Why Death Grips’ Exmilitary Is Not On Spotify?

Death Grips burst onto the experimental hip-hop scene in 2011 with their mixtape Exmilitary. The intense, abrasive sound of Exmilitary took listeners by storm and garnered significant critical acclaim.

However, while much of Death Grips’ discography is available on major streaming platforms like Spotify, their debut mixtape is notably absent. So Why Death Grips’ Exmilitary Is Not On Spotify?

Why Death Grips’ Exmilitary Is Not On Spotify?

There are a few key reasons for “Death Grips’ Exmilitary Is Not On Spotify“:

1. Licensing Issues With Samples

A major factor is that Exmilitary makes extensive use of audio samples from other artists and sources. Death Grips did not clear the rights to these samples when they originally released the mixtape for free online. Some specific samples that may cause licensing conflicts include:

  • Dialogue clips from films like Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain
  • Vocals from Charles Manson’s recordings
  • Audio from the Black Flag song “Damaged I”
  • Samples from songs by artists like Tom Waits and Ozzy Osbourne

Without the appropriate licenses negotiated, these uncleared samples prevent the mixtape from being distributed commercially on streaming platforms. This is a common issue for many mixtapes initially released for free online without considering wider distribution.

Death Grips Exmilitary on spotify

2. The DIY Ethos of Exmilitary

There is also a case to be made that the absence of Exmilitary from major streaming services aligns with the indie ethos under which the mixtape was created and released. Death Grips has maintained a heavily DIY approach during their whole career. Exmilitary was given away for free on their website, distributed without any label involvement.

The raw, unpolished nature of the mixtape reflected its non-commercial origins. Putting Exmilitary up on Spotify or Apple Music might not feel true to those original intentions. While Death Grips eventually signed to Epic Records, their early material remains closely tied to the uncompromising underground sound they cultivated independently.

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3. Potential Restrictions From Third Party Distributors

While Death Grips oversees their own master recordings, distribution of their music has been handled by various record labels over the years. When Exmilitary was first released, it was not picked up by any official distributor.

Later material by Death Grips has been distributed via labels like Epic and Harvest/Third Worlds. It is possible these distributors prefer not to make Exmilitary available on streaming services as it was not originally released under their partnership with the band. The scattered nature of Death Grips’ distribution deals may complicate clearing their early work for streaming.

Potential Restrictions From Third Party Distributors

4. Maintaining Exclusivity and Mystery

Fans have also speculated that restricting Exmilitary from major streaming platforms helps maintain the mixtape’s allure of exclusivity. Death Grips have intentionally cultivated an air of mystery around their music and image. You can only get Exmilitary directly from the band, whether originally as a free download or now as a vinyl release.

Avoiding wider streaming distribution preserves the sense that Exmilitary is difficult to access and not just another streamable album. For a band as enigmatic as Death Grips, their debut material may benefit from this aura of uncompromising uniqueness.

5. Looking to the Future

There is still hope that Exmilitary could eventually make its way to Spotify. As Death Grips have progressed in their career, they have negotiated more traditional label and distribution deals. This has allowed their subsequent releases to appear steadily on major streaming platforms.

Now that they have established more industry leverage, Death Grips could potentially work on clearing the samples and rights issues that have kept their debut off-streaming.

For now, Exmilitary remains an outlier in Death Grips’ catalog. While not as widely accessible, its absence from Spotify in many ways adds to its uncompromising mystique for diehard fans. The raw, visceral blast of noise that started it all for Death Grips is still a challenging listen requiring more than just casually pressing play.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of album is Exmilitary?

Exmilitary is the debut mixtape by the experimental hip-hop group Death Grips. It was released for free online in 2011, helping establish Death Grips’ abrasive, unique sound.

Where can you listen to Exmilitary?

Exmilitary is not available on most major streaming platforms. Currently, you can only acquire it as a vinyl release or digital download from Death Grips and other unofficial sources online.

What labels have Death Grips released music with?

Early on they were fully independent, but Death Grips has since partnered with Epic Records and Harvest/Third Worlds for distribution and marketing support while retaining creative control.

Does Death Grips own the rights to Exmilitary?

Death Grips oversees their own master recordings. But uncleared samples on Exmilitary likely complicate licensing it for commercial streaming distribution.

Will Exmilitary ever be released on Spotify?

Potentially, but it would require Death Grips to clear up licensing issues. As an early mixtape, they did not originally plan a wide commercial release.


Death Grips’ Exmilitary represents a pivotal debut that ushered in their revolutionary experimental sound. However, as an uncompromising mixtape initially released online for free, it has key differences from the band’s later albums distributed via record labels.

Between uncleared samples, maintaining its indie ethos, and questions around rights, several factors explain why this influential project is not yet available on Spotify. Still, there is hope that Death Grips and their distribution partners could someday work to bring their explosive opening statement to major streaming services.

For now, its absence only adds to the enigmatic allure of Exmilitary for dedicated fans compelled to seek it out through less accessible channels. Though not always easy to find, this raw, visceral blast of chaotic noise still stands as a riveting time capsule back to Death Grips’ breakthrough beginnings.

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