Death Grips are now seven projects deep into their discography after their most recent release ‘Year Of The Snitch’ dropped earlier this year. That’s almost 100 songs to date, but which are the best? Well fear no more, as I have stayed well and truly noided and ranked them all for you lovely people. Here are Death Grips’ 50 best songs.
50: 80808 – Bottomless Pit
Make of 80808 what you will, it could be a homage to the classic 808 synthesiser, something that the group clearly enjoy using, but 808 is also an internal police code for a disturbance of peace; given Death Grips’ history, that seems the more likely of the two. The song itself is very The Money Store in it’s delivery with these thrashing notes throughout and MC Ride’s ability to make incredibly catchy hooks, despite the group’s rough exterior.
49: Government Plates – Government Plates
One of my favourite Death Grips instrumentals and a true homage to the direction the group went in with the album; Government Plates is a psychotic electro-punk journey, and not many songs come closer to pinpointing that sound than this one. It briefly looks at the corruption we witness in modern government corporation while primarily focusing on the wacky instrumental, which sounds like it could be a remixed version of a video game soundtrack.
48: Houdini – Bottomless Pit
What a hook, it is so catchy and could mean a million and one different things, it genuinely is one of the great mysteries of the Death Grips discography as to what the hell this song means. It could refer to Houdini’s death himself or a metaphor for how he died (shot in the stomach) and how it relates to abortions in some weird, twisted way. Stay noided Mr Grips, you continue to baffle us with your wizardry with each passing day.
47: Flies – Year Of The Snitch
“Should the opportunity arise, vomit me flies” is a contender for the bar of the year when you look at the intelligence and audacity of its use. Basically when saying that Ride is suggesting that if the time comes, don’t hesitate to kill him (“sever all ties”) and have the flies hover over his corpse. Dark, but certainly poignant. He seems almost accepting in the hook while in the verses he is forceful and aggressive, perhaps implying that he will still have fight in him until the very end. Yet more evidence to my claim that MC Ride is angry Shakespeare.
46: Hunger Games – No Love Deep Web
“MY MOODS LIVE ON THAT SWINGSET PUSH ME HARDER, PUSH ME, PUSH ME, SWANG INTO TOMORROW.” Easily one of the most iconic and memorable lyrics in the Death Grips discography, and not just because it’s the soundtrack to popular YouTube video ‘Dog Grips’, but because it is an absolutely brilliant hook. Oh, you want another memorable lyric? Okay, how about “you need a lift? You can sit between the back seat of my dick.” Don’t you dare tell me MC Ride isn’t a charmer.
45: I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States – The Powers That B
Nice title? Yes. Nice song? Absolutely. MC Ride expresses his aggressive demeanour on this song as he uses his stand-offish nature as a metaphor for being ugly. The beat is wild and aggressive and introduces you to the second half of The Powers That B with an absolutely nuclear bang. Only MC Ride could make a hook consisting of repetition of “I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States” really really catchy but hey, these are the levels we are dealing with here when talking about Death Grips.
44: Lil Boy – No Love Deep Web
Death Grips made a song in reference to Hiroshima, genuinely. Lil Boy is a reference to “Little Boy”, the bomb dropped by the US army on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, wiping out the whole city basically. The song uses this as a metaphor for the effects of substance abuse and the damages it can cause people; hence the “face of a woman, tears of a child” bar in the hook. The beat is electronic to the core and is honestly a toe-tapper despite the quite intense subject matter.
43: Bottomless Pit – Bottomless Pit
What a joy this tune is. Surprisingly positive and upbeat for a Death Grips song, it utilises a heavy but infectious punk-rock instrumental to paint this gorgeous image of sexual imagery and intense BDSM. What a charmer our Stefan is (that’s MC Ride to you uncultured swines) as he proclaims that “I fucked you in half” in the hook but he manages to make even that sound catchy and enjoyable. This is the most punk-rock the group have ever sounded I think and I am fully here for it.
42: Disappointed – Year Of The Snitch
Forming as the true outro to Year Of The Snitch as opposed to the otherwise titled Outro, the song that comes previously to this; Disappointed seems like a look into the future of Death Grips.
