I Am The Beast I Worship: MC Ride’s 6 Best Rhymes

Five albums in, and Death Grips is as unstoppable as they ever were. If drummer Zach Hill is the simian muscle behind the group, and Flatlander the venom in its fangs, then MC Ride is no less the maelstrom soul ringing in its eyes. Here’s a spotlight of the rapper’s six best lyrics with the group, and I wish I had the time to present 660 more.

It’s easy to overlook MC Ride’s lyricism, what with Death Grips’ trademark cut, load, rapid-fire style of production, and Zach Hill’s devil-dynamo percussive force–but do yourself a favor and take a closer look, whether on rapgenius, the band’s site thirdworlds.net, or this here article. There’s a universe of rage and paranoia in there, but also of self-reliance, of visionary insight, and of course, a rebellious force drawing strength from the furthest-flung corners, from John Milton to John Lennon.

And I know soon come my time
For in mine void a pale horse burns
But I fear not the time I’m taken
Past the point of no return.
Wage war like no tomorrow
Cuz no hell there won’t be one
For all who deny the struggle
The triumphant overcome
Beware

It’s amazing how Death Grips’ themes have been relatively constant throughout their discography, never rehashing itself, but at the same time never crawling in the same skin twice. “Beware,” the first track of their vicious debut Exmilitary, lays down a self-worshiping manifesto still in use by MC Ride’s lyrical alter ego today, but with an epic tone that hasn’t been matched since. It’s completely fitting that it’s his first utterance—he’s signing the covenant with himself here; the chorus-overlapped vocals produce a one-man congregation, uniting all internal energies beneath a single beast that is himself. The archaic constructions highlight Ride as his own prophet, reciting his dedication to extremisms and the paradoxical negation of the self in order to achieve a higher self. The track’s sampling of footage from Charles Manson’s court hearing is just icing on a black-frosted cake, and in keeping with the invocation of Manson’s madness, his delivery is simultaneously a militaristic bark and a pseudo-religious catechism.

 

armored cop open fire glock
on some kid who stepped so
fast was hard ta grasp
what even happened til you seen dat head blow
off his shoulders in slow mo
rewind that, is so cold
rewind that, is so cold
i seen footage.. i stay noided

juke step wit so much boy rude looseness seem like
no bones in him skin
(noided) my jaw hit da floor like this real for i gotta see that one mo gin

I’ve Seen Footage

This is one of the more club-friendly, danceable tracks off the smash hit The Money Store, which is chilling considering the themes of desensitization and loss of objectivity. Ride blurts over and over “I seen footage” which blends into “I stay noided” because what footage is there to trust now? It used to be that found-footage seemed documentary-like, absent of tampering because of its rawness, but viral marketing campaigns put a stop to that. MC Ride’s words reference both this paranoia and also the shock of the real: our values are inverted in that artifice is the norm, and the real is now the spectacle. The glee with which he begs you to rewind the snuff footage hammers in the idea that there is no room for news or undisputed truth anymore—we’re mistrustful both of others, due to our paranoia, and of ourselves, because of our addiction to spectacle: is this popular because it’s true, or because it’s some off-the-wall shit to view?

mcride2-23083

i am the darkness creeping through your system
the lash of da whip
cracking every bitch
into position
workin ya over crashing and burning in a blackhole blasting out
your subwoofers are melting.. hear a bitch say why’s he yelling

‘who wanna catch dis gun clap, shrapnel off me lip
cause blood bath’

Bitch Please

Jules Winnfield said it best: “I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass.”

 

my existence is a
momentary lapse of reason
got the DNA of gothic lemons
shred it thirteen times
out of eleven
your bad ideas are the ATM
shed my skin
leave it for the homeless
to sleep it
prodigal, fuck that nautical
teachin bitches how to swim

i’m in your area
i know the first three numbers
i’m in

Hacker

MC Ride’s words utilize every fringe concept, ideology, and organization under the sun that could possibly aid him in his assault on the established, and this one goes out, of course, to the hackers and brokers of the classified; the ones with the backdoor key, who are nothing but the products of the said establishment’s mistakes. Wikileaks would be nothing if not for the mistakes of world governments, hence “my existence is / a momentary lapse of reason,” and “your bad ideas are the ATM” from which similar groups derive their expository currency. Where most rappers are content to rhyme about stealing from and destroying rivals, Ride wages war on nothing smaller than a government.

mcride3-23085

how the trip never stops
on and on its beyond insane
why I set myself up
in a ragin sea of flames

you’re fit ta learn the proper meaning of a beat down
madness chaos in the brain
let my blood flow make my blood flow through you mane
you got no business questioning a thang

never not on it leanin so hard you’re ashamed
you can’t dismiss this sickness huffs your brain
exhale your will and forget I ever knew you
fuck do you do

No Love

It might be cheating to include intro, chorus, and a verse into one entry, but it’s just damn impressive to see three distinct vocal styles back to back like this: the intro is a visceral, pained roar made incomprehensible by the syllable mashing and clipping that marks NO LOVE DEEP WEB; the chorus is a ground-shaking expression of power; and then the verse comes sliding in, evading detection and immediate comprehension because of Ride’s liquid enunciation: “never Nawt on-it-lea-a-anin / so hardyou’re ash-a-i-i-med.” That chorus might tempt you to peg it as another expression of his own bravado and potency, but that isn’t his “beat down” capability he’s talking about, it’s a force that possesses him. It infects him, and he is the one unable to resist or question. Though in interviews and in his music he’s stated his self-glorification, and the local reality as opposed to the established, here he paints this relationship with the self as being possibly as coercive and self-destructive as living by the evening news. It’s yet another method of extremizing his values: they’re not some ‘safe’ alternative to the norm. In fact, there is no safety in MC Ride’s world, only instinctual movements.

 

ive got / a bluebird
it might / die
it got / wetted
i stayed / dry
im not trying / to use my mind
i got that attitude / at all times
ive got this attitude / at all times
i got a black hat
it might / live
its got a black hat
it goes / big
i had a bluebird / now its did
Bird

“Bird” was a helluva single. It went against the grain of Death Grips’ previous cuts in that it subverts expectations with sheer strangeness rather than blunt aggression or technical virtuosity. I like to think of it as the base-level of Ride’s consciousness, an expression of the strange, meaningless, nether thoughts that are produced between events.  Just follow along with your ear, see if you don’t get into that headspace where everything potentially means something, as his voice stumbles along a hall whose length is created with every step and syllable that he makes.

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