Death Grips is truly the American Civil War of music. Everyone I know that has listened to Death Grips comes from various backgrounds I know half of them either worship the band like a religion or hate them with a flaming passion. I, for one, love them and consider myself to be a big fan. Their experimental, industrial music has become a real game changer not only in the hip-hop community, but in music as a whole. However, Death Grips is also known for their controversy, and that has caused fans to abandon them.
They are known for messing with their own fans, which has made followers of their music very upset and wary. Whenever they announce something, Death Grips usually goes out of their way to do the exact opposite. For instance, when they were still signed to the record label Harvest Label Death Grips leaked their own album months earlier for free. It was no surprise that their label dropped them soon afterwards. They would continue with these antics to the point where they would skip out on numerous shows from their tour. These shows would usually conclude with their gear, which was set up, being trashed on stage. Death Grips constantly destroys our expectations with their unpredictability. It’s a constant bait and switch that makes fans want to bite their tongues. This behavior has made many people angry, to the point that Death Grips has lost many of their followers.
Back in early 2014 Death Grips released the first half of their new album called The Powers that B. The EP was called N***** On the Moon and received positive reviews. However, a few months later Death Grips decided it was a good idea to give a breakup notice. It was scrawled on a napkin and posted to Twitter and Facebook right before they were about to go on tour with Nine Inch Nails, and this led every fan of Death Grips into an uproar of shock and despair. As a fan it felt like being divorced from a lover of twenty years after going on an incredible trip to Disneyworld. However, the band rekindled their fans’ hopes by announcing the release of the second half of the album in the near future. It was titled Jenny Death, but Death Grips has yet to state when they are going to release it.
Since their breakup nothing new has come from Death Grips. Fans have been impatiently waiting for the second half of The Powers that B, barraging music forums and YouTube videos with the words, “Jenny Death When?” Months would trudge on with no word from the band; they continued to shroud themselves in mystery, almost like ninjas. But back in December, Death Grips rose from the grave with full force and released a song that’s supposedly from the second half of The Powers that B called “Inanimate Sensation“. This rekindled the excitement for followers, teasing us with a taste of the music they are due to release. That single track in December was one of the biggest surprises and confusing moments of last year – I don’t think anyone expected this song. This track alone is, without a doubt, one of the strangest additions to their discography, mainly because of the synthesizers building up to the point one feels your eyes are going to pop out.
Earlier this month Death Grips again surprised everyone by releasing an instrumental album out of the nowhere for free. The album is called Fashion Week and it’s interesting that it was released as a fourteen track album, considering they broke up almost a year ago. What’s particularly noteworthy about the set list is that each track is a capitalized letter that spells out the words “JENNY DEATH WHEN”, clearly making fun of their fans who are anticipating for the second half of The Powers That B.
It feels like they are going to continue abusing their fan base, and at this rate, I’m not surprised. It’s possible that this will be their MO for years to come. I even wonder if Death Grips even actually broke up to begin with. For all we know they’re just taking a hiatus, trying to stay out of the spotlight that is increasingly trying to shine on them.
If you think about it, no other band has ever pulled these types of stunts. It’s understandable why people would lose faith in them and not listen to their music anymore; who decides to open for Nine Inch Nails and then breaks up right before the tour? But with all of their flaws Death Grips has accomplished incredible feats as well. They’ve released an album every single year since their formation. They even released two albums in the same year, and broke up their band midway through the making of another album. Not only that, but what band decides to release almost all of their music for free online? Because of these antics and their raw talent, Death Grips has become one of the most fascinating bands out there. If anything, I believe they’ve hurt themselves, in a way. If they truly wanted to get away from the media they should stop with the crazy stunts, but everyone who listens to them knows that they are going to keep doing what they feel like because they truly don’t care.
As difficult and unpredictable as they can be, I can’t help but continue to follow them no matter how frustrating it is. There have been times where I’ve literally screamed at my computer monitor after learning about some of their actions; yet at the same time I can’t stop enjoying their music. Death Grips is truly a unique group with a style that’s impossible to copy – they are intense and engaging throughout, and that’s what keeps fans like me waiting to hear more news from them, taking any source of information that we can get. One could say it almost sounds like a clever and complex marketing scheme. One thing is for certain though; there hasn’t been any other band like this before in music and to see them continually spiraling around on this unpredictable path constantly keeps them appealing no matter how angry I get.