clipping. - There Existed an Addiction to Blood
Oct 19, 2019 (updated Oct 20, 2019)
clipping. is something of an anomaly in modern rap music. A noise rap group comprised of 2 knowledgeable and talented producers heavily influenced by music concrète and a rapper with Broadway experience is not a combination I ever expected to see from a group in any genre, but they coalesce to form one of the most engaging rap acts I've had the pleasure of listening to. Their 2016 record "Splendor and Misery" is my favorite rap album in existence, characterized by cold, shuttering, mechanical production and masterful storytelling from Daveed Diggs. It's an intensely atmospheric record, and I'm detecting many of the same production sensibilities bleeding into their newest, horror-centric release "There Existed an Addiction to Blood."

This is a record I've been anticipating for some time now, and upon release, it didn't fail to deliver. It's structurally and tonally similar to their aforementioned 2016 masterpeice, but with a decidedly different aesthetic and lyrical focus. On this new record, clipping. exchanges their exploration of space slave revolutions for a dive into urban street life filtered through classic horror tropes and ideas. It's an exceedingly interesting union of concepts, and it's executed as well as could be expected from a group as talented as this.

As is the case with most of clipping's work, the focal point (at least for me) lies in the production. William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes once again deliver some of the most satisfying, textured and formless production you'll hear in modern hip-hop. Some of the details on the production of this record absolutely blew me away, the best example being on the track "Run For Your Life". On this cut, Diggs is heard maintaining a steady flow over nothing but the sounds of a bustling urban cityscape. At regular intervals throughout the track, this empty atmosphere is filled by the sound of cars driving by, blasting grimy beats that perfectly mesh with Diggs' flow through their speakers, only to fade back into the loneliness of the city moments later. This was such a genius way to keep the listener involved throughout the song, giving them brief tastes of a more conventional hip-hop sound only to snap back into the emptiness of the track. This album is rife with attention to detail such as this, and it's an absolute joy to listen to.

My only real complaint with the record is the several interludes found throughout the tracklist. On Splendor and Misery, the interludes were significant because they had a reason for existing inside the context of the story being told. Here, the interludes feel more like transitional pieces that were constructed purely to fit the atmosphere, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just not as thoroughly utilized as on their previous record. That's a small complaint in the grand scheme of things, though, and this record will definitely go down as one of my favorites of the year. Atmospheric, chilling, and as well produced as any record to come out this year, "There Existed an Addiction to Blood" has taken a comfortable seat behind Splendor and Misery as one of my favorite releases from the group.
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