by Death Grips
Released October 1, 2012 via Third Worlds / Harvest Records
Reviewed October 1, 2022
Top tracks (based on community voting)
No Love (63%), Come Up And Get Me (47%), Artificial Death In The West (47%)
Released the same year as what many consider to be their best album in The Money Store, and featuring some very…memorable artwork, I’ve often felt that No Love Deep Web tends to be a bit overlooked. The Sacramento trio had put out three full projects in about a year and a half by the time this came around, and No Love Deep Web is just as crucial a piece of Death Grips’ introduction as their first mixtape, Exmilitary, and their debut album, The Money Store. Coupled with their noisy, industrialized, and abrasive take on hip-hop, Death Grips largely carried around a mysterious aura and sense of unpredictably up to this point. It’s a wonder as to what led them to sign with Epic Records prior to their debut, but it is even more fascinating as to how their sophomore album got them dropped.
Epic Records wanted the band to release No Love Deep Web sometime in 2013, but Death Grips had other plans.
Dropping hints via the internet through encrypted files and sprinkling them throughout a number of sites that could only be accessed through TOR—which, in short, is the anonymous software that allows users to access sites on the “deep web.” It eventually led to the discovery of a release date for No Love Deep Web for October of that year. When Epic Records refused to release it then, the album quickly popped up about three weeks earlier than anticipated via Twitter, SoundCloud, and numerous file sharing services. Their decision to breach contract and self-release the album led to Epic Records dropping them, but it wouldn’t be the only controversy.
The cover of No Love Deep Web featured Zach Hill’s erect penis with the album’s title written on it. Hill has explained the decision as “tribal, spiritual, and primal.” And of all the words you could use to describe the sound of this album, primal is certainly one of the most fitting. Unlike The Money Store, all the drums are live—with Zach Hill making use of both electronic and acoustic drum sets. Hill’s drumming is both sparse and ever-present, creating environments that can be simultaneously as spacious and entrancing as they are menacing and enclosing. Synths, programmed guitars, and heavy bass-rhythms shoot across the terrain of the deep web, twisting the landscape in which they travel. MC Ride is the sole inhabitant of this cold, dark wasteland, commanding the mic and capping off the detached sound that Death Grips lays forth. Themes of paranoia, self-loathing, and helplessness plague Ride as he raps, shouts, and cries out through the form of manic outpourings. Bottling up a brutal emptiness and sense of desperation into a 46-minute masterpiece, No Love Deep Web is as much a defining work as any of the trio’s albums. – Dominick (9.3/10)
Hot off the heels of their 2011 release Exmilitary, and debut album, The Money Store—which was released months prior in 2012—Death Grips continued their all-out takeover of the experimental hip-hop landscape with No Love Deep Web. However, The Sacramento trio would quickly find that the industry in which they found themselves wouldn't be able to provide the freedom that the creative mindset requires. Nothing of worth ever occurs without breaking a few rules; eggs must be broken, tours must be canceled, labels must be let down. Somewhere between rebellious and well-planned, Death Grips approach to marketing and material exudes an unruly ethos. Those above have no control over those below—the artist is also the auteur. Death Grips’ material remains somewhat tied to convention, while also providing enough personality and ideas to remain fresh within the frantic. As 'out there' and abrasive as it is, there's a safety net of sorts buried in the mix. There's no release date for forward thinking states. One way in, no way out. – Peter (8.5/10)
Dominick: 9.3/10 | Hadley: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Cam: 8.8/10 | Peter: 8.5/10
It’s so good, probably a top five Death Grips release. The choruses are so catchy on the first three songs, and the album ends so well with “Artificial Death In The West.” The middle part gets skipped sometimes though. – @hanseljzn (7/10)