Ok, I’m going to say this right now – SCARING THE HOES is my album of the year so far, and I would be very surprised if it wasn’t at #1 on my end-of-year list. JPEGMAFIA produced the entire album, and oh my god, this is one of the most experimental yet weirdly accessible albums that has come out in a very long time. From the wild samples, beat changes, weird vocal effects, and both artists spitting throughout. This is the first time we’ve heard from Danny Brown since 2019’s uknowhatimsayin¿, and it’s great to hear him so alive and killing it throughout the entire project. Every song has gone to my Loved playlist within the 3rd listen, and the more I listen to it, the more I’m drawn to the eclectic sound and impressive sonic experimentation, all done on the SP 404.
“Lean Beef Patty” kicks the album with this 2000s r&b sample, fast-paced Jungle-style drumming that breaks into the first proper beat change. The variety of sound makes it a phenomenal listen. JPEGMAFIA kicks off with the first of many pop culture references – “First off, fuck Elon Musk / Eight dollars too much, bitch, that’s expensive (True)”. His animated lyrics are just incredibly vivid, and the whole track brings the type of energy that just continues throughout the album. “Steppa Pig” starts with this incredible Danny Brown verse, over a colourful R&B and soul samples that interlock between bass-heavy drums that just dominate the sound and energy of the track, with Danny Brown’s witty and drug-referencing bars that are incredible over this crazy beat. “SCARING THE HOES” is probably the most experimental and ‘scary’ tracks on the album, with a wailing saxophone note, with clapping and JPEGMAFIA’s tough bars opening the track, before passing the mic to Danny, who moves into these bass-distorted live drum samples. It sounds like a rock song, with the pulsating bass and the saxophone notes that wail in the background. Danny Brown is hilarious on “Garbage Pale Kids”, with bars like “N***** don’t rap no more, they just sell clothes / So I should probably quit and start a line of bathrobes” and “Eat ya ass like I’m Canibus” (which by the way, before checking Genius just now thought it was cannabis, but the bar is pretty great now that I see it in writing). The fast-paced, electronic drum-n-bass of “Fentanyl Tester” is infectious, as JPEG also samples Kelis’ “Milkshake”. A great track. “Burfict!” samples these orchestral film-like notes that sound grandiose and emphatic. JPEG’s standout line, just because I like the reference, is “Choppas like NATO, that shit come in caseloads / Dogs cover they face, that bitch Mach-Hommy”. “Shut Yo Bitch Ass Up / Muddy Waters” has these massive power drums hitting, with eerie synths and punchy energy throughout. JPEGMAFIA goes on a referencing spree, including namedropping Tom Holland, Andy Kaufman, The Truman Show, Shia LaBeouf, Dr Dre, Eazy-E and goes on and on. Danny Brown steals the show on “Orange Juice Jones” however, with a Yeat-type flow, over a “Dear Michael” sample – “Ride that thing like a rodeo / Off that Casamigos, got her taco drippin’ on the floor / If them is your people, tell them chill before we up that pole / Off that Britney Spears, got me dancing like I lost control”. “Kingdom Hearts Key” has the only feature on the album, redveil, and is probably one of the best tracks on the album. The beat is emphatic, with a bell sample and a spacious, atmospheric sound, with redveil actually killing his verse, adding his character to it. “God Loves You” has this emphatic gospel sample, as well as a Ski Mask one, from his song “baby wipe.” “Run The Jewels” is another disorienting one, bursting to life with Danny Brown’s animated verse. “Jack Harlow Combo Meal” has these beautiful piano keys, before breaking into a drum n bass break and a bassline that carries the energy of the track, as Danny Brown spits triumphantly about his comeback rapping. He is going to go down as a legend, that is for sure. “HOE (Heaven on Earth)” is probably my favourite on the album, with these grandiose church organs, choirs and chords, that just sound perfect along with the beat that accompanies it. Danny’s verse is especially sad as he talks about felony charges within his family, how growing up in his environment has affected his mental health, in a powerful verse that captures the intensity of his artistry poignantly. The outro is gorgeous and might be my favourite moment on the album. Finally, “Where Ya Get Ya Coke From” has these emphatic drums that come in, but left naked but for some percussion for the first few verses, then builds in the end with Danny’s final verse, with him going off, with lines like “People saying that I’m shallow, but I’m jumping off the deep end / ‘Bout to flip the script, I ain’t even read the treatment / Like terms of services, they all in agreement / Used to work the block and I ain’t never filed a grievance.” The beat turns into western film soundtrack music Danny closes up with his animated voice for one last time. And that’s it, the whole album done in 37 minutes… and back to the start. No, but it really is an exceptional body of work.
I would even go as far as to say that SCARING THE HOES is a genre-defining body of work that will be used to set a standard for the future. JPEGMAFIA’s production is all-encompassing, genre and influence-wise, with disjointed, heavy and experimental soundscapes that make room for both him and Detroit legend Danny Brown just kill it on the vocals. Out of all recent collab albums in any genre of the last decade or so, this may be the one that stands on top of that mountain. Grand, hyper, disorienting but in the funniest way possible, JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown have created a masterpiece with SCARING THE HOES. Go listen to and support that shit!
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