41: Blood Creepin – Exmilitary
I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THE BEAT AT THE START OF THIS SONG. It is an outrageous use of synths and once they’re done we are treated to what can only be described as rhythmic noise by MC Ride but I’m not complaining because it does actually sound really cool. It displays the attitude required for the song and there’s not many better at conveying emotion on a song than MC Ride. It is a rather good closer to a rather good project in Exmilitary.
40: Two Heavens – Government Plates
It’s quite simple, really. Many consider Heaven and Hell to be polar opposites, but not Death Grips. MC Ride angrily states that the two are very similar, with people such as himself seeing them both as realistic goals to reach and aim for. You can either embrace your angel or your devil, and you don’t get any prized for guessing which one Death Grips have chosen.
39: Inanimate Sensation – The Powers That B
I mean, how do you even begin to go about describing this song, the first minute is literally MC Ride making car noises and then exhaling heavily. There are many beliefs that this song is a reaction to Kanye West’s Black Skinhead, a song which has been accused of being a softer version of Death Grips and there is certainly evidence to suggest this. One of Ride’s lyrics is “brag you’re making music, naw you’re making bacon, skinhead, skinhead inna Dublin, I like my iPod more than fucking.” If that isn’t a shot at Kanye profiting of Death Grips’ style then I will be very surprised.
38: BB Poison – Bottomless Pit
You know how I like to relate Death Grips music with memes? Well this is a song ridiculing that very motive. MC Ride is describing some of his fan base as “poison” when they go full weird in their Death Grips obsession, just take a look at some of their memes and you’ll see why Ride felt the need to write a song about it. It is a musically abrasive listen with huge bass distortion and the occasional slick guitar riff, nice.
37: Shitshow – Year Of The Snitch
A song removed by YouTube for it’s “sexually provocative content” and “fetishes” makes it’s way onto our list here in the form of Shitshow. A sub-two minute boom blaster of a punk anthem that centres around a remarkably paced instrumental from the guitars and drums as well as a brilliantly rapid fire flow from MC Ride. You can’t help but tip your hat to a song like this one, even if it is batshit crazy.
36: Culture Shock – Exmilitary
This song is a reference to how MC Ride feels about the sheepish attitudes of modern society. Basically, he sees it as technology evolving alongside culture and society, providing a worrying idea that the two are far from mutually exclusive. The instrumental is wacky and electronic with a steady drum beat by the standards of Zach Hill.
35: Blackjack – The Money Store
Comparing criminal activities to a game of blackjack, MC Ride looks at the similarities between drug addiction and gambling addiction, stating that both ruin lives but they’re too addictive not to keep coming back to. Ride sees himself becoming one of these people due to his love for the street life, falling into traps he can see clearly. This song lacks remorse and it is delivered impeccably, ranking as one of the strongest songs on their magnificent The Money Store album.
34: Spikes – Bottomless Pit
A song about a joyrider who is going so uncontrollably he could crash at any second, Ride also uses this as a metaphor for how he acts as a part of Death Grips; spiralling in any direction at break neck speeds. Their fame has been serendipitous with their sound, rapid fire and often explosive. The Spikes he speaks of are what he is trying to avoid, referring to them as “greed” in the hook.
33: Death Grips 2.0 – The Powers That B
Acting as the closing track on both Jenny Death and The Powers That B and as the title implies, Death Grips 2.0 sees the band evolve instantaneously, as they tread into territory that was uncharted prior to this track. Contradicting the guitar-heavy aesthetic that appeared on pretty much every other song on Jenny Death, Death Grips 2.0 opts for a much more glitchy sound executed at a blistering pace, much akin to a handful of tracks found on their following album, Bottomless Pit. As such, this tune acts as a perfect prologue in terms of what to expect from their subsequent release.
32: Hahaha – Year Of The Snitch
This song is a curious one. It samples FIVE previous Death Grips songs and creates a brand new sound all at once, not many pull that off with this much ease. The hook is catchy which is impressive given it literally is MC Ride saying “hahaha bitch” a few times but that isn’t my favourite lyrical venture of this song, oh no. It could be the fact that Ride says “looking like a hedgehog sluts go sonic” which in itself is great, but it could also be the use of the word “ownage” from a grown man. Unbelievable.
31: Anne Bonny – Government Plates
Anne Bonny is named after a famous pirate from way back in history, eloquently linking her piracy to the modern age’s internet piracy of content. The song is a way of dealing with self-loathing and facing the emotional consequences of these thoughts with definitively linked imagery between the manic vocal and the fiery, throbbing instrumental. That synth line in the hook is majestic, too.
