Clipping by definition is ‘when a form of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability.’ This seems appropriate for the hip hop trio that when they put out their first album, ‘Midcity’ last year they drew many comparisons to Death Grips. This was because of their relationship with noise incorporated with hip hop.
This year they have released their second album ‘Clppng’ which again offers the impeccable production from Jonathon Snipes and William Hutson with Daveed Deegs’ brutal lyricism. Only this time they’ve toned down the noise in favour of more minimalist approach allowing Deegs to show off his incredible flow, lyrics and the rapid fire speed in which he can rap.
Right from the beginning the production allows Deegs to have a much bigger part in the music than before and he has more of a chance to focus on his lyrics. The intro to the album is simply a minute of feedback with him letting loose of the top showing us what he can do in terms of his technical ability. His lyrics draw influences from elements of west side gangster rap in that it’s very dark and twisted but delivered in a way that is almost conventional. There is much more focus on the melody and hooks on this album with songs like ‘Work Work’ which features one of the bounciest, infectious hooks they’ve ever produced.
There seems to be a theme throughout the album of Deegs being unhappy with the world in which he finds himself in and often mocks our culture. This is shown in songs like ‘Dream’ which carries strong religious connotations. It has a gloomy bell ringing throughout and Deegs is rapping about how he wants god to flood us again so we can start fresh and right our wrongs. They also take several digs at other hip hop artists with lyrics simply mocking them like ‘Bye bitchh, Mob shit, Boss talk, Game rich, Name game, Gang signs’ This list is simply showing so many of the typical things you can expect to find in an average hip hop songs and how they’re tired of it. It’s a well heard of thing in itself to be tired of ‘the game’ but it’s such a fresh approach to it.
Just because there is a more minimalist approach certainly doesn’t mean that the production is any less innovative. Every single song has been so specifically designed so that even though there‘s so much variety in the songs, they flow into each other with such coherence. Even though a lot of the songs are less noisy than on ‘Midcity‘ and more hook driven, the production is still extremely entertaining. ’Work Work’ has Clanking metallic sounds throughout and flittering synths during the hook. The song ’Body & Blood’ is essentially an industrial hip hop song, with apocalyptic robotic sounds in the background and a massive thumping distorted bass line that at times sounds terrifying. Hutson and Snipes use anything and everything in there arsenal to make beats to the point where the song ‘Get Up’ uses the irritating all too familiar sound of an alarm clock and uses it as an extremely entertaining beat and when the chorus comes there is a harmony of alarm clocks. If there’s one weak link in the entire album it’s the song ‘Tonight’ which features an autotune driven chorus that sounds unbelievably out of place and would ruin the entire song, if it wasn’t for a solid verse from ‘Gangsta Boo’ who is one of the many great collaborations on the LP.
Clipping draw so many different things out of the bag, both in terms of Deeg’s delivery, flow and lyricism that interprets life in ways similar to the way gangster rap often portrays them. But in the same breath even though it’s less noisy than their previous effort the production ends up being even more of a treat than on their debut LP. They bring a wider sonic pallet and allow room for much more hook driven and rewarding songs.