Album Review: JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown – ‘Scaring the Hoes’

Posted: by The Editor

Danny Brown stonks going crazy right now. This is music for those of us blessed/cursed with ADHD. An [atrocity] exhibition in esotericism, raunchiness, conviviality, and enmity, Scaring The Hoes, the new joint joint from JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown, blends three songs together per track, layering beats, vocals, background samples, random sounds in such a manner that under normal circumstances, with normal artists, could not succeed. Yet, here we are. This album is a fucking masterpiece. 

Dropped as the lead-up to the album, “Lean Beef Patty”’s hyper-chipmunk background vocal track signals the intentions of this project: experimental and bold. Laced under bombastic synthesizing, JPEGMAFIA’s first verse is a lyrical broadside (“first off fuck Elon Musk / eight dollars too much, bitch that’s expensive”) backstopped by Danny Brown’s caustic flow. “Steppa Pig” balances expansive production with minimalist background tracks, leading perfectly into “Scaring the Hoes,” a loud, cacophonous song with a questionable baseline that truly makes use of the talents of both incredible artists. 

“Fentanyl Tester” is a whirlwind trip with an addicting, sickly sweet beat that features perhaps my favorite line of the entire album (Brown’s “I’ma big dog like Marmaduke”). “Burfict!,” despite ostensibly being named after the controversial football player Vontez Burfict, is actually my favorite track on this album: despite the experimental nature of the rest of the album, the song retains a significant amount of classic rap influence, charged through with contemporary influence and laced with JPEGMAFIA’s signature production style. 

“Shut Yo Bitch Ass Up / Muddy Waters” slides from a boistrous Danny bash into a seemingly-melancholic melody that ‘PEG rips up with some inspirited lines: “Uh, it’s Black AOC, no matter what they try to say they can’t K.O. me/ Yo’ bitch got me off the molly and them BZDs/She said, “Baby, just let me ride,” like D-R-E.” “Orange Juice Jones” is a viral melody with incisive cutting bars. The album continues with “Kingdom Hearts Key,” which possesses a more complex beat than the famously-convoluted plot of the eponymous video game series. On “God Loves You” Brown masterfully deploys religious references: “We like Adam and Eve, but I’ma eat that apple bottom”; “That pussy on my face, I’ma talk in tongues”; “her with my dick like David and Goliath.” While the lyrics robbed from the fast-paced choral beat with its addicting loops may seem silly, arranged meticulously by JPEGMAFIA, the song absolutely goes. 

“Jack Harlow Combo Meal” and “HOE (Heaven on Earth),” alongside entering the conversation for “best song title of 2023,” signal the climax of the record, the drum-backed coffee jazz of “Combo Meal” transitioning brilliantly into the organ-laced “HOE,” the manifesto of the double-bladed duo: “Think I need therapy, sent God a text but his message turn green/ Show me a sign, what do it mean?” to “Heaven on earth but I’m hellbound.” “Where Ya Get Your Coke From?” finishes the album with a stripped-back production, scaled down, almost out of respect for the intense album it follows. While some of the songs may take once or twice to get the full experience of (or hear Brown’s verse whatsoever), Scaring he Hoes is a fantastic album as such, and perhaps a blueprint for a new evolution in a genre that has seen some stagnation in recent years.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great Phenomenal

Scaring the Hoes is out now.

Hanson Egerland | @pseudodiscourse

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