Clipping is an experimental hip-hop group from Los Angeles, California, consisting of MC Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes, who have been producing music since 2009 and have never made anything as conceptual as Splendor and Misery.
The album starts out with a noisy, static-filled introduction, giving this feel of a transmission on a space ship that is barely coming through which is fitting for the concept of the album.
According to the rap group themselves, Splendor and Misery is a dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and while on the ship, the onboard computer falls in love with him.
Like most individuals would in this situation, the slave starts to slowly become insane, keeping his sanity only by rapping verses that are heard throughout two of the interludes of freestyle rapping and static, and during these one minute snippets, an image pops into my head of this slave in a corner of the ship, curled into a ball, rapidly coming up with new verses just to not drive himself into a pit of insanity.
For an album, Clipping has incorporated a multitude of interludes in Splendor and Misery, but they are completely fitting into the story being portrayed throughout the tracks, but these definitely do not take away the light from the best tracks.
“True Believer,” is a narrative about three brothers that are gods creating the properties of the universe.
“Baby Don’t Sleep,” though truthfully I still don’t understand the entire concept of this track, but what I have inferred from the multiple listens, is that it has to deal with the fear of everything collapsing and finally hitting the breaking point of sanity.
Diggs repeats scarily, “baby don’t sleep, baby don’t sleep too much,” wanting this person to wake up, whether it is another person or himself trying to wake up the sane part of himself.
Overall, Clipping’s Splendor and Misery is dark, enigmatic, and an album that is definitely worth listening to.