Being teased for a full year before finally gracing our ears, JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown have teamed up and released Scaring the Hoes, an experimental Hip-Hop endeavor of the highest order. As soon as you turn this joint on, “Lean Beef Patty” hits your ears, and you’re not sure if you accidentally hit a button on your keyboard or something, but its uniqueness draws you in. I never thought I would find myself head-nodding along with glitch noises and the sound of tap fast forwarding, but here we are. JPEGMAFIA really deserves flowers for the production of this entire project. He managed to take obscure and almost faulty live sounds and pair them up with instruments and vocals in a way that is so appealing it’s sort of hard to put into words really. But that’s my job, so let me continue to attempt to do so.
The titular song of the album, “Scaring the Hoes” might be one of the greatest beats I’ve ever heard in my life on a fundamental level. At times throughout this project, it can be hard to understand what each emcee, and especially Danny Brown, is saying under the sounds of crackles and distortion and other cool effects, but at no point does it take away from any of the music. In fact, it just made me want to go back and listen to almost every single verse again, and with each song being very short, it’s a pleasant problem to have.
I feel like this type of music is the true direction that Hip-Hop was supposed to go in. It’s rooted in making something out of nothing, which is really how Hip-Hop was born. Although my role is to dissect the music itself, it must be noted that the aesthetics presented along with this album are everything. Videos and visualizers consisting of songs being transferred out of LimeWire windows, footage looking like it was filmed on a Razr flip-phone, this project was made for someone like me. At times, it also sounds like it was recorded directly into one of those old 8-channel mixers you could put CDs into back in the day, and I mean that in the best way possible.
There are other notable tracks that stood out to me, the first of which is “Fentanyl Tester’.’ The beat and sample are just incredible, the verses hit so well, and there are moments of purposeful distortion where the vocals get drowned out entirely. This is something JPEG plays with throughout every song and it just works so well for some reason. The biggest knock on Danny Brown is people like to say “If you’ve heard one verse, you’ve heard them all,” but I poo-poo at that notion. I don’t know if anyone gets me as turned as Danny when he’s locked in. The only feature on this album is a verse from Redveil on the song “Kingdom Hearts Key,” and it’s a great addition. I guess my least favorite song, if you’re forcing me to pick one, is “Orange Juice Jones,” but that’s subjective.
This is what music is supposed to be. It’s entirely unique, and to even call it experimental doesn’t quite do it justice. Yes, this stuff is different and unorthodox sonically, but it’s almost too skillful to even imply anyone was experimenting with it. If that makes any sense? And with the playtime clocking in at only 36 minutes long, I suggest throwing all of Scaring the Hoes in your rotation this summer.