After returning from his monumental year on broadway with Hamilton, Daveed Diggs, along with Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, have revitalized clipping., their glitchy and grotesque version of hip-hop. Following their Wriggle EP from earlier this year, Splendor & Misery seems to take notes from Diggs’ time on broadway, expanding the album into a space opera. The audio narrative of a slave uprising on an intergalactic ship provides an eerie backdrop for the soft hums and echoing vibrations that resemble ships humming. Diggs furiously weaves together technical rap along with aggressive choruses. But the album dips its toes into afrofuturism with hymns and interpolations of actual slave songs from the 1860’s, giving these somewhat hyperbolic ideas a very grounded and emotional rhythm. On the surface, the abrasive nature of the album can prove to be an overwhelming bombardment of the senses, but the album expands, the subtle scenes within each song provide a story and atmospheric labyrinths for the listener to isolate themselves in. And if Splendor & Misery can highlight one thing, it’s the haunting harmony within that comes with being isolated for so long.

-Tucker Pennington