Death Grips - Jenny Death (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Death Grips

Jenny Death (2015)


Death Grips is like the George R. R. Martin of music. Zach Hill, MC Ride, and Andy Morin are punk rock to the core. They do not care what you want. They do not need you to like them. They are going to make the music they want regardless of your opinions. If you don’t like it, screw you. If you do like it, screw you anyway.

When it comes down to it, Death Grips is a group of talented shitheads. They are unpredictable, violent troublemakers. They stir the pot for no reason, and most of the time, their fans embrace it with open arms. What’s cooler than saying “fuck you” to a label by going behind their back and releasing it on their own? Then having the record label hate them so much, they were let out of their contract. How about using a dick pic as album artwork? This year, even after Jenny Death leaked, Death Grips threw the whole album up on their youtube page to be listened to freely.

But what about the music on Jenny Death (the second part of The Powers That B)? After last year’s niggas on the moon (the first part of The Powers That B) and January's Fashion Week, arguably the group’s weakest entries and the least experimental, this album is all over the place. But it’s also a return to form for the band, if you can call anything they’ve done form. Fashion Week, in particular, could not have been the group we know because the instrumental album lacked the band’s heart. Without MC Ride, the lineup felt incomplete. Sure the music was interesting, and Zach Hill was as impressive as always, but we also needed that angry touch of humanity.

On Jenny Death's single, if you can call it that, we get more of Ride than we bargained for. “On GP,” deals with death, specifically suicide. It’s safe to say all topics Death Grips touches upon hold a significance in their lives, but this is next level. “Last night, 3:30 in the morning, death on my front porch. Can feel him itching to take me with him. Hail death, fuck you waiting for?” is haunting, to say the least. It’s a great song, and connects on a more personal level than some of their other tracks.

Let’s see. What else? I'm trying not to use the words rap rock here. Opener “I Break Mirrors With My Face in the Unites States” is an aural assault that wouldn’t feel out of place on their debut. “Why a Bitch Gotta Lie” feels like a heavy “Intergalactic,” while “The Powers That B” could pass for an early 2000s nu metal song. Jenny Death doesn’t limit itself to the music you’d expect to hear from rap or rock or electronica. This is a group of guys who have a solid grasp on sound as a whole, always opting for the most intense experience, whether that involves their go-to hardcore sound or something like album closer and accurately titled, “Death Grips 2.0.” This title, more than anything, leaves us unclear of the band’s future.

What we really want and need from Death Grips is unpredictability. They’re a band constantly on the brink of internal combustion and their sound represents that. It speaks to the credibility of the musicians, particularly Zach Hill, that a band this reckless can have such a committed group of followers because even at their worst, it’s something fresh.

So where do we go from here? Death Grips has a tour lined up for later this year, but will they show up? Will they instead cancel the whole thing? Or will it be some sort of art project designed to piss everyone off? Who knows? Hey, at least we got another album. But other than that, we’re guaranteed nothing, which is exactly why we keep coming back.