It’s finally here. After eight months the hip hop trio Death Grips finally released the second half of their two-part album “The Powers That B.” Albeit it was leaked first, but whatever, it’s here and it’s awesome.
Like graffiti covering a bathroom stall, the message “JENNY DEATH WHEN” has made its home on countless forums and blogs, nestling itself into the fabric of the Internet as fans waited for the album to drop. Death Grips themselves were aware of the levels of excitement of their fans and met it by having the playlist of their instrumental album “Fashion Week” spell out “JENNY DEATH WHEN.”
In the weeks leading up to the release, conspiracy theories about the possible drop date of the album began to crop up. Many of those theories revolved around the album coming out on Friday the 13th in March, but some were extremely abstract. One involved the album cover of the first album of “The Powers That B” entitled “Niggas On The Moon,” which shows a photograph of vocalist MC Ride walking through a graveyard. Some fans used the photograph to find the actual graveyard, look at the map of it, and verify a possible release date from the plot number and owner of the grave MC Ride was walking past. All of this proved to be redundant when the album was leaked on various file sharing websites on March 19.
“Jenny Death” and its release is an example of what being a fan of Death Grips is all about: the comfort of knowing they don’t really care about you or what you think. The group has found ways to screw with their fans in increasingly cryptic and sadistic ways many times in the past. They led a number of fans to stand outside a pay phone in New York to pick up a call and get some instrumentals from the album “No Love Deep Web,” they’ve not arrived at scheduled shows, and they even announced their break-up by scrawling a note on a napkin in 2014. Later, the break-up was shown to be completely false when they announced a North American tour on March 24 of this year.
“Jenny Death” is, in its own way, a message to the fans as well as a work of complete lunacy and anger. It starts with “I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States,” a track brimming with all the intensity of a punk on bath salts on the highway, hurling burning televisions at passing vehicles. Zach Hill’s drumming comes to the forefront immediately after a shocking blast of synthesized ringing. MC Ride begins chanting the title louder and louder, displaying his unique style of rapping – that is, shouting nearly every lyric as powerfully as he can. The lyrics depict MC Ride attempting to abandon the real world, saying, “I don’t care about real life.” Later, the lyric “too many mirrors wear my face, these broken mirrors take my place” demonstrates possibly that MC Ride is destroying or mutilating the way he sees himself.
This song connects with the later track entitled “The Powers That B,” where MC Ride discusses the way fans seek to know every single thing about him. MC Ride is known for being extremely secretive despite his performing style, and fans flock to learn more about him. “The Powers That B” is possibly the loudest track on the album, beginning at a medium volume then blasting into a speaker-cracking explosion of strained synthesizer noise and MC Ride screaming the title at a volume that sounds like his brain is about to blow out of his skull. He states that “I can’t know what I’m about to do” and that his favorite color is “oh my god bitch,” referencing both his vague lifestyle as well as his disinterest in giving any real information about himself, even his favorite color.
Death Grips is one of the most interesting groups playing in our age. They continue to change and mutate with every album with complete disregard for the interests of anyone but themselves. It’s this extreme way of producing work that will make them an entity that will never truly lose our attention.