When Memphis rapper La Chat asks “you ain’t scared is you?” on ‘Run For Your Life’, she must surely know the answer already. Because yes I am scared – pretty terrified, actually – by the new record from hip-hop trio Clipping. The moment comes around halfway through There Existed an Addiction to Blood, a concept album homage to the cult ’80s horror film Ganja and Hess that begins ominously and descends from there.
Taking sonic inspiration from classic ’90s horrorcore and clouding it in industrial chaos, this grating record sees the experimental LA group revel in taking things too far. Daveed Diggs sets the scene early on, delivering a warning over a sparse beat on ‘Nothing is Safe’. The multi-talented rapper, who also performed in the original Broadway run of Hamilton, thrives in his role as narrator.
Noise music has rarely featured so prominently in hip-hop, thanks in part to its presence on Yves Tumor and JPEGMAFIA’s acclaimed 2018 albums. Here, producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes skilfully forge beats out of anything from machine gun bursts to carrion flies. They also drive for unbearable extremes: I let out a gasp of relief after realising I had survived ‘La Mala Ordina’.
‘Run For Your Life’ is the closest the record comes to providing a conventional single, while fans of Bill Gunn’s original 1973 film can find Easter eggs hidden throughout. Some songs run on too long, but criticising this album for a lack of brevity feels like missing the point: an album that ends with an 18-minute-long composition of a piano burning is a test of patience. In an era of easy-listen playlists, Clipping should at least be applauded for creating a record so thoroughly demanding.