clipping. Wriggle

[Sub Pop; 2016]

Styles: retch-rap, spit up, regurgitation
Others: Yeezus , “Thomas Jefferson”, Terminator X

I wake up Sunday morning, read “Kristina Grimmie, Orlando, Pulse, shooter.” I am sick.

Sunday night, I’m behind the bar, sneaking peeks at the Tonys. I see lots of people pretending to be people, posturing, gesturing. They say: “community, pride, indomitable, help.” I shake my head, but I think good thing. I finish my work. I go home. I go to sleep.

I wake up Monday morning. I blink and drag the back of my hand across my lips. I look at the room. I look at all the vomit.


Regurgitation has a sound. There’s a set of sonic demands attached to all the cringe-verbs, the spitting, the gagging, the expelling. No body vomits in a vacuum: make a racket, dislodge poison. Wriggle is the racket of rejecting systems, the sound of songs as retch.

“Intro” is the first heave. “The bulb in the streetlight flickering a little bit/ I hope the bitch don’t burn out,” intones MC Daveed Diggs. clipping. is a boldly intentional project (“we’re trying hard to make sure this music is mean to everybody”), and Wriggle is especially pointed: bite into the systems, chew them, spew them. “Intro” presents cities as spaces for pointless survival, Diggs’s fever-verbiage leveling people as crabs stuck climbing in a bucket. William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes ground Diggs in the noise-scape of passing highway from out the windows of a car. They put us in the car with Diggs; clipping. puts the car in the city with the broken light. Wriggle shoves our face in shit, wants us nauseous.

Systematic chew and spew continues. The only sounds on “Shooter” are Diggs, a funk-trap beat, and the infinity clicking and unloading of a chorus of guns, pieced together until they’re part of songs; violence is the language of rage, gunshots are the poetry of violence. “Back Up” rides a couple guest verses (ANTWON and Signor Benedick the Moor, slick and unhinged) atop Digg’s tarmac-hook, “took about a pound of the Charlie ‘fore the party, good/ He ain’t ever seen a brick, they shot him where he stood.” Shooters, poverty, and drugs cocktail into the soup of endless excess. “Wriggle” eggs on devolution, encourages the primal (“wriggle like an eel!”) This is “Our Time,” all this emotional anesthesia, a final “step off, back up” until there’s nothing left worth loving on “Hot Fuck No Love”: “And so what is life?/ It’s just frame of mind/ And boxed in by sex/ It’s toxic.


I’m down on my knees with a roll of Brawny mopping up the mess, because who wants to live in vomit? My laptop’s eking out a tinny version of “Intro,” the first track on Wriggle. I need some air. I get up to open a window. Nothing about Wriggle is especially venomous, given the noise of the band’s previous creations, as well as their explicit intentions (“we are not trying to fix anything.”) And the relentless energy of clipping.’s attack is intact and pointed; “Wriggle,” especially, feels like someone punched into my adenoidal gland and surgically inserted a couple angry morays, and that kind of charge is why we turn the music on in the first place. But I squint when I hear “Shooter,” which repurposes the sound of gunshots and the meter of jokes (“Shooter read the face real quick, CliffsNotes/ Kissed the shoe with the .45, mistletoe”) into a song about shooters. We need to hear these sounds, just like we need to talk and to police how we hear them. I don’t know what it means or how it means it, but I know we can’t hear “‘Cause the shooter brought guns and the shit go bang/ Hands up” without seeing hands attached to bodies. We’re all capable of poisoning our bodies, and clipping.’s participatory monstrousness charts a control for cleansing. We cannot wallow; we cannot extol expulsion as a final end because who wants to live in vomit? I don’t expect resolution from the sounds in my tinny laptop speakers. And I can’t excuse a buildup in bile. Wriggle is the big bug scuttling over the broken stuff. We need the bug, and we need the stuff.

Links: clipping.

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