Long-teased collaboration album SCARING THE HOES is finally here, sending insufferable, chronically online music nerds into a state of near-frenzy. As an insufferable music nerd myself, I have found my love of the discography of both JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown to not necessarily be shared by those I attempt to evangelise into the fandom: my efforts up to this point have almost always met with some variation on “turn this shit off”. Their new album, much to my disappointment, is probably not going to change this track record.

“Brown's guttural, nasal delivery makes him sound like a particularly squeaky door hinge”

Despite the wealth of critical acclaim they have earned over the years, the popular response to the two artists’ music is somewhat unsurprising. For one, Brown's guttural, nasal delivery makes him sound like a particularly squeaky door hinge. JPEG doesn’t fare much better in the ‘can-I-play-this-at-a-party’ department either, with a catalogue of abrasive, violent rap music wrought out of a production style mimicking a broken radio switching between static and a man broadcasting his own mental breakdown. Naming the album SCARING THE HOES therefore represents a certain level of self-awareness about how divisive and odd their music can be.

However, even for artists happy to make music you wouldn’t exactly find being played in Morrisons, this new project makes few attempts to hold back on experimentation. SCARING THE HOES leans into being almost unlistenable, an experience that demands every ounce of attention, with glaring, distorted production rattling between ad libs, samples, breakdowns, beat switches and electric rapping from both artists. A constant wall of fractured noise blending elements of gospel, industrial rap, pop, rock, and R&B, the album sounds like nothing else in contemporary hip-hop.

“With a strangely fluid flow despite the constant ricocheting of sound”

Somehow it works, with a strangely fluid flow despite the constant ricocheting of sound. The brokenness of the production paradoxically contributes to this fluidity; developing a kind of amorphous, alien sentience, tracks grow, stretch and pulsate. Peggy electrifies the album into life with his production, layering sounds, samples, melodies and raps with the same precision and expression as a master musician wielding an instrument. This is made even more impressive given that album is produced entirely by JPEGMAFIA alone, strictly on a 20-year old, discontinued Roland SP-404 sampler (because of course it is), managing to create an incredibly modern, difficult, and distorted sound out of a relic of hip-hop history.

Peggy’s ear for samples is eclectic as ever, with a wide array of sounds derived from snippets of 2000s pop, WWE, Japanese fast food commercials, vintage console noises, even P. Diddy. One particular highlight of his sampling comes in the track “Fentanyl Tester”, in which the sudden explosion into choruses of Kelis’s “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” provides an oddly satisfying release from a choppy, abrasive build-up reminiscent of a Fred Again.. set.