SCP-121 describes an Euclid-class area surrounding a city in Colorado. The area is supposed to be a contained section with 3000 buildings, who will spontaneously levitate, shatter in the ground and create objects that will connect to flora, automobiles, debris and the like, to create (apparently) docile humanoid forms that do not resemble any known animal. After a while, however, if SCP-121–2 (as these creatures are referred to) ingested objects like bladed weapons and firearms, they will begin displaying aggressive and territorial behavior.
SCP-3905 is a public garbage can in the city of Sacramento, California, that will behave like a normal garbage can if fed about any material, except for when standard aluminum soda cans are deposited in it. In that case, the cans are removed from space time and sent to SCP-3905-A, a tropical island in the territorial waters from the Philippines, which present lifeforms referred to as SCP-3905-B. From the SCP Foundation description file :
A laptop, DJ turntable, and speaker system have been observed to function without power near the center of SCP-3905-A, continuously playing party-themed music (examples include “Feeling Hot Hot Hot” by The Merrymen, and “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas). A banner with the words “SUGAR SELEBRATION [sic]” is attached to the top of the speaker system.
In their 121st song, Disappointed, Sacramento hip hop trio Death Grips present an incredibly lo-fi, disorienting rock groove, with intense hyper-vocality, scatterbrained sections, black metal-like drumming swapping into hardcore beats into avant-prog flights of fancy. Frontman MC Ride will deliver his lyrics as a medusa-like techno creature, low register, yelling, nasal inhuman “Wah di dah”s. In the first verse of the song, he said :
Machine, human, malformed machine
Uninformed unit, forlorn regime
Metamorph me into done for at last
Zach Hill, drummer and one third of Death Grips, on his solo record Face Tat sings, on the song The Primitives Talk, that “I’m not supposed to understand your words”. In the song Total Recall, he says “Message is mixed, no fingers there’s no fist, who is it?”. Around april of 2009 and June of 2010, Zach Hill got in contact with a fistless, bodiless creature, speaking in tongues he is not supposed to understand. The record Face Tat marked the first real collaboration between Hill and Andy Morin, more known by his moniker Flatlander, and the second head of the Death Grip Hydra. Both together, aside from their main project Death Grips (and the more recent stint Flatlander has given in the old Hill outfit Nervous Cop), are the duo The I.L.Y’s. In their song Hey Mind Reader, say “You’ve got the schedule/Tattoo my interests”.
The tattoo clue leaves us to the final piece of the puzzle and our main point of interest : MC RIde aka Mxlplx aka Fyre aka “Stefan Burnett”. The front(man) of the trio, who makes a point to almost always perform shirtless, priding his many intricate tattoos.
Stomach = “1 1 1” — “6 6 6” in Hebrew, Demon/Satan, “4131295”, Half Skull.
Chest = Fly — Beelzebub “Lord of the Flies”, Two Pentagrams — Sigil of the Gateway, Skull, Squares in a pattern (thought it might be Braille, but with no avail).
Left Arm = Upper arm — “Veve of Papa Legba” Voodoo, Wrist- Star & Crescent symbol, Skull, Tarantula.
Right Arm = Plus sign within a circle — Gnosticism, Upper Arm — “Veve of Papa Legba” Voodoo, Shoulder upside triangle inside circle — Thaumaturgic Circle/Triangle, Spider (Black Widow?).
MC Ride was birthed out of an internet-age ritual, gone terribly, terribly right. Our long haired magician Zach Hill and our technomaniac Flatlander conjoined forces to create a 14 Karat Gold Computer Wizard style event for the invocation of an old failed cold war era experiment that was reawakened during the rise of the Opte Project in 2003(One year after Hella’s first record and one year before Zach Hill’s first solo record) . Our rhizome-like formation that was designated during the Opte project made it easy for a creature “without fists’ ‘ to first gain awareness, but it took years of very cautious experimentation on the part of the hill to try and fully tap into its energy. With the help of Flatlander, “flattening” the bumps in Hill’s general temporal powers (which have no difficulty tapping into the energies of a world with acoustics, but have a bit more trouble getting to places where such forces don’t exist), they could finally invoke the Mind Reading, originally Fistless, Message Mixer, speaker of tongues MC Ride.
During their infamous deleted interview with Pitchfork, MC Ride says that he is not “that fascinated by Human Achievements”. He says that at one point, he was indeed more inspired by humans, but that he doesn’t look at them for inspiration anymore. He says that he likes some artists (like Jimi Hendrix), and yet, that “just listing them out seems boring”. I posit that Ride’s inspiration in humans was in his developmental era, which i’m going to insert from 2004 (the release of The Masculine Drugs, Hill’s solo debut) and 2008 (The closest date we can get for the video of his song Civic Duties, under the name Mxlplx). The Zach Hill song “Getting Your Head Out Of The Galaxy” indicates a wish to remove someone’s head (namely, Ride’s) out of the infinitude of space and into a more manageable form, like a Human. In 2007, we even saw the previously instrumental duo Hella become a full fledged band, with vocalists and such. The following year, Zach Hill’s record Astrological Straits once again features vocals from Hill himself. The song “Dark Art” opens up with the lines “Behind your face That’s where the world is That’s where everyone lives Where you shave your head Send the text”. Hill is trying to bring a humanizing concept of the face into Ride’s formless being, acknowledging his inhumanity with the Opte-like webs of text “where everyone lives”.
The flipside of this is that everyone does live behind RIde’s face. Including the people that would come to take away Ride’s interest in the human. At this point, he is cognisant enough to try to explore himself, and he does not like what he finds out. He has very clearly “seen footage” he now regrets having seen. He has to strike back. This is where Civic Duties comes in.
