Hello squid kids! While I normally cover anime, movies, and video games, I’ll sometimes discuss on this blog about some musical tracks that I enjoy quite a bit. The song that I’ll be talking about today is called On GP and it’s from a musical trio that I truly hold in high esteem, Death Grips. Before I talk about the song, I’ll give you a brief background of the qualities of this interesting band. Andy Morin, the producer of the group, instills an abrasive and industrial soundscape that’s reminiscent of the chaotic and anarchic ambience of artists like Aphex Twin and Nine Inch Nails. Zach Hill, the drummer, plays with astounding cohesion and ferocity that I don’t think any other drummer can emulate. And Stefan Burnett (also known as MC Ride), raps with a unique cadence and demeanor that would make an intimidating group like Wu-Tang Clan sound like Barney & Friends.
Death Grips, in my opinion, is one of the most sonically cathartic and idiosyncratic bands in the world of music today. With each album, they push the boundaries of auditory experimentation to unparalleled heights, and they explore very lurid themes (governmental surveillance, materialism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, perversion, self-deprecation, etc.) that are normally overlooked within the mainstream music sphere, and encapsulate a wide array of conflicting emotions to the listener.
On GP, the second to last song on their sixth record, Jenny Death, is an extremely bleak and somber experience to digest through no matter how many times you listen to it. This track carries itself with a guitar chord progression with Stefan’s rapping seamlessly layered over it. He switches between his roaring vocal delivery with a more calm and reflective tone in each alternating verse to the next.
Thematically speaking, On GP is quite different from other lyrical compositions within the Death Grips discography. In terms of narrative structure, this song clearly gravitates towards a clear-cut theme, suicide. This was a surprise to me at first since most of their songs are told in a very cryptic and open-ended manner which leaves a lot of room for many different interpretations. Stefan throws out lines like, “Phone ring too long, I’m probably gone, ringtone jingle my swan song” and “Last night, three thirty in the morning, Death on my front porch. Can feel him itching to take me with him, hail Death, f*ck you waiting for?” Stefan is clearly emphasizing the mental state of mind that can come when people are contemplating the harrowing choice of possibly ending their own life. What really left an impression on me was how personal this track felt. Usually Stefan raps as his alter-ego MC Ride, and the songs usually feel a bit over-the-top and fictitious. While this song feels like a more intimate and private account into his daily life, which felt very genuine and heart-felt. On GP had me in tears the first time I listened to it, this is the first song that ever triggered that response from me.
As for what it all means? I think Death Grips leave it open for discussion even though the subject matter is more concrete. But, the message I got from this was how maintaining a dominant stage presence as a musician or a band can possibly conflict with your personal life. While I’m delving into speculation, I imagine that a musical career can be quite overbearing at times, and you might be forced to constantly adapt or cut ties with some close friends in order to maintain both relevancy and mental sanity. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if my consummation of this track was entirely wrong. I think the only individuals who will ever completely understand the message behind this song are the band members themselves. All in all, this is an excellent and transcendental track in their ever-growing discography. It’s poignant and displays a level of sincerity unlike any of their other prior compositions.
Thanks for stopping by! If you’re interested in hearing other individual tracks by Death Grips before tackling one of their albums, I’ve provided links down below to some of their other notable songs. Have a great day, fellow inklings. Stay fresh!