Death Grips had already shocked me last year with their debut mixtape, Exmilitary. It’s energy, crazy lyrics and loudness made it unlike anything else in hip-hop. MC Ride and Zach Hill work great together, with Zach Hill sounding like the only person who could possibly match the sheer brutality of MC Ride’s lyrics and screams.
The screams that took me by surprise on Exmilitary are slightly toned down here, but The Money Store ends up being even more shocking and scary than Exmilitary. First off, the lack of samples works for it, which I wasn’t expecting, given how fantastic the samples were on the mixtape. The Money Store is still more of the sounds on that was on their other mixtape, but everything is more finely tuned and ends up packing a bigger punch.
Zach Hill didn’t really impress me with his solo work and his work with Hella is quite good at moments, what he does on The Money Store is near perfect at times with the mix of loudness and clarity. It seems like a simple concept, but something this loud and brutal should come across with this crisp of a sound that ends up sounding great on vinyl and headphones.
The beats are quite bass heavy throughout, with “System Blower” and “Blackjack” sounding like a fucked up version of dubstep, while the opening track “Get Got” is freaking loud with MC Ride giving his best rapping so far with lots of lyrics in such a short amount of time that it’s hard to catch anything unless you have the lyrics. “The Fever (Aye Aye)” is quite catchy while still being really intense. “Lost Boys” has a thick bass and comes off like a direct hip-hop song until MC Ride starts going.
The only moment on The Money Store that gets really close hip-hop might be “I See Footage”, with MC Ride screaming like a madman and actually giving some straightforward rap verses. “Double Helix” is extraordinarily disorienting with some looped vocals that make for a really bizarre listen. “The Cage” has some really gross modulation in the beat and “Punk Weight” has some interesting sampling from some sort of middle eastern song that really throws off the flow of the album for a second, then the track goes straight into a really messy drum beat and more crazy and dark raps from MC Ride.
“Fuck That” has some great tribal drums that sound great enough by themselves, and then MC Ride makes it something else completely. “Bitch Please” is another track that could almost be mistaken for a typical rap track, with lyrics about “smoking rock” it could have been stupid coming from anyone else, but it ends up being really scary and shows just how damned most rap music really is.
The closing song, “Hacker” is one of the most unique tracks on The Money Store (which is really saying something), bringing up paranoia in the internet age mentioning Wikileaks, “Lady Gaga can’t handle this” and the scary chorus of “I’m in your area!” “Hacker” ends up being paranoid and really creepy, like most the tracks on The Money Store. This album is quite abrasive and not for everybody. While it’s hip-hop, it’s not like anything else made in the hip-hop genre. Death Grips have an energy that isn’t matched by anyone else out there today, but it’s more than just full throttle, high octane noise. The use of beats, distortion and loudness is shocking but it’s also so well done that it comes off as a great listening experience.
Rating: 9.3 out of 10.