The Anatomy of Grit-Hop
Violent comic books, video games and porn. This is the cultural trinity of choice that empowers the Defamation League. They also like to mix in hip hop, punk and a touch of misogyny for lasting effect. They’ve also claimed to have created their own genre of music which they call grit-hop: an ambitious combination of the underbelly of humanity and hip hop.
The debut full length, as you’ve probably guessed by the moniker, is specifically designed to piss off, offend and incite tongue-in-cheek hate. But I’m not so sure the average person or even the most loyal hip hop fan would be able to make it all the way through this sonic cesspool and lyrical minefield where no real lyrical bombs are dropped, only redundant explosions reminiscent of the mind-numbing evening news. The trio makes sure to note that even the big bad watchdog Bill O’Reilly was all fired up and waving his finger at them and their infamous grit-hop debut.
Man, I really hope that no one else wastes time listening to this album. It’s regurgitated '90s rap laced with misguided punk power chords that’s trying to be funny and failing miserably with tracks like “Sound of Violence,” “The Wrath,” or “Bombin’ Fools at the Compound.”
In trying to be so over the top controversial and in exploiting punk’s rebellious, uncensored credo -- without even a shred of creativity or wit that is in the best punk music -- this trio might be laughing at themselves a few years down the road. Are they trying to tell a story of what they see in their corner of the world? Well, they should take note that N.W.A was controversial AND creative AND brilliantly journalistic about the brutally of life in the hood and you couldn’t dismiss their music as simply gratutious. It made you think because guys like Ice Cube and MC Wren were thinking too, beyond just the shock value.
The only thing stopping me from tossing this record -- if I do go back and listen to it again -- is that it does have one thin and fragile chord of humorous satire running through it. I might be stretching on the satire idea but I know when I see a group as over the top as these guys there is usually some desire or valiant attempt at an intellectualized parody. I hope that’s what is really behind the obvious forefront of gun brandishing, blood-stained machete swinging and deviant comic book grimaces snarling at me on the album’s cover.