HORROR MONTH #18: NO LOVE DEEP WEB, by Death Grips (2012)

Type of Media: Music Album

Sometimes the world is just awful. There are enough cruel people that you don't need ghosts or witches to make existence horrifying, you just need to run into the wrong person. And in the world of hip hop, that person is MC Ride.

MC Ride, rapper for the experimental hip hop group Death Grips, paints himself as the personification of the worst aspects of humanity. A violent, drugged up maniac who lurks in society's underbelly and the hidden pages of the darknet, Ride is masculinity taken to a nihilistic extreme, and NO LOVE DEEP WEB features him at his worst. Over stripped-down beats and heavy synths, Ride's lyrics alternate between hatred for himself and hatred for everyone else, and every scenario he paints is about either domination of another or suffering from self-destruction.

The opening track, Come Up and Get Me, starts off with what sounds like a bass having a heart attack before adding in some claps. MC Ride comes in, yelling like he's being forced to record at gunpoint, and describes being in an abandoned 8-story building with blacked out windows, surrounded by forces either real or imagined that want him dead. The only ways he sees out are either fighting or jumping out the window to his death.

Two tracks later is No Love, the closest thing this album has to a single and maybe familiar to you if you've seen the drug trip sequence in season 1 of Bojack Horseman. With a marching drum beat and descending synth hits, it sounds like what would play while an army of robots massacres humanity. A distorted Ride narrates a bad drug trip from the position of the drug itself, saying "You're fit to learn the proper meaning of a beatdown, madness, chaos in the brain," before listing all the suffering he's about to cause as he flows through you.

For all of his macho posturing, MC Ride is very aware of how damaged and fragile he is mentally and emotionally. In Whammy Ride admits "big man is small man with a tall can of flaws," and Bass Rattle Stars Out the Sky has him worrying about a permanent break from reality due to all the psychic stress taking drugs puts him through. However, this only serves to make him more menacing. Even though he's teetering on the edge of life, he's too far gone to change. He'll keep hurting and being hurt until he's gone.

Sonically NO LOVE DEEP WEB is definitely the scariest-sounding music I've recommended so far. Putting on No Love can legitimately frighten people because it sounds so lacking in humanity. Death Grips producer Flatlander normally throws in sampled vocals and catchier chord progressions, but on this album he keeps the production very simple with heavy bass, trap-influenced rattling high hats, and a lot of dropping, distorted synths. The beats have a primal, hyper-aggressive energy thanks to drummer Zach Hill, who recorded his parts on acoustic and electronic drum sets.

The result is some very divisive music that sounds like it was made by some very unhappy people. While it may not be great to put on at your Halloween party, NO LOVE DEEP WEB is an album for exploring the darker side of humanity and embracing your inner beast.