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by Death Grips

Released April 25, 2011

Reviewed April 22, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Takyon (Death Yon) (60%), Beware (43%), Guillotine (41%)

This is the soundtrack to a psychedelic PlayStation first-person shooter set in some foreign jungle, where YouTube video-essayists would question the game’s place in pro-Vietnam War propaganda. Exmilitary doesn’t literally denote any of these things, but its range of samples that dominate every track constructs that atmosphere of intriguing yet dangerous exoticity. Despite this, samples equally share a tinge of familiarity. Death Grips tear Pink Floyd, Beastie Boys, David Bowie, and themselves apart to create mangled and bloody experimental hip-hop that quickly loses its sanity. Exmilitary and, particularly, its follow-up The Money Store (2012) set a precedent for obscure sampling methods and the outlandish genre fusions we’d see in hip-hop through the rest of the 2010s. All while they secure high quality lyricism and performances from MC Ride, with consistently compelling verses that semantically and phonologically blur into thick, dark sludges of drug-induced psychosis. A decade later, Exmilitary retains its eerie vibrancy and enthralling production, and even though Death Grips have significantly expanded on their sonic horizons since, this mixtape still feels fresh and gritty; an experience, to say the least. – Cam (10/10)

A truly visceral listening experience, the debut mixtape from Death Grips contains much of the trio’s rawest and most cutthroat material to date. Orchestrated by Zach Hill and Andy Morin, Exmilitary’s production combined the otherworldly drumming talents of Hill with beats foundationally based upon hip-hop, industrial, and electronic music. With this abrasive fusion of sounds and samples, Death Grips firmly positioned them as pioneers of a new wave of experimental hip-hop. MC Ride rounds out the trio, sporting an unorthodox flow—equal parts unsettling, aggressive, and hypnotic—along with lyrics that will make your bones shake. From the assertive dominance displayed on “Beware” to the lust-driven narratives on “I Want It I Need It,” every word out of the frontman’s mouth—whether delivered through an off-kilter flow, heavy growls, or belted screams—brings immense power, passion, and charisma to the band’s sound. With Exmilitary, Death Grips not only crafted a masterful debut, but they managed to set the stage for a prosperous career that would influence an entire genre. – Dominick (9.2/10)

Exmilitary is the debut mixtape from Sacramento-based Experimental Hip-Hop outfit Death Grips. Death Grips execute a myriad of influences on Exmilitary, while managing to avoid sounding like any of those influences. You'll find residues of Pink Floyd, Link Wray, and Beastie Boys along the trail of destruction left by their cerebral, animalistic endeavours. Death Grips have gone on to captivate and curate a scene, in the process becoming just as influential as their influences. Every once in a while, an act comes along that seems to re-energize the music game. Death Grips is the breath of fresh air that invigorates and innovates. Music doesn't get much more powerful and pure in essence, and if you like your music with a serving of malevolent intent, look no further. – Peter (9/10)

Cam: 10/10 | Jared: 10/10 | Hadley: 9.5/10 | Dominick: 9.2/10

Alan: 9/10 | Peter: 9/10 | DeVán: 7.5/10


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