Damn. Where do I even start with this one.
clipping. is a Los Angeles experimental rap group composed of two producers, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes and emcee Daveed Diggs, the trio good friends who discovered that they could make beautiful music together by combining Diggs’ speedy gangsta raps over Hutson and Snipes’ staticky, aggravating glitch noise. Their first record, 2013’s midcity got the group on many radars with several critics considering the record amongst the year’s best, and in 2014 they struck back with CLPPNG.
And let me tell you right now: CLPPNG is easily one of the finest records I’ve heard so far this year. It just came in, took the crown, declared it was the best, and I had zero complaints. From the moment you hear the record’s intro, where Daveed spits flames over a shifting, high-pitched frequency, you know that you’re listening to something completely unexpected.
CLPPNG is a kaleidoscopic mix of grimy crime narratives, thuggish gangsta posturing, intelligent social commentary, electronic bursts of static, and completely sociopathic tendencies, coalescing to become a fiercely brilliant, focused, and demented work. Diggs is an excellent host to the madness; a gifted storyteller and a very talented rhymer with breakneck flows. Damn near every track has a tale to tell, most of them concerning the streets and soldiers living on the edge of razors, always out for the next hustle, pushing drugs, avoiding cops and foes, and treating each day above ground as a good one. The nihilism doesn’t let up, but Diggs makes every tale fascinating, as he gets into his characters heads, explaining motivation and thoughts and making every character human. The production meshes well with the lyrics, as at one moment the sounds can be frenetic and paranoid and the next it can be laid back and cool. It’s definitely a record which rewards repeat plays, as each listen you pick up a new sound in the mix and learn just a bit more about the protagonists, as well as realize just how connected everything on the record is.
“Get Up” is one of the record’s very best listens, because it hinges on such a simple but compelling detail: It samples an alarm clock. No, really, Diggs goes to town over an alarm clock beep. And it’s completely incredible. The record actually leads up to this moment, as the tracks beforehand play out a larger tale of a rough night segueing into sleep and culminating with this track. The alarm starts ringing, and Diggs shows you a lifetime in that moment, describing a remarkably vivid tale of a corner boy describing his day and his life, where dealing, killing, and surviving is all part of the game. It’s harrowing. The way that the beeping swells and echoes and the vocals from guest Mariel Jacoda makes the track larger and even more astounding? This one is simply incredible, listen to it right now.