The bent, sinister hip-hop that comes from Los Angeles’s clipping. sounds like a meaner, more street take on the Def Jux catalog, filtered through merciless noise and drone production. The lyrics to “bout.that”, from this year’s Midcity open with these vivid, captivating lines: “This is for the quarter water / Penny candy / Poor ventilation / Broke and freezing with a heater in the rain.” Over the song’s alien-sounding pops, scrapes and wheezes, that already bleak existence sounds like the end of world.
Supplementing the hard-knock realism and tough talk of the lyrics, as well as the noisy electronics, is some well-placed old-school turntablism that manages to subvert the corny stereotypes sometimes associated with the style.
What comes together as clipping. is an intriguing, harsh, talent-rich mutant blend of hip-hop in a number of its forms. Their recent signing to Sub Pop, as well as the promise of their label debut in 2014, means that the coming year should hold a lot more of the group’s challenging brand of hip-hop noise.