Californian musical agitators Death Grips have already turned ears and heads after dropping their major-label debut, The Money Store, earlier this year.

A record that censored none of their schizophrenic attitudes and controversial tastes, a record which our Tone Deaf reviewer said was “full of barren yet maximalist electronics made up of otherworldly samples, sickly synths and thunderous drum patterns with hyper-masculine aggressive rapping.”

It’s follow up however, NO LOVE DEEP WEB has stirred the music scene with even greater vigour however, when the on October 1st the Sacramento noise-rap crew leaked the album onto the internet without the permission of their label, Sony Music imprint Epic Records.

To add insult to injury, the extremely NSFW artwork featured the completely unsellable image of the album’s title written in marker across an erect penis.“Epic has done nothing except wholeheartedly support the band, even though the band has made certain decisions that have financially damaged Epic.”

Epic clearly hadn’t domesticated their new signees to the ‘house rules’ yet, and Death Grips reasoned that the album’s guerrilla release – deliberately leaked online and made available in full to streaming services – was due to the fact that, “the label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime.”

Death Grips then blamed Epic for pulling the proverbial choke chain by shutting down their website following their defiant ‘fuck you’ to the label who paid the bills for their latest record to begin with, though some would argue that it may have been the flood of internet downloaders that crashed their website’s server.

As SPIN points out, Death Grips are now pushing their label’s patience to the limit, publicly posting exchanges with Epic Records executives on their Facebook page.

The letter, concerning the whole incident (though selectively ignoring the choice of album artwork) contains the fine print “Any distribution, dissemination or reproduction of this e-mail message is strictly prohibited.” To which the group simply added “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOW FUCK OFF,” to the label’s attachment.

The following letter is from Heath Kudler, Epic’s Senior VP of Business and Legal, to Death Grips manager Peter Katsis:

Peter —

As you are aware from our several conversations today, Epic is extremely upset and disappointed that the artist decided to release an album without Epic’s knowledge or involvement. As you know, the artist has not only blatantly breached a number of provisions in the applicable recording agreement, it has also wilfully infringed Epic’s copyright rights with respect to these masters. Equally important, without provocation, the artist has made false and disparaging statements on various websites about Epic. All this, despite the fact that Epic has done nothing except wholeheartedly support the band, even though the band has made certain decisions that have financially damaged Epic.

Given the situation in which Epic finds itself, please immediately pull the album from all websites on which it is currently being distributed. In addition, please promptly provide the masters (which Epic owns) to us. Once we have cleared the tracks, we intend to quickly put the album up for sale.

This album will not count towards the Recording Commitment. As I am sure you understand, Epic will not pay for an album that thousands of people have already downloaded. Any royalties on sales will be accounted and paid pursuant to the terms of the recording agreement.

Please confirm that you will comply with what is set forth in this e-mail, and that we are in agreement on how the parties will move forward with respect to this album.

Epic reserves all of its rights and remedies.


Kudler’s proposal, though written in clinical label parlance, seems reasonable and Death Grips aren’t so much biting the hand that feeds anymore, but swallowing it whole and asking for seconds.

They also posted their manager’s follow-up email, which says they are willing to hand over the masters but that such correspondence should be directed towards the band’s legal representative, lawyer Aaron Rosenberg.

While it’s probably been the most punk thing that’s happened this year (sorry Billie Joe Armstrong), Death Grips’ latest actions seem to be baiting the suits beyond a scale that no longer makes it clear who’s coming out looking like the good guys – which is probably precisely the musical agitators’ point.

Regardless, you can listen to NO LOVE DEEP WEB, the follow-up to April’s The Money Store (which gets the Tone Deaf tick of approval here) below:

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