Comprised of production duo Jonathan Snipes and WIlliam Hutson, along with emcee and actor Daveed Diggs, Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio clipping never expected to find much of an audience for their sound. After all their sound pairs Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse and abrasive productions that frequently feature layers of static hiss, industrial clinking and clanking and samples from field recordings with Diggs’ incredibly dexterous, rapid fire narrative delivery; however, the release of their 2013 debut effort Midcity eventually caught the attention of the folks at Sub Pop Records, who released the trio’s sophomore effort clppng to national attention. Of course, it helps that the trio have released material at a time when both the mainstream and indie hip-hop scenes have openly and increasingly embraced the unconventional — and a s a result, artists have pushed the boundaries of what hip-hop should look like, what it should sound like and the subjects it focuses on in unprecedented ways.
Now, you may recall that a couple of years ago I wrote about “Work Work,” the first single off clppng, a single that introduced their unique sound and aesthetic to a much wider audience — all while introducing one of the more dexterous and inventive emcees you hadn’t heard of yet; in fact, Diggs narrative-leaning rhyme style features complex inner and outer rhyme, stark and surreally violent imagery, frequently told in the second and third person (which is actually much more difficult than you can imagine). Over the past couple of years the trio have been busy with other creative pursuits — namely, Diggs won a Tony for his dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton. (Maybe you’ve heard of it?)
Splendor & Misery is the long-awaited follow up to clppng and the album, which is slated for a September 9, 2016 release is reportedly a Sci-Fi, dystopian concept album and from the album’s first single “Baby Don’t Sleep,” the material on the album seems to capture the increasing sense that the US and the rest of humanity is marching lockstep to its destruction behind demagogues. Sonically speaking, Diggs rapid fire rhymes describing characters, who feel alienated, empty and paranoid and paired with a sparse and anxious production featuring undulating feedback and static and what sounds like a jackhammer and industrial clinking, clanging and crumpling.
The recently released music is a collaboration with multi-disciplinary artist Cristopher Cichocki and it features his visual experiments with static interference, oscilloscopic wavelengths and flicker-flame animation in a way that completely encapsulates Clipping’s stark, noisy, post-apocalyptic sound.