The eclectic rap group Clipping’s latest project is one that will leave listeners discombobulated and in deep thought. With themes of racism, gun violence, police brutality, and several instances of vivid and gory imagery, “There Existed an Addiction to Blood” is a buffet of ideas and experimentation. On top of all this, you also get fantastic and complex lyricism, worthy of looking over more than once to understand every piece of it. This album should be treated as an experience, not just a collection of songs to listen to.
This album has a huge variety of songs and skits. The last song is legitimately 18 minutes of what is suggested to be a piano burning. Unconventional techniques like this makes the album reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. In that, the album’s artistry is groundbreaking and strange at the same time. So while listening to the album, you get used to it’s odd tendencies. One minute, you could be listening to a song about the different ways of killing someone. The next, you hear the one about a werewolf who prays on married men, to an interlude of audio from an old Hollywood horror movie. The twists and turns of the album really keep you engaged while listening.
The lyricism in this album is so off-the-wall that it cannot be compared to that of a lot of other rappers in the game right now. First, “Intro” kicks off the album, which looks like it could come straight out of a medieval literature textbook. It’s spoken word and has beautifully complicated metaphors. It sounds like it’s coming from a tape recorder which only adds to the eerie vibe the song already gives off. It talks about demons and monsters like werewolves, which is a bit of foreshadowing for a song later on in the album.
To follow up this dark and fantastical style rap, listeners are hit with a substantial amount of social commentary on the song, “He Dead”. Beginning with a funky intro by Ed Balloon, which has tribal influences, especially with the sounds of chanting in the background, warning people to be safe and keep both eyes wide open in the dangerous world of today. This part is reminiscent of the song, “Redbone” by Childish Gambino, specifically the message they both send, with metaphors comparing corrupt police officers to ravenous packs of wolves, the central message of the song goes even deeper. It is fascinating how odd the shifts in tone and subject matter are on this album, but at the same time the odd transitions add to the strange and almost horror movie feeling of the whole project.
It’s worth noting how many skits and breaks there are in this album. The album has just not one, but two interludes. On top of these, every few songs will have stints of just ‘white noise’ either at the beginning of the song or the end. And of course, the aforementioned piano burning song is the highlight of all the parts with no lyrics or rapping. Perhaps all of these are necessary to maintain the tone the group is going for. Without these breaks, listeners wouldn’t finish the album with the same amount of unsettledness.
One of the most important songs on this album is “Blood of the Fang”. The name of the album comes from the movie, “Ganja and Hess”. The name is part of a line from the film, which is included in this song as a sample. “Blood of the Fang” is a vampire film from 1973 with several underlying meanings of black assimilation. With this discovery, listeners can infer that the album is a mirror of the film that it gets its name from. All the weird skits, the piano burning, the tales of a werewolf mistress, all come together as a fantastical piece of social commentary, just like “Ganja and Hass”.
This album truly is a journey. One that everybody should take part in. If high school students have to read literature like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, they should be assigned to listen to this whole album as well. Yes, even the 18 minutes of a piano burning. With all the social commentary and vividly awesome imagery, it’s almost like a disservice to music to not listen to this album.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment