The world of experimental hip-hop has been overlooked in favor of more mainstream-sounding music. Acts like Death Grips and JPEGMAFIA have been at the forefront of shaping rap music that is creative and innovative. One group that is often left out of the conversation of experimental hip-hop is clipping. Based in Los Angeles, clipping. consists of rapper Daveed Diggs and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. After listening to their latest album “Visions of Bodies Being Burned,” it is safe to say that clipping. produced one of the finest albums of the year.
Diggs’ rapping is on par with rappers like Pusha T and Kanye West. His flow synchronizes with the production at a level that is unthinkable. On the song “Body for the Pile,” the beat goes in and out of being piercing and low, yet Diggs’ talent for delivery shines as he is rapping about the police and how menacing they are. Guest producer Sickness complements the style of Diggs with electric background noises and eerie synths.
Besides the strong production from Hutson and Snipes, the songwriting on “Visions of Bodies Being Burned” is also spectacular. A good example of this is with the track “Eaten Alive” featuring Jeff Parker and Ted Byrnes. On the song, Diggs raps about his frustrations with modern society and delivers lines such as “When the f**k the swamp turn into real estate? (Uh)/ Spirits in the weeping willows heavyweight (Yeah).”
As great as this album is, the first half is a little too abstract and can easily turn away listeners. Also, there is no overarching theme with this record, but that works in clipping.’s favor as they have the power to experiment with new concepts. The interludes throughout the album sound nice, but do not offer much outside of cool sounding beats.
Where the experimentation does pay off is with the song transitions. The seamless flow of each transition displays the attention to detail clipping. put into crafting a cohesive experience. This is highlighted on the song “’96 Neve Campbell” featuring Cam & China, where it starts off with a knocking sound that started on the previous interlude. The pounding knock helps set the tone for the punchy nature of the song.
“Visions of Bodies Being Burned” is a prime example of how to experiment in hip-hop. The beats are aggressive while also being well-mixed, the songwriting is top notch and easy to understand and there is a sense that Diggs and company put everything they had into making a groundbreaking album.
Just like with “Ohms” by Deftones, this is not a record for everyone, as the sound is glitchy and unconventional. There are no A-list features or viral dances attached to this album. This is hip-hop at its most creative and clipping. successfully executed a project that proves why hip-hop is the most experimental music genre. For hip-hop fans that are bored with the current state of the genre, “Visions of Bodies Being Burned” is a breath of fresh air in a genre labeled as stale.