The balance that comes with applying pressure towards challenging genre boundaries is, of course, hard to get right. LA troupe clipping. aren’t exactly concerned with getting this balance “right”, they’re more intent on trying to bend these norms to their own means.
Second record, ‘CLPPNG’, darkens the hues of hip hop without coming across as corny. Dark lyricism has been used many a time before, and clipping.’s music genuinely sounds dark and twisted. But the thing that makes ‘CLPPNG’ so appealing isn’t how it subverts norms; it’s how it embraces them.
Paying tribute to the West Coast’s past whilst embracing all sorts of harsh noise, clipping. have employed restraint following their unrelentingly severe debut, ‘Midcity’. Shattered remnants of familiar sounds surface far more frequently on this follow-up, but this isn’t about dumbing down. ‘CLPPNG’ is anything but subtle, but it’s a lot more settled than Midcity.
Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson’s production has been contained for the most part, with the noise turned down, battered and bruised. The beats are no less experimental, but they are a lot less bombastic. The minimalism swings with less vitriol, and more frothing tension. This allows Daveed Diggs’ lyricism to speak louder than before.
The variety of the record is tied together with a strong story-thread that prides itself on being cohesive. ‘Body And Blood’ is a curb stomp of an avant-banger, whilst ‘Get Up’ repurposes perhaps the most irritating sound in the world into a sly beat. There’s no saying what direction ‘CLPPNG’ will go in song by song, and it continually rewards close attention.