Sounds Like: Nimble-tongued, beat-fractured L.A. hip-hop spilled over the abrasive crunches, squeals, clangs, slurps, and static of experimental musique concrète.
For Fans Of: Death Grips, Run the Jewels, Public Enemy
Why You Should Pay Attention: Their Sub Pop debut, clppng, is definitely the first album to have a Gangsta Boo cameo and a John Cage cover. Hip-hop is headed to noisier terrain, and the Los Angeles trio does Kanye and Death Grips one better by recording with actual noises: The tip-tapping beat of "Work Work" was made by rolling a ball-bearing in a metal Thermos, smashing cinder blocks, and crumpling a beer can. William Hutson, who co-produces with Jonathan Snipes first mentally connected the dots between hip-hop and musique concrète when he first heard the latter in high school. "It sounded like, 'Oh, people are doing what Public Enemy was doing, but they're just losing the regular rhythms," says Hutson. "I wanna say maybe specifically, it was Drew [Daniel] from Matmos in about 2000, I was reading something he was writing where he argued that the baby laughing in that Aaliyah song, "Are You That Somebody" – that was Drew's argument that hip-hop and musique concrète are the same thing. I always go back and remember that as some sort of justification. This is what we're doing, that's what they're doing, We're just part of a tradition."
They Say: Some of rapper Daveed Diggs's nimblest rhymes are on "Get Up," a song performed over most people's least favorite sound, the incessant beep beep beep of an alarm clock. "I think that beat manages to at once propel the song the way a beat should, but also be kind of the harshest thing we've done," says Diggs. "Using something that is really painful, generally, as the percussive element for a beat, I think is cool…. To me that song ends up sounding really beautiful – but maybe that only happens after you listened to it 200 times. It was terribly hard for Steve [Kaplan], who was mixing and engineering the album. I had to constantly turn it down in the studio. It never bothered me. But, I also don't wake up to an alarm clock [laughs]. I'm an artist, so days don't start on any regular time."
Hear for Yourself: The ball-bearing and cinder block symphony "Work, Work" featuring Cocc Pistol Cree. CHRISTOPHER R. WEINGARTEN