“There Existed an Addiction to Blood” is Clipping’s third full-length album. With a discography filthy rich with EP’s, an album that has won a Hugo Award, endless amounts of remixes, and a killer mixtape, Clipping’s latest release was sure to be a stellar composition of superb story-telling and abrasive beats. Clipping consists of Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Snipes, and William Hutson. This trio crafted a near perfect hip-hop album that forces you to the ground, rolls you beneath your bed, and makes you hold your breath with shivering fingers wrapped around your mouth. They’re here and “they lookin’ for you. They always lookin’ for you. Why the fuck they always lookin’ for you?”
“Intro” sets you up with a message, a warning, left behind saying, “monsters out here just as passionate as men out for cash.” It’s best you take note, for the sound of dirt getting shoveled up out of the ground could be foreshadowing for where you may end up if you slip up. After the hair-raising introduction to the album, “Nothing Is Safe” begins. With what sounds like a Halloween soundtrack cassette tape stuck on repeat, a story of drug dealers holed up in a house awaiting the raid that lies just outside their furniture-barricaded entrance unfurls and invites you to step right into their darkened product cooking kitchen. There are little sounds embedded beneath the main beat that are reminiscent of knuckles rapping against wooden planks or distant blades of a helicopter searching this scene from above. The storytelling on this song and this album do such a phenomenal job at snatching you up out of your habitual day to day life and slapping you down into scenes that make your eyes dart wildly back and forth toward each and every shadow, leaving you wobbly in your knees and shaken to your punctured core.
“La Mala Ordina” features harsh noise from The Rita and verses from Benny The Butcher and Elcamino. Crackling static fire, the droning of an aching piano, and shivering orchestral strings set the tone as one that is menacing and not to be messed with. Hollow drums shift like stumbling, weighted steps beneath Diggs rapping about skin stretched thin and clipping limbs to be served to blood-thirsty patrons. This song is thick with double entendres and horrific imagery of the sinister acts that gangs inflict. “Laid out on the floor without a tongue trying to ask why?” The final verse from Diggs progressively gets more and more disrupted until it’s ultimately swallowed whole by a wall of harsh noise. “Club Down” features blood-curdling screams from Sarah Bernat. A heaving metallic din of roving static interrupted by Diggs short bursts of words unraveling a tale of paranoia, exploitation, and slowly killing people for profit. “Lookin’ over his shoulder, stop lookin’ over your shoulder. You’re never caught from behind as long as you keep movin’ forward.”
“Prophecy (Interlude)” sounds like listening to a muffled recording of a fly stuck in a jar, or it sounds as if rainfall was electrified and thrashing against your roof webbing currents out across your house. With “Run For Your Life,” you’re thrown down onto the pavement running alongside a street busy with traffic. Skinned knees better find their way up off the ground in order to keep out of harm’s way. Sharp breaths, raging dogs, and gunfire pulse along with beats carried in from the cars passing by. Keeping out of the glow of pale yellow streetlight finds you “turnt into a alley quick, just a wall that’s made of brick.” Your dead end is here and the end of you is possible. Thankfully the creaky lid of a dumpster beckons you inside and you hide among the city’s leftovers that throb along with your raging adrenaline. The beat comes drifting right to left and echoes through your green trash chamber.
With the beat now pumping at full capacity, La Chat enters taking the role of the murderess woman you are failing to run from. Her threats range from punching a hole through your lung to cutting out your dripping tongue. Next up is “The Show,” a story of people paying to view a live-screening of a torturous death. Sparking wires and an electric trickling of fear-inducing beats slowly build up to the murder going on right before your eyes. After all, “you gotta give the kill what the kill deserves.” The murderer, the ringleader, sets up the scene in a fashion akin to a gameshow with the spinning of a wheel to figure out which limb should be removed. The killer asks for audience advice. The crowd watching through their flickering screens probably don’t move an inch. So numb to the world to want to endure this. The chorus features what I feel to be deadpan clapping and the steaming of exposed pipes. The third verse has a machine-like stomping that creeps closer and closer into the foreground making you rip your earbuds out to make sure nothing is actually closing in on you.
The next track, “All in Your Head,” features Robyn Hood and Counterfeit Madison. A large metallic clink, the bringing down of the hammer, followed by a swooshing static air. The outro, sung by Counterfeit Madison, brings goosebumps to the surface of the skin with the raising volume going on behind the vocals closing out the song with a spine-tingling “eternal!” I would like to say that “Blood of the Fang” is a well-needed breather for the album because its sound is just slightly lighter than the songs leading up to it, but the lyrical content provided on this track is just as harrowing as the others with its talk of America’s racist and undeniably violent past, showing that not all bloodlust is created equally. Diggs is preparing listeners for a revolution with lyrics such as,
“Skin do show you who kin, that’s it though
What’s inside never been too simple
Syrup, he sip, ’cause he can’t taste his own blood
Drink it up, drink it up
You belong in every milliliter of
They tried to take out every military leader, but
You was born to be a martyr
And it doesn’t mean a thing because that body really meat
Fill it up, your history is one you might consider killin’ for.”
The third verse has Diggs rapping at breakneck speed with lyrics about various members of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army zipping past. If this song doesn’t get you hyped for a rebellion, I’m not sure what will.
“There Existed an Addiction to Blood” is so thickly rich with references to poems, movies, and various musicians that hours stacked upon hours could be spent unearthing each and every line. I can’t sing enough praise for this album, but what I can say is “this some motherfucking scripture right here, ya heard?”
“This is such a beautifully produced and well-rounded album with its heart-quickening songs about gore, injustice, impostors, werewolves, possession, rebellion, and lust for blood. This album contains some of the best ambience I’ve ever heard and the lyrics are so wonderfully crafted that it feels like you have been tossed into this cityscape blanketed by nightfall and hiding from those who wish to do you harm. These songs make you feel as though you are running through the streets with Diggs, keeping up with his pace only to then keep your body quiet while hidden within a dumpster praying for your life, rocking at the edge of the chair that keeps you from burning up your neck with rope, or going to catch your cheating man in the act only to find his body slain behind the door left for dead and covered in scratches.