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Death Grips as a 21st century cultural artifact.

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death grips as a cultural artifcat.

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Death Grips as a 21st century cultural artifact.

  1. 1. Death Grips are what is most easily defined as an experimental hip-hop trio hailing from Sacramento, California, formed in late 2010 by drummer Zach Hill, vocalist Stefan Burnett, and synth player/sampler Andy Morin. The music the band plays is characterized by collaborative input of each of the band members own unique take on rap music, with metal and punk influences resulting in some of the most aggressive and polarizing music of the past few years. GENERAL
  2. 2. The band’s lone major label release, The Money Store, was one of the best reviewed records of 2012. Released only months after TMS, the band’s next album, No Love Deep Web, received 31 million legal downloads on BitTorrent after it was leaked by the members themselves following their labels refusal to release the album (for which they were subsequently dropped). GENERAL As well as these full lengths, Death Grips has also independently released two free mixtapes, ex-military and Government Plates. Despite having only been active for 3 years, Death Grips has achieved more than most bands do in their lifetime, representing a new wave of innovation for music and the music industry.
  3. 3. Death Grips’ lyrics are heavily characterized by misanthropy, fear, violence, and mental instability. According to vocalist Burnett, the lyrics come from the perspective of the id, summoned, and the glorification of the gut. LYRICS Through the lens of Burkeian analysis, lyrics featuring such relentless and honest self reflection heavily tie in with mortification and the comic frame, the acknowledgement of personal faults and demons that places blame for such inner torment completely on one’s self.
  4. 4. Death Grips has experienced more than their fair share of controversy, all at the expense of choices they’ve made as a band regarding their brand of art. Entire tours have been cancelled at the expense of finishing albums, crowds at a show were stood up due to a fan’s suicide, and internal emails were purposefully leaked with the hope of being dropped from their label following the release of NLDW, an album with an erect penis on the cover.. CONTROVERSY Given the significant, polarizing backlash some of these actions have resulted in for the band, one needs to again take into account the purpose for which they were carried out; To somehow further the musical goals of a band as innovative and forward-thinking as Death Grips. The questions raised by this tie in with Stuart Hall and Paddy Whannel’s assertion in their book, The Popular Arts, that elements of culture that can be considered true art shouldn’t be subject to scrutiny based on outside circumstances.
  5. 5. CONCLUSION “I am ready to take my own life. Many bad experiences led me to this dark void that I am locked in. Maybe by my own hands? I don't really care anymore. I just wanted to say thank you for showing me the other side. the side that is locked away deep inside a person. I am mad. Mad all the time and depressed all the time. I can't take it. I'm not afraid of dying but i am afraid that I can't hear DG in the after life if there is such a thing. I don't know, but I hope your music transcends to the unknown. A place where DG's essence exists. A place where art exists. I love art. That's the one thing that kept me alive? this long. So just to ease minds, DG didn't "influence" me to do this. this is my own fucking choice. but thanks for making my life a little better. you're my absolute fave and I will fight the gods if they don't allow me to follow DG's efforts can't see Earth. Anyways, continue doing great things. I love you Stefan, Zach, and Andy. I will be watching.” -AJJ

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