30: Come Up And Get Me – No Love Deep Web
How fitting that this song is the opening song on an album that saw Death Grips get dropped by their label for failure to comply. Come Up And Get Me sees MC Ride having schizophrenic visions in an “abandoned building” where he feels completely out of his comfort zone. This song has a brilliant distorted bass beat and Ride’s flow goes off considering the strain in his voice, which portrays the insanity of the character quite brilliantly.
29: Birds – Government Plates
Robert Pattinson plays guitar on this song. Yep, the dude from Twilight loves and collaborates with Death Grips; what a world to live in. Birds has quickly become one of the group’s more memey anthems as well as one of their most recognisable for it’s entirely unique nature and how out of the realm it is for how they usually sound. But let’s be honest, do Death Grips really have a realm of how they should sound? The answer is no, by the way.
28: Have A Sad Cum BB – The Powers That B
This song is trippy, distorted, electronic, and Bjork as fuck. Her chopped up vocal sample offer a brilliant spin on the beat while MC Ride’s vocals fall in amongst the production as largely imperceptible; but that is far from a bad thing. The song title is hilarious and the song itself stands as one of the best to come from The Powers That B double album, one listen to it should clarify that for you.
27: Eh – Bottomless Pit
I think I can speak on behalf of a great deal of fans of this band when I say that Eh made for a curious first listen. A Death Grips song (almost) completely devoid of their trademark aggression? Surely not. Whilst this may be one of their softer songs by their standards, its position on this list implies that it is also one of their strongest. This Bottomless Pit single offers fizzing electronic production as well as lyrics from Ride concerning the apathetic nature many people have developed in the internet age and the 21st century.
26: Whatever I Want (Fuck Who’s Watching) – Government Plates
Cursed by paranoia, MC Ride uses the closing track on Government Plates to directly address the police and services who seem to be following his every move. It has a racial message and incredibly that isn’t the distinguishing factor of the track, this face melting instrumental is. Crashing cymbals and distorted synthesisers build up to this explosion of electronic techno throughout the song which serves as some of the finest production work of the group’s career.
25: Up My Sleeves – The Powers That B
The idea of any aspect of life being as mysterious as a magician’s sleeve. As far as song concepts go, that’s up there in my opinion. Looking at the elements of consumerism, nihilism and celebrity life, MC Ride is the living embodiment of that meme where the mind becomes more and more ascended here, throwing hot takes all over the place over a brilliant beat consisting of chopped up Bjork samples, as the whole of the first disc on The Powers That B is.
24: Hot Head – Bottomless Pit
Hot Head, the lead single from fifth studio album Bottomless Pit is not only one of the band’s most musically challenging tracks to date- packed with explosive blast beats and spiralling arpeggiated synthesisers- but also acts as a statement of intent for Death Grips: after the turbulent era of The Powers That B, with talk of the group separating entirely, MC Ride and co are here to stay, and undoubtedly have plenty left in their artistic tank.
23: I Want It I Need It (Death Heated) – Exmilitary
Easily one of Ride’s best vocal performances, his flow is brilliant and his lyrics are memorable. The song is all about Ride openly mocking men whose lives appear to revolve around chasing women and/or drugs at parties, rather than just having a good time yourself. The question Ride asks is why do we do this when there’s next to no gain from it all, which I love as a concept.
22: Artificial Death In The West – No Love Deep Web
The closer from No Love Deep Web, this song has become a widely acknowledged classic of the Death Grips discography thanks to it’s unique sound, perhaps toning it down a notch from their usual aggressive punk sound but the message is still as poignant. MC Ride uses hushed tones to address the listener and stress his fears for the future of the digital age, suggesting that artificial desensitisation can and will lead to the death of our true selves. I’m all over that message and the synth production is of the highest order.
21: You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money But I Know What He Really Loves You For It’s Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat – Government Plates
The most iconic song name of all time as far as I am concerned, just take a look at that mate. People ask me why I love Death Grips and my answer is always the title of this song; they just don’t give two fucks about what anyone says and they do everything on their own terms. The song is explosive and matches the demonic lyricism of MC Ride to formulate one of the group’s most psychotic songs to date.
