Wednesday, June 15, 2016

clipping. - Wriggle Review

In preparation for their as-of-now unannounced third LP, clipping has dropped Wriggle, a six-track EP composed of outtakes not quite up to par with what we’ll hear in the future. It’s a pleasant surprise for fans eager to hear the next work from clipping and the direction they’ll take. For head man Daveed Diggs though, this is an exhibition in workmanship, as many now know he's prominently featured in Hamilton, the broadway show that just took home 11 Tony awards. He didn’t need to continue clipping, a side project that comparatively means nothing, but he has, and for that we’re thankful. Wriggle, as is now tradition, starts off on the same foot as Midcity and CLPPNG, with an ‘Intro,’ unassuming on the outside, quick-tongued and lyrically vivid on the inside. This time we see Diggs speak on behalf of crumbling cities and those too financially thin to escape, forced to witness violent events unfold around them. And while that story doesn’t unfold in the remaining songs like CLPPNG did, it’s a necessary evil the group takes to embellish one of Hip-Hop’s best current rappers back into the fold. Wriggle, while not as experimental, shocking, or cohesive as their previous works, for obvious reasons, is another solid project with one of Hip-Hop’s most creative rappers at the helm.

The first actual song on Wriggle is ‘Shooter,’ and it answers a lot of questions almost instantly. While still engrained in the Industrial sound, using a litany of sound effects to structure the beat, it has a bouncy G-Funk appeal that makes it immediately relatable. clipping’s roots in the West Coast certainly has that effect. Not only that, Diggs’ lyrics and flow, with tongue-in-cheek punchline after punchline, bears similarities to the likes of a handful of mainstream rappers, namely Childish Gambino. It helps to introduce many to their more harsher elements, as the bulk of this EP has some of their most straight-forward sounds to date. In fact, apart from ‘Wriggle,’ the other three tracks make sure to put fun first, embedding the Industrial style after that has already been achieved. Not a coincidence that those three are the ones with featured artists, an eclectic range at that, but one that needs to compensate for Diggs-less verses. This is seen best on ‘Back Up’ where both ANTWON and Signor Benedick The Moor disappoint with flows and styles that just don’t fit, the production itself one of clipping’s worst, being too cluttered for its own good.

The standout here is absolutely ‘Wriggle.’ Using a sample from Whitehouse, a Power Electrics band, you can really see the excessiveness shine in the production, which may be the group’s most daunting to date, incorporating elements of Glitch Hop and Techno that somehow fits around Diggs’ sickeningly fast flow. It’s a risk that pays off in spades. And while I’ve never been a fan of artists incorporating sexually soaked vocal samples, ‘Hot Fuck No Love’ brushes off the filthy interludes with a fiery Cakes Da Killa verse, the only one that comes close to Diggs on here. Finally, the finale ‘Our Time’ is an interesting piece, as for all intents and purposes it’s quite ordinary, revolving around a battered break-up through texts and cheating. It even features Diggs singing in falsetto, albeit for a moment, despite somehow being successful. The track, and EP, end with Nailah Middleton singing something not far removed from R&B, the contrast to the Noise behind her striking. It’s uncharacteristic for clipping, as is much of Wriggle from a distance, setting them up for an LP that could be their most inviting yet. Or this was a red herring, a quick stop-go that dabbles in convention, before a return to experimental storytelling hits us later this year.

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