MC Ride performing with Death Grips in 2012.
|Stefan Corbin Burnett|
|Origin||Sacramento, California, U.S.|
Stefan Corbin Burnett, better known by his stage name MC Ride, is an American rapper and visual artist. Burnett is best known as the front-man of Sacramento-based experimental hip hop group Death Grips. Burnett is credited for his dismal, cryptic and vulgar lyrics and aggressive rapping style.
Burnett had studied visual art at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia before his music career. After dropping out, he performed under the alias MxlPlx and formed a hip hop group called Fyre with his brother, under the moniker Swank Daddy, and another Sacramento-based rapper, Young G. The project came to an end after his brother married and was unable to continue with the group. During this time, MC Ride worked at a pizza restaurant in Sacramento, California, and pursued a career as a painter.
In 2010, Burnett formed Death Grips with his then neighbor Zach Hill, who was known for his drumming work with his band Hella, as well as his session work. Hill soon brought Andy Morin, a friend and producer into the group, and they began working together. In March 2011, Death Grips released their self-titled debut EP. One month later, they released the mixtape Exmilitary, which received critical acclaim and attention from music publications. The group signed to Epic Records in 2012, and released their debut album, The Money Store the same year.
In 2012, the group leaked its second album, No Love Deep Web, due to Epic Records' hesitance to release it until 2013 (which caused them to be dropped from Epic Records soon after). The group subsequently released a third album, titled Government Plates in 2013. Niggas on the Moon, the first disc of their fourth album, The Powers That B, was released in 2014, with each track including featured vocal samples of Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. On July 2, 2014, Death Grips announced its disbandment on Facebook, stating that "Death Grips is over." This was followed up with the band's Twitter page posting a photo of the announcement of the break-up drawn on a napkin. The group reemerged in 2015, with the release of an instrumental soundtrack, Fashion Week, on January 4. This was later followed up with the release of Jenny Death, the second disc of The Powers That B on March 19, 2015. Another instrumental project, Interview 2016 was released on March 22, 2016. They released their fifth studio album Bottomless Pit in May 2016, their first full-length release that included vocals from Burnett since their alleged disbandment.
Death Grips' next release, the EP Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix), a 22-minute mix of eight songs, was released by Death Grips on May 22, 2017. The band announced their sixth studio album Year of the Snitch on March 22, 2018. That album was released exactly three months later, on June 22.
MC Ride's vocal delivery was described as "an even more visceral and poetic form of rapping" and was compared to "a blend of hardcore punk and spoken word performance." His style was also described as "paint-peeling barks and startling yelps." On his review for Death Grips' Exmilitary, Nate Patrin commented on MC Ride's vocals: "Monolithic and harsh, his voice sounds powerful doubling up the beats to the point where it doesn't even seem like a problem when it's halfway buried in the mix." Evan Rytelewski of The A.V. Club described his voice as "another instrument of abrasion as he hollers in a voice so tattered and blown-out it must physically pain him," while reviewing The Money Store.
MC Ride's lyrics are described as "chants and rants, rhythmic elements that are barely intelligible--though full of bleak, deranged or drugged-out thoughts." MC Ride's lyrics engage with various topics, including sex, recreational drug use, addiction, occultism, economic collapse, insanity, suicide, paranoia and techno-futurism. John Calvert of The Quietus wrote: "Death Grips embroils MC Ride's consciousness in a schematised Braque-esque maze, a gloaming constellation, a synaptic thing." Chase Woodruff of Slant Magazine argued that MC Ride's lyrics "hint at a contemporary, vaguely political edge to all his rage and alienation." Similarly James Ubaghs of The Quietus wrote: "MC Ride's paranoid, politically-charged ravings might not present any sort of solution to the world's myriad ills, but he is at the least paying close attention to how fucked things really are, and that's more than you can say for a lot of his contemporaries."
In spite of his intense stage presence, MC Ride is described as "reclusive" and "super private" by his bandmate Zach Hill and is seen as quiet and introverted in interviews. In a Pitchfork interview, he stated although he has favorite musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, he is more inspired by himself and his internal struggles rather than human achievements.