20: Dilemma – Year Of The Snitch
What more needs to be said about this song than the fact it features the director of animated cult classic Shrek? Andrew Adamson’s presence is utilised in the form of a monologue stating that this Dilemma that the group have will indeed be conquered. The song itself has some brilliant rock sounds in the instrumental with slick guitar riffs and excellent drumming courtesy of the consistently incredible Zach Hill. Ride flows like a monster over a rock cut, that should be all the evidence you need that this tune is class.
19: I’ve Seen Footage – The Money Store
Believe it or not, this is probably the most accessible Death Grips song, take one listen to it and that’ll tell you how mental these boys are. The song looks at the disturbing things available to people on the internet, suggesting that he and so many other people are becoming desensitized to serious issues such as police brutality simply because of how easy it is to see it these days. The beat it amazing and Ride flows like a machine, it is just ace.
18: Takyon (Death Yon) – Exmilitary
One of the more recognisable Death Grips songs, this song is, in the words of the group themselves, inspired by science: “We’re very into science. ‘Takyon’ is in reference to the particle, and in-song, it’s a metaphor representing the sensation of either becoming that particle or harnessing its energy.” It has an insane hook with the “triple six five forked tongue” referencing the devil, as you do.
17: Thru The Walls – Exmilitary
This is as intense as it gets, the beat sounds like a siren but in a very good way, Zach Hill’s drums are pulsating and MC Ride flows with the beat in a way only he could. It really does sound like a sonic attack to those listening but the song’s content is slightly more mellow, instead asking why he can’t overcome challenges, using “floating over walls” as the metaphor for this.
16: Three Bedrooms In A Good Neighborhood – Bottomless Pit
DID SOMEONE MENTION DEATH GRIPS MEMES AGAIN? Well basically this song is fucking immense so doesn’t need the legacy it has as one of Death Grips’ finest meme moments but it is what it is. Type in ‘Death Grips is Online’ into YouTube and click on the video that has Woody from Toy Story as the thumbnail, watch it and thank me later. Anyway, the song is class and looks at the burning world of significant others and the lengths we will go to get one, maybe even sacrificing our happiness for it, wow.
15: This Is Violence Now (Don’t Get Me Wrong) – Government Plates
This is the quintessential experimental Death Grips production venture. Andy Morin shows off his immense talents in crafting electronic-synth layers that blow your mind, while Zach Hill proves for the 5000000th time why he is one of the greatest drummers in the world. MC Ride does an incredible job of making his presence felt over this masterful beat and his consistent screams of This Is Violence Now is the word form epitome of Death Grips as a whole.
14: Hustle Bones – The Money Store
Yet another example of the production wizardry of Zach Hill and Andy Morin here on the fifth song from The Money Store. The song is a direct address from MC Ride to those who rank other rappers above him, suggesting that just because not everyone listens to his music doesn’t mean he’s any less of a rapper in terms of talent; instead implying that he puts everyone else to shame. Hustle Bones are a reference to the lyrical bombs Ride drops and that he deserves far more credit than he currently gets, something I totally agree with.
13: Streaky – Year Of The Snitch
Streaky was Death Grips’ comeback single after 18 months away from the music industry; and my word was it a statement. Sharing many similarities with Eh, a song from the group’s previous album Bottomless Pit, this song has an electronic techno-vibe in the beat with an array of sounds overlapping each other in a heavily synthesised but effective way. Ride’s vocals are composed by his usual standards and they match the attitude of the song impeccably.
12: Lord Of The Game – Exmilitary
This song is a different direction for Death Grips, who looked to aim their lyrical content at the hip-hop genre by implying they are quickly becoming one of the hottest commodities in the genre; thus being the Lord of the Game. It has moments of genius as well as a hilarious sample from “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, in which he proclaims “I AM THE GOD OF HELL FIRE”. A thing of true beauty.
11: Black Paint – Year Of The Snitch
Taking influence from The Rolling Stones’ classic hit Paint It Black, this single from Year Of The Snitch is a gothic punk-rock track with gritty aggression and a marvellous guitar riff in the hook. MC Ride delivers an eye-opening vocal with intensity and passion throughout. It is perhaps the group’s greatest venture away from hip-hop and towards a metal sound that they usually only tease on the odd occasion.
10: Beware – Exmilitary
The opening song on Exmilitary tells the tale of an unnamed protagonist as he abandons everything, giving in to the anger he has within his mind and channeling a monstrous being opposed to his human self. The Charles Manson speech at the beginning is majestic placement and links nicely with the demonic attitude on the track, focusing on evil and the temptations of satanism.
