If you’ve paid attention to any news source within the past year (which I hope you do, for your own sake, and mine), then you probably have heard of the talented Tony Award winning broadway star Daveed Diggs. He played the role of American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in the the broadway musical Hamilton, which has received high praise by many critics claiming it to be one of the best musicals of 2015. Daveed has clearly collected attention through this breakout role yet his talents stretch even further as he has been part of a captivating experimental hip-hop group called Clipping. The group released one mixtape in 2013 and dropped one album the following year. Wriggle is the latest EP from the group and it’s only a small glimpse of what is to come from the exuberant artists.
Daveed Diggs has no time to waste as he jumps right into the thick of things with “Intro”. There’s plenty of imagery jammed into the first four bars that paints a grim picture as you continue listening: “The bulb in the streetlight flickering a little bit / I hope the bitch don’t burn out / It’s the last beating heart in the city in the darkness / It’s something you don’t want to know about”. Daveed slams down bars within what feels like a millisecond by the time he’s done. The intro is the only song on the EP that is acapella and the only driving force of the song is the remarkable speed and lyricism that is filled on each of the other tracks on this project. The end of the track is disrupted by a wall of distortion that is greeted with the classic Clipping phrase “It’s clipping, bitch!”
The song “Shooter” follows up after the intro. It is comprised of of bouncy synths with many different samples of guns being used. It’s heartening to hear, that after two years of nearly no content from the experimental artists they’re still being creative with their unique style of work. William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes are brilliantly underrated producers that have filled every Clipping release with this kind of forward thinking production. The hook is coated with shotguns blasting off in the background on top of synths being raised to high effects to keep up with the intensity of Daveeds somber delivery.
The title track of the EP is filled with immense energy that uses a sample from the song “Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel!” from experimental electronic duo Whitehouse. Daveed exhibits yet again his effortless delivery as a one of the fastest rappers in the industry. It’s absolute madness how he doesn’t even sound half tired at certain points in the song. His flow is so unparalleled to any other artist that it’s hard to compare the broadway star to anyone else; he is paving his own kind of style and it’s working out beautifully.
Cakes Da Killa provides a visceral smack down of a verse on the song “Hot Fuck No Love” which keeps up with the flow and relentless energy of the whole EP. He describes in vivid detail how sexually active his life is and lets us know all the dirty stuff he likes to do with his spare time. His flow fits perfectly right next to Daveed’s fast delivery skills. It makes me hope for more collaborative projects between the two rappers in the future. The instrumentals sound like hollow African drums being played at a fast rate. It makes the track feel frantic, not in any way that is overwhelming, but more so genuinely interesting.
If you’ve never heard of Clipping, then start doing your research immediately. They don’t have much material out so it’s easy to give all of their work a listen. If you want something that is ruthlessly pandemic in style but forgiving in the sense of artistry, then listen to Clipping. If you want all of that but more recent, then listen to their EP Wriggle right now. It’s only a tease as to what is to come from them in what we can only hope is a studio album later this year.
-Review by Michael Eidelson