Death Grips Leak New Album: Marketing Ploy or Middle Finger?

Death Grips 2012 L
Jonny Magowan

It appears the Sacramento punk-rap outfit is going up against label Epic Records. At issue: racy cover art and unexplained delays.

Sacramento punk-rap outfit Death Grips pulled a wild move on Monday, leaking its own album, No Love Deep Web, on its website allegedly without its label's consent or even a prior preview.

According to the band's Twitter account, Epic Records then shut down Death Grips' website in an attempt to prevent further spreading of the album, although the label soon denied the accusation and the website is back online.

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Death Grips' reasoning behind taking such dramatic action? The band claims the label would not set a date for the album's release and that the cover art of an erect penis with the title written was deemed too graphic. Meanwhile, skeptics have suggested this might be a marketing ploy considering Death Grips' past praise of its relationship with Epic and the label's chairman and CEO L.A. Reid (who's also a judge on The X Factor). 

The band is staying away from the press right now, and its management isn't talking either, but a source in Death Grips' camp confirmed with tempered certainty that "it's not a ploy."

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In February, when the group signed a major label deal, it left some fans concerned that their beloved hardcore noise-rappers might be selling out. Since then, Death Grips have played Coachella and released a well-received album, The Money Store, immediately following the appearance. But two weeks later, Death Grips cancelled all touring plans to work on their next project: the now-derailed No Love Deep Web.

Today, the band announced new tour dates in Europe, America and Australia starting at the end of October. They also tweeted that additional dates are forthcoming.

In other Death Grips news, the band was named the most legally-downloaded act on the file-sharing site BitTorrent in the first half of 2012, according to Billboard. Now with the digital self-release of No Love Deep Web, the band, under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license, is also allowing remixing and sharing. This is the same license the band placed on its 2011 Exmilitary mixtape but not on the Epic-released The Money Store.

Twitter: @THRMusic