Do you remember when you were a kid, lounging upside-down off your parent’s couch and looking at the living room that lied before you? It was a totally different world from that angle. Something that never came to your sense’s attention before. The same effect can play with our ears.
Clipping, in its original auditory definition, is a noise created with the utmost intent to push the levels of volume past its comfortable limits. When you take a noise and stretch it past its means, it can often make you feel uneasy, as if this clashing sound in no possible way could synchronize with anything. If this is the first time you have heard West Coast music group clipping. then you might think the album you just listened to was broken, that somewhere between the studio and the download, the audio had been jumbled and flipped over during its proverbial delivery to our ears, but the sounds traveling through your speakers are no accident; producers Jonathan Snipes and William Huston are those children, still hanging upside-down off their couches, listening to life in an entirely new way. CLPPNG, their latest album, is a manifestation of that outlook, albeit a fractured one.
With the poetically obscure rhymes of front man Daveed Diggs, clipping. is able to take minuscule, seemingly pointless events in time and create an incredibly detailed description of the diminutive moment. Anyone can hear the sound of an alarm clock and dismiss it as the unfriendly reminder that you need to get up and go back to your boring job, but what track “Get Up” lacks in multifarious sounds, it more than makes up for in creativity; the quick and stable pace of Diggs is combatted by the soothing vocals of Mariel Jacoda. The unnatural noises departing your speakers are meant to grab your attention, but even more-so to guide your ears toward the lyricism. The alarming track serves as the muse for Diggs as he starts the songs:
Game don’t wait (heavy. wait.)
Eyes heavy, but it’s time to grind motherfucker can’t be late (hold up. wait.)
Fuck a nine-to-five, push work state to state (shit)
— “Get Up”
At the end of each line, there is an audible pause accompanied by Diggs telling the audience to wait, almost as if he is snoozing his alarm clock, procrastinating the rest of the song as well as a real 9-5 job.
They’re not trying to appeal to your ears, so if you go into this album knowing that, you can truly understand the clashing sound of the overly-distorted and appreciate Digg’s lyricism. He’s a storyteller, a truer poet than most who, for the most part, is able to keep pace and flow with the oddity of beats. One of the strongest points of the album takes place during “Story 2,” a dark, synth-heavy, bounce track that perfectly caters to the grim lyrics of Diggs as he incorporates themes from clipping.’s prior album, midcity (“Story”). Damaged souls with troubled pasts play a key role in both these songs, which both start out with the feeling of being “Godsmacked.”
Snipes and Huston are creating original pieces, not trying to cater to the gentle ear. Their beats are akin to the real sounds of life (listen to “Williams Mix” for reference). Not everything in this world will be pleasant to the senses; that’s life. Clipping. creates works that are real to everyday surroundings and have the real feel that, unfortunately, is the antithesis of popular music culture today. Check out their 14-track album to flip your musical world and to enjoy the sounds of this up-and-coming alternative rap group.
4 out of 5
You can purchase CLPPNG on Amazon.