Throughout the past few years, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual link covering Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio and JOVM mainstay act Clipping.– production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and frontperson Daveed Diggs. Now, as you may recall, last year’s There Existed and Addiction to Blood found the acclaimed hip-hop trio interpreting a rap spinner sect through their own singular lens — in this case, horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre that flourished for a handful of years around the mid 1990s. That album’s material is also partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — with the title derived from the film.
With horror films, sequels are perfunctory. As the insufferable film bro Randy explains in Scream 2, “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate—more blood, more gore. Carnage candy. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.” Clipping.’s highly-anticipated follow-up to There Existed an Addition to Blood, Visions of Bodies Getting Burned is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through their longtime label home, Sub Pop Records. Much like any sequel, VoBGB finds the JOVM mainstays returning with an even higher body count, bloodier, more elaborate, gorier kills, and as always, unrelenting monsters that just won’t stay dead. And although the album will most lily be seen and received as a sequel, in reality it’s the second half a planned diptych.
As it turned out, in the years following Splendor & Misery, the trio wound up being incredibly prolific, writing and recording too may songs for just one album. Before the release of There Existed an Addition to Blood, Clipping. and Sub Pop divided the material into two albums, specifically designed to be released only months apart. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic managed to forced the cancellation of multiple tours and the delayed release of Visions of Bodies Being Burned until next week. Interestingly, the 16 song album draws from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker and Shirley Jackson as much as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Brotha Lynch Hung. And while they’ve developed a uniquely abrasive, angular and messy interpretation of horrorcore, they fully intend to lovingly twist beloved and familiar tropes to fit their own politics and thematic concerns — fear, the absurd, the uncanny and the struggle for an antiracist, anti-patriarchal, anti-colonialist world.
So far, I’ve written about two of VoBBB‘s singles: –
- “Say The Name:.” Featuring a heavily chopped up and screwed sample of Scarface’s evocative lyric from “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” — “Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned,” the song is centered around wobbling, tweeter and woofer rocking low-end, industrial clang and clatter, arpeggiated synths and Diggs’ tongue twisting flow, full of surrealistically gore-filled lyrics full of imagery demons and hell spawn in the flames, bullet hole ridden bodies and more. To me, the song evokes the slow-burning horror of watching a man being snuffed out in public with replays form different angles and commentary as if it were a key play in deciding a big ball game.
- “96 Neve Campbell:” Written as a tribute to the self-aware “final girl” character of the post-slasher film cycle that features a vicious and swaggering guest spot from Inglewood’s Cam & China, The trio of ridiculously talented emcees envisions the movie’s final girl — or inn this case final girls — preemptively striking the slasher and fucking his ass up before he could get them. Simply put, the track is fire. featuring criminally under-appreciated talent that you should know. “We’ve been fans of theirs for a long time, going back to the days when they were in the group Pink Dollaz,” Clipping.’s Daveed Diggs says of their collaboration with Cam & China. “Cam and China continue to be some of the most consistent and under-appreciated lyricists on the West Coast. We’ve been trying to do a song with them for a while now, and this one felt like a perfect fit. They bodied it.”
“Pain Everyday,” VoBBB‘s third and latest single, which features Michael Esposito, is centered around a glitchy and feedback-driven production featuring industrial clang and clatter, stuttering breakcore beats, brooding synths and electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recordings — said to be the voices of restless spirits over the menacingly atmospheric track. The song is a call-to-arms for the voice of lynching victims and police brutality to haunted torture the white descendants of their murderers, whether here or in the afterlife.
“This song was one of the most challenging to write because it’s the first time we’ve done a track entirely in ⅞, which, it turns out, is kind of a mind fuck,” Clipping.’s Daveed Diggs explains. “I love how it came out because it’s in this odd time signature but the flow still feels natural, like rap is supposed to.”
The band released a lyric video directed and created by Clipping.’s Jonathan Snipes and Cristina Bercovitz.