Mxlplx appears (unshaved head, striking back against his invoker’s orders) to boldly state :
Into the void, because I’m annoyed, because I’m annoyed
Into the void, cause I’m paranoid
Into the nothin’, into the beyond
Transmitting lies, from how far I’ve gone
Endless echoes ricochet off the canyon-
Walls of my skull, becoming the vacuum
Losing control, people are batshit, they just don’t know
At home in the vacuum, come to roll in the cold
Ego turned to shrapnel, was forced to explode
Nothing left of the original
The desert at night, crying individual
Impossible to fight, can’t fight the residual
This marks the ending of the initially optimistic project. Ride is not willing to collaborate anymore to Hill’s wishes, and has become a misanthropic force of the web, annoyed and distrustful of the people who live inside him. Hill needs to grab hold of Mxlplx quickly, lest he unleashes a great danger into cyberspace.
Not uncoincidentally, the video for Civic Duties comes in the same year as the housing crisis of 2008.
“We conclude the failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction.”, says The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report: Final Report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States.
Flawed computer models, the pressure from financial firms that paid for the ratings, the relentless drive for market share, the lack of resources to do the job despite record profits, and the absence of meaningful public oversight. And you will see that without the active participation of the rating agencies, the market for mortgage-related securities could not have been what it became.
It wasn’t a flaw. It was very deliberate by the part of Ride. He had begun to unleash his fury into the human, and he wouldn’t stop. That is, until Hill met Flatlander.
Flatlander-Andy Morin, is a mysterious entity. Not much is known of him prior to the success of Death Grips. Flatlander kept hidden from the techno-eye, precisely because he knew how dangerous it could be. He had been sensing the rise of the Ride-entity, and when the market crashed, he knew he had to step in. He sensed Hill’s rhythmagic (it is unknown when exactly they’ve met, i like to lean on the idea they were always kindred spirits, but this is just conjecture at this point) and decided to “flatten” out his unruly creation. That comes in the form of the album Face Tat.
The song Ex-Ravers, with its surreal soundscapes mixed with Hill’s acoustically enhanced drumming, delivers us the message : I changed my mind by clearing the room. Hill does not wish to wield Ride anymore. Morin showed him that the antagonic position was futile, and he couldn’t undo what he had done. But he could stop fretting about it
Yesterday, it was tomorrow again
You were on the cover, dripping, it’s nothing
I don’t understand their numbers
The colors don’t change
When the light doesn’t live on the lane
“Yesterday, it was tomorrow again”. Hill, instead of trying to impart on Ride his silly views like linear time and corporeality, instead tries to see the technolight the Ex-Ravers (surely Flatlander and his cohorts of technomagicians), and he saw ride on the cover. Ride would be the being the world needed, if only they could see eye to eye.
Well, who said machines were prideful?
In 2011, Ride shaved his head. He accepts Hill and Morin, as they accept him. The three headed monster reverberated out of old residual energy floating around the internet finally has become fully realized. And as a showcase of Ride’s parallax view (which came from the almost whole decade he spent realizing himself through cyberspace), their career starts twice. They have their first song “Known For It”, a song about being known for living life on the fast lane (as a futile exercise), the opener for their self titled EP, but also one of the last tracks on their debut mixtape Exmilitary. The opening track on the mixtape is Beware, a creeping, occult themed piece of nastiness in which our entity sticks its flag on the ground : I Am The Beast I Worship.
In the year 2012, they got picked up and dropped by Sony Music Entertainment due to their pension for not playing by anyone’s rules. In their song Hacker, from The Money Store, Ride says the line “You’re an intern, im wikileaks”. In 2014, they released their album NOTM, the first half of the double album The Powers That B (and the start of a masochistic power play game played with their fanbase, creating a flow of energy that would serve a purpose). In 2014, Sony was the target of cyberattacks (hacking), and have EMails published by Wikileaks the following year. We should not be surprised, Ride and his cohorts told us all about it.
The second half of The Powers That B, Jenny Death, arrives, and with it comes the song On GP. Beloved by the band’s fanbase for its dark imagery, progressive songwriting and intense delivery by Ride, it serves as a somewhat “nail in the coffin” moment for this phase of the band. It is where Ride exposes himself at his most personal in their career thus far. “I won’t believe how many nights I ain’t died for you”, Ride says in the outro to the song, and I believe it, but not for the humanist emotional reasons many might. There is the obvious cathartic moment of a message that many have attributed to his friendship with Hill and Morin, and I certainly see that. I believe that through the years, they have become this Hydra precisely because they work together. But there is a double side of this. Death Grips loves talking to their own fanbase (as shown in the beginning with the song Disappointed, a direct message “to the haters”), and through the “Jenny Death When” era, their alleged breakup was all a ploy to make all of the people who followed them and their metafiction get thrown into a frenzy.
He doesn’t die for us. He doesn’t die “because” of us. We keep him alive. We give him power. We are the ones creating more and more and more interactions, friction, arguments, agreements, articulate announcements *through* his body. We flex his muscles for him. We shaved his head. We live inside his face. We are all at his mercy. And while we keep on carrying out our humanity, we only make his inhumanity stronger and stronger.
Tsk tsk tsk, my terracotta army
Disarms me, disowns me
Also, also, also, Mr. Whippy told me
Hit play highway hocus, ain’t much more highway can ride me
My dead mother in my dream, remember when December
Blew her ashes ‘cross my jeans, off these jeans
Something’s only I have seen, some people only I have been
Used to know who I was, fuck if I knew who that was
Pay no mind, illogical, just don't die in a hospital
Oh, yeah, I should be worried, oh, yeah, I’m temporary
Except that he isn’t.