masculine eruption of distorted beats and samples presided over by the group’s lone wolf MC, Ride, who perpetually gives it 110 per cent, and then gives it just a little more. The overall effect is a little bit like cowering in a ditch, being berated by an angry drill sergeant, as hip-hop explodes all around you.
Following last year’s highly lauded Exmilitary mixtape, Death Grips – a Sacramento avant-rap outfit comprised of vocalist Stefan Burnett and the production duo Zach Hill and Andy Morin – released their major label debut, The Money Store, on industry stalwart Epic Records. The trio’s very existence depends on toeing a line between maintaining rap’s brooding thuggish-ness without overpowering it with their dubstep-inspired aesthetic. It’s a delicate balance that The Money Store maintains quite well, but when that balance crumbles, which it can with violent intensity, we get cuts like “Lost Boys” and “Hustle Bones”.
Review Summary: Well at least there's no dick on the coverEssentially, The Money Store is pseudo-intellectual music for non-hip hop fans. It attempts to present a curious combination of genre-bending ideas, yet falls into a very simple category of poorly executed shock rap. Veteran virtuoso drummer Zach Hill of math group Hella has a hand in the production here - surprising as it may seem - to the tune of regurgitated, noisy dubstep, strangely placed whirring, bleeps, bloops, and other sorts of progressive production techniques mish-moshed together in poor taste.
The California trio Death Grips' experimental hip-hop is punishing in its aggression – although their major label debut tones it down somewhat from last year's Exmilitary mixtape, which was brutal to the point of unlistenability over 45 minutes. Rapper Stefan Burnett's furious vocals are less foregrounded, and they deign to pressgang their industrial distortions and rhythmic assaults into the service of an actual groove on occasion; the way Death Grips revel in the sheer range of sounds available to them is reminiscent of both Dälek and Gang Gang Dance in spirit, and at times in sound, too. Hustle Bones breaks into wildly oscillating electro out of nowhere, while on the thrilling Hacker, beats run amok amid explosions and sirens like a crowd scattering from danger.
There's high comedy afoot on the old web-machine these days. Press attempts to answer the question 'What are Death Grips?' have taken a turn for the surreal, like a particularly psychotropic game of Seven Degrees Of Kevin Bacon. Placing DG's music in relation to the surrounding musical landscape has become the journo's version of The Aristocrats joke.
Hardcore hip-hop used to be kind of scary, but now the “toughest” guys of the lot just seem like bloated parade-float parodies. Death Grips is actually scary, in the right kind of way, the way that releases floodgates of adrenaline. The group makes its major-label debut with The Money Store, an album that is frightening not so much in a “9mm shooting parallel to the asphalt” sort of way but rather in a “serpent with a ruby for an eye that turns you into stone” sort of way.
An incredible, precedent-resetting manifesto from the Californian extreme rap crew. Paul Lester 2012 Even given the stellar company – Odd Future, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky et al – Death Grips stood out in hip hop circles in 2011. Vocalist Stefan Burnett, aka MC Ride, and the production team of Andy Morin (under the alias Flatlander) and Zach Hill, the drummer for Hella, actually didn’t so much stand out as pummel and bludgeon with their debut album/mixtape Exmilitary.