An excellent mixtape, Midcity, and a stellar debut album introduced clipping. to the experimental hip-hop scene. Listening to their self-titled, first album at the time seemed like the trio had reached very quickly a certain peak, with a fantastic piece of work, incorporating industrial elements, noise leanings along their infectious hip-hop ethic. But what they return with today in Splendor & Malice is beyond expectations.
Daveed Diggs, MC of the band, seems to be riding the vibe of his performance in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton musical, influencing the direction of clipping.’s new installment. And that is because Splendor & Misery sees the experimental hip-hop that following a concept album storyline, and what a storyline this is… Heavily influenced by Afrofuturism visions, it depicts the story of an intergalactic adventure of an escaped slave. Reminiscent of the investigations that Sun Ra would famously embark on, and a vision that was furthered by disciples such as Hieroglyphic Being, clipping. find the perfect footing for their philosophy.
This dive into such an otherworldly a subject has an imminent effect in the music as well. Comparing Splendor & Misery to the trio’s debut album seems almost unfair. The structures take on a more abstract approach, the ambiance becomes quickly intoxicating with an acidic aftereffect and the beats appear with a hidden minimalism, as if to allow the rapping and storyline to take the spotlight in the most prevalent possible way. Where the debut record had a certain direct approach, Splendor & Misery unfolds in a subliminal manner.
The references are endless in the work, with the most obvious being a Kubrick-ian element in this intriguing sci-fi work, granting a lucid alertness and abstract setting for the story. From classic sci-fi films, clipping. encompasses slave songs (from an 1867 collection record) to cultural hip-hop referencing, lifting verses of Tupac Shakur‘s (Makaveli era) “Hail Marry” and then to Matthew McConaughey’s “alright, alright, alright” mantra, ensuring that the trip is as entertaining, as it is intriguing.
clipping. tie everything together brilliantly through the duration of this album. Experimental hip-hop is a difficult endeavor to achieve, managing to balance grooves and clear vocal delivery with experimental outlets, such as noise and industrial, let alone abstract domains. However, through this trip clipping. do not have any trouble in attaining what feels like a Herculean task, and can be proudly mentioned alongside acts like Dalek or fellow label mates Shabazz Palaces. Definitely check out Splendor & Misery!