Hip-hop has always been a representation of street poetry, the beats and spoken verses working in a mellifluous way to its listeners and fans. To understand how this exactly works, CLPPNG by clipping. a West Coast hip-hop trio definitely needs to be heard, although not for the right reasons.
With one of the most outstanding débuts in 2013 clipping. followed up the record with CLPPNG, their full-length sophomore album from Sub Pop records. I do not doubt the authenticity of the West Coast based trio in their efforts of marrying noise and hip-hop, a genre of music that isn't mainstream hip-hop, but the effort begs for more to be done in the vocal areas. Daveed Diggs, who leads the trio, brings in under-ground noise and hip-hop, keeping rap verses and emotion his primary focus, leaving the music to simple de-constructed beats.
The trio has hit gold with a decent attempt at making noise - a genre that as a concept is meant strictly for the under-ground music scene - partially interesting for once. Intro, at only 66 seconds gives you an idea of what you can expect on the album as you listen through it. Simple beats, digital noise and piercing yet distinct tones are followed by tracks like Body & Blood, the eerie end-of the-world but insistent kick drum effect. Work Work ft. Cocc Pistol Cree upon the first listen is really good until the slightly off-toned rap verses by Cocc kick in. Dream definitely should be given some radio play if possible. The bell and dripping tap sounds add an otherwise unknown element of musicality to the oddest thing that can instrumentalise audio.
A lot of digital editing is visible in the album, the best of which can be heard on William's Mix ft. Tom Erbe, a California based programmer/noise enabler technically spliced music with the spoken word, giving you the head- wreck effect he was aiming for. Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, who collaborated with Daveed Diggs on the record, have deconstructed beats down to their finest and simplest, evoking the concept of industrialised noise.
The only problem with the entire album is the fact that the beats are not supported by strong rap verses. The verses are confined to the banality of gangster culture, strong-willed females running the game and vented dissonance with modern lifestyles. Musical samples are borrowed from virtually everywhere, with the collaborating rappers offering a varied range of verses ranging from fast spits of fiery rap with Twista's speed to just slow down verses, that lack a certain soul. Rhythmic synths, electronic percussion, engineered tunes basically everything seems right here except for the vocals that need to be the focus, with stripped down music.
In an ideal situation, this effort of bringing something new to the table might have worked, but unfortunately for CLPPNG, it seems like radical beats can't cover lacklustre rapping skills. CLPPNG may be a disc of new ideas, but sadly poorly executed. The smart yet misanthropic Diggs tried his hardest, but then not everybody makes a record that tops their début. Give it a listen, but in all honesty, it is not something you will want to listen to again.
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