“Exmilitary” is Death Grips’ debut and only mixtape, and since it’s release in 2011, it has been a prime place to find some of Death Grips’ best and most iconic songs. Exmilitary makes heavy use of samples on this mixtape, so much that the only song on Spotify is “Guillotine”, so I had to listen to this album on SoundCloud when I wanted to. The production on this album is vibrant, hellish, primal, energetic, and intelligent. Death Grips have fused many different genres on this mixtape, such as, hip hop, heavy metal, punk rock, psychedelic rock, electronica, and math rock, which in turn have made this album a timeless piece of art that sparked a fruitful career for Death Grips in their ability to sound like no other artist in music as a whole.
Death Grips kick off their mixtape by sampling an interview from none other than Charles Manson himself in the song “Beware”, as a deep guitar riff plays in the background. Following the Charles Manson monologue the instrumentation explodes into something that sounds like a guy is on fire inside a steamy sauna, but is content and chill about the whole thing. This song is very hypnotic and hellish, and is everything like what I would imagine desert rock to sound like. This track also delivers us the iconic Death Grips lines “I close my eyes and seize it / I clench my fist and beat it / I light my torch and burn it / I am the beast I worship.”, which are among some of their greatest lyrics. I will say this about the song however, the Charles Manson monologue gets old after a few listens and just sort of makes the song longer, If it was in a separate track I could delete then I would be fine, but it sort of puts a downer on the enjoyment of the song because it does not feel like it needs to be there when you are just trying to listen to some Exmilitary to vent frustrations.
The next track, “Guillotine”, has become Death Grips most famous song on most platforms. It’s known for it’s music video taking place inside a car with MC Ride yelling “YUH!” while wearing a seat belt, and for it’s insanely simple and catchy chorus, “IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES”, which has since made the song a source for internet memes that have only boosted the popularity of Death Grips. I love the song’s instrumental for it’s minimal use of the bass and drums, never getting complex for a second. My favorite part of the song though is the solo, which sounds like a Nintendo Gameboy was brought to life by Ride, force fed LSD, then had a seizure and was recorded to put inside this song, it’s beyond chaotic and incredible.
“Takyon (Death Yon)” is my favorite song on this entire mixtape. I love it’s glitchy synth bass bursts that build up upon the tracks percussion, as well as Ride’s vocal and lyrical delivery, which give us the chorus “AH SHIT I’M FEELIN’ IT- TAKKKKYON”. The song’s opening lines are great as well with the “TRIPLE SIX- FIVE- FORKED TONGUE” lyric that demonstrates Death Grips’ lyrical agility and wit. This song is also my favorite Death Grips music video because it captures the eerie and dark quality that Death Grips put in a lot of their music.
I love the song “Klink” as well, I instantly recognized the sample in the song as “Rise Above” by the punk band, Black Flag. Death Grips turned that song’s guitar riff sample into a fantastic song chorus that makes you feel like you are inside a building where all the walls are collapsing around you. It’s an example of Death Grips at their most chaotic and intense on this mixtape. The last bit of this song has an old school psychedelic synth line that reminds me so much of The Doors, but I do not know exactly what or where it is from. The few songs in between “Klink” and “I want it I need it (Death Heated)”, are a bit mediocre, they are not bad, just not as good as the first few tracks.
“I want it I need it (Death Heated)” is more of a catchy, fun song with it’s chorus “I want it I need it, need it, to make me feel heated / Shake it can’t take it must break it”. It has a party song vibe, but I think this song is a bit ironic because it talks heavily about sex and drugs to the point of comedy. While Death Grips rap about both these topics in their music here and there, it is usually not this much. The members of Death Grips are known for being introverted people, and although Ride’s hip hop persona is different from his real personality, this song feels a little bit too extroverted. This song also samples “Interstellar Overdrive” from Pink Floyd’s best (in my opinion) and debut album, “The Piper at The Gates of Dawn”. I enjoy listening to this song in the car whenever I am in a happier mood due to the song’s cocky and upbeat sound.
While this was Death Grips’ debut mixtape, I think it still sounds just as good as their other music. I feel like this album is more rooted in rock music while only having a foot in the door of hip hop. This mixtape contains a lot of elements of hip hop with it’s synth lines, car mirror rattling basslines, and drum machines, but it also contains a bit more prominent elements of rock and punk music with it’s guitar samples, aggressive yelling vocal delivery, and fast paced song tempos. The thing about Death Grips though is that they change up their music a little bit every album, while still sounding like Death Grips. This free download mixtape was the beginning of one of the greatest groups of the 21st century.
Release Date: 25 April 2011
Genres: Experimental Hip Hop, Punk Rap.
- Spread Eagle Cross The Block
- Lord of The Game
- Takyon (Death Yon)
- Cut Throat (Instrumental)
- Culture Shock
- Thru The Walls
- Known For It
- I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)
- Blood Creepin
Track Highlights: Beware, Guillotine, Lord of The Game, Takyon (Death Yon), Klink.
i. e. 9/10