With my perfect rating for the newest clipping. album, There Existed an Addiction to Blood, I decided to give their debut 2013 album midcity a listen. As a debut, the album displays the fantastic capabilities of producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson while singer Daveed Diggs shows off his lyrical prowess. Unfortunately, the album suffers from a few faults that hinder its full listening ability.
The first thing you’ll notice about this album is just how noisy it is in comparison to the rest of the clipping. discography. Most songs feature samples of frequent static white noise that screeches in spurts throughout each song. Though I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of pure noise music, I am a huge fan of noise rock and its integration into hip-hop as well.
Though I appreciate just how unique the use of this noise is in comparison to most hip-hop and even contemporary experimental hip-hop artists, it is overdone in a few songs (loud, guns.up, and killer). If the white noise Snipes and Hutson utilize had a more notable difference between each song the production would be less repetitive. This is not to say the production is nothing less than impressive, but these frequent loud bursts could use a different style so they don’t become stale. guns.up in particular also has an incredibly annoying autotuned hook that combined with the stale static white noise makes the track skippable.
If we’re on the topic of repetitive I have to bring up the greatest fault of this album, the track outro. Ten minutes of Diggs saying, “Get money,” in the same monotone voice with a skeletal instrumental is not a good way to end the album. Conceptually, I can understand what Diggs was going for, but there was no need to extend it for ten minutes, especially with no significant instrumental progression. It seems the lyrical theme of the album is a play on gangster rap and the culture surrounding that. I love Diggs purposely making the track long in order to commentate on how mainstream rap culture focuses so heavily on the concept of “getting money”. At the same time though, I think it could have been executed better.
It’s a real shame because the track right before the closer (real) would have been the perfect way to end the album. The hook of this song is how outro should have been. Lyrically speaking there is far more depth while still retaining the same concept of outro. The instrumental is this fantastic slow and staticky hybrid that would have ended the album on a high note.
And before anyone questions why I’m okay with the eighteen minute ambient piece of a piano burning as the closer for There Existed an Addiction to Blood, then I suggest reading my review for the album.
On the topic of executing things well, most of the tracks, including the skits, are done excellently. Tracks like mobb2it, bout.that, and get.it, blend lighter noise elements, chirps, and even electronics. mobb2it in particular features an electronic sample that sounds almost Daft Punk-esque during the later end of the song.
For a debut, midcity does a good job establishing clipping. as a formidable voice in the experimental hip-hop scene. This is done via their use of harsh noise and lyrical depth unlike other contemporary artists. Unfortunately, they miss the execution on some songs as Diggs’ flow stagnates and becomes more and more repetitive.
Favorite Tracks: intro, bout.that, get.it, five, bullshit, overpass, mobb2it, killer, collect, story, real