As far as punk-rap / industrial hip-hop goes, Ho99o9’s impact over the last decade of so has to place them near the top of the essential and groundbreaking acts that have pushed the boundaries of what experimental hip-hop can sound like. The trio, consisting of theOGM, Eaddy and Brandon Pertzborn, have composed a meticulous, controlled and expressive body of work that showcases their ability to balance the raw, powerful, and abrasive with the subtle and melodic. It feels like they’ve been able to execute their vision to perfection on this body of work – it feels angry and unsettling, yet combines more melodic sounds inspired by contemporary hip-hop.
“NUGE SNIGHT” kicks the album off with distorted guitars, heavy drums and electrifying vocals that sound muffled behind the abrasive instrumentation. The incorporation of trap-inspired drums and techno music at the start of “BATTERY NOT INCLUDED” are great, before the track explodes with loud guitar riffs. Corey Taylor’s feature on “BITE MY FACE” is great, with the heaviness of the guitar riffs and intense drumming being broken in two by a synth melody that feels atmospheric and reflective. Their ability to create stark sonic distinctions between the heavy and abrasive and the more melodic and subtle makes this an unpredictable but incredibly enjoyable body of work. “SLO BREAD” featuring Bun B has this synth melody that permeates throughout the trap-influenced groove that drives the album forward. “DEVIL AT THE CROSSROADS” is another engaging and interesting track. The synth-led melody is combined by bass-heavy trap-influenced beat that is just so commanding throughout. “… SPEAK OF THE DEVIL” is another pummeling track that features some melodic singing over distorted guitar riffs that are just incredible throughout. “SKINHEAD” is another track with a relentless energy that sees the members scream over the heavy guitars, while switching tempo multiple times, and letting feature Saul Williams finish the track off with a beautiful spoken-word piece that leads the track into this serene, atmospheric soundscape that is just so beautiful and emotive. “THE WORLD, THE FLESH THE DEVIL”, “LIMITS” featuring Jasiah and “DEAD OR ASLEEP?” close the album out with heavy drum grooves that contrast the distorted, disorienting guitars and basslines that were prevalent throughout the album.
Their ability to balance both energies is truly beautiful, and with the help of some of the excellent features throughout, Ho99o9 have really exceeded expectations on their new studio album SKIN. The more I listen to the evolution of this group, the more convinced I am that they’ll reach new levels of greatness that I hope will be respected and appreciated by a wider audience. Go support Ho99o9’s extraordinary album SKIN (released via DTA Records) below and make sure to support!