9: Punk Weight – The Money Store
Sampling Cheb Wasila’s Hwa Heda, Punk Weight is an cannibalistic dive into the world of violence and chaos, something Death Grips are all too familiar with. The song draws attention to Stefan’s use of Ride’s monstrous characterization to display an unruly punk ideology, rapping with intensity over explosive synth stabs and distorted drum beats. This for me is easily the group’s most underrated song and I am glad I can finally give it the recognition it truly deserves, ranking it just outside the top 5 here.
8: On GP – The Powers That B
Death Grips trying their hand at classic rock? YES, YES AND A BIT MORE YES. Those guitar riffs are majestic, the drums are so smooth and Ride sounds so comfortable rapping over an instrumental like this one. It is a song about the journey of your own mind, questioning suicide but then an uplifting finale where the protagonist realises how amazing life can be with friends and family by your side. It feels almost strange to hear Stefan rap about his personal life like this, especially considering he won’t tell anyone how old he is.
7: Death Grips Is Online – Year Of The Snitch
The opening song on their latest album Year Of The Snitch, this is a barnstorming opener with elements of EDM in the production while also conveying that sinister attitude the group are so famous for. The title is somewhat of a meme thanks to the group’s consistent tweeting of Death Grips Is Online in the album run-up but it works as a perfect introduction to how their latest era will sound.
6: No Love – No Love Deep Web
Hypnotic, angry, noided. This song feels, to me at least, like the prototype of how Death Grips sounded in their first few projects. It is extremely chaotic in every element, whether that be Zach Hill playing the drums with his hands, Andy Morin adding some truly intense production or MC Ride screaming lyrics about a bad drug trip. It truly is one of the best songs Death Grips have done and ever will do so it fully deserves the praise it gets as one of the group’s most popular tracks.
5: Ring A Bell – Bottomless Pit
This song nearly gave me whiplash the first time I heard it, I just wasn’t expecting those guitars to kick in at all and once they did I was sold. Ride uses strippers as a metaphor for pop-stars, who are hungry and desperate for attention and so will do anything necessary. That coincides with a beautiful pop-styled synth line in the hook which is some of the best production work I’ve heard in a long time. This song is deep and important but above all, this shit slaps hard.
4: Spread Eagle Cross The Block – Exmilitary
This is Death Grips’ most inventive song to date, and it will take some seriously bonkers song to top it. The instrumental is enough to make you scratch your head in sheer disbelief, it truly is unlike anything the group have done before and I absolutely adore it. The lyrical content looks at a drug addict whose desperation means that not only will he not share his stash, he’s also not going to pay for it. Also, listen out for the huge shout of “yeah” in the first verse, it makes me howl with laughter every single time.
3: Get Got – The Money Store
A song about a fragmented police getaway, Ride raps about a whole host of topics varying from violence and chaos to mental illness. It sounds as though he is on the verge of a existential crisis and it creates almost an exaggerated caricature of how Ride truly feels. His choppy, rapid fire flows fit like a glove over this magnificent beat to create the best opening track to an album they’ve ever done; and a very unfortunate runner up to a certain masterpiece from the same album…
2: The Fever (Aye Aye) – The Money Store
The second track off The Money Store, this is a huge favourite of most Death Grips fans for it’s aggression and wackiness in the production as well as a very catchy hook courtesy of MC Ride. The song looks at a man who is fighting off personal demons as he refers to things like addiction and paranoia as The Fever. It is a production masterclass from Hill and Morin from start to finish, with the crazy synth lines dominating the hook.
1: Hacker – The Money Store
Here it is, the best song Death Grips have ever done and I truly don’t see how they can top this; not because they are incapable, but because I honestly rank this as one of the best songs of the decade, it is absolutely impeccable. It is the album’s closer and you get the feeling that it is the very moment the chaos of the album reaches boiling point and all hell breaks loose, resulting in Hacker. It sounds chaotic and angry, but it is in fact Ride telling us all that he has our attention now and that’s how it will stay, announcing himself as one of the most polarizing figures in music today. Homages to the likes of Lady Gaga and Sammy Davis in this song are loose but create memorable lyrics on a staggeringly good song. What a way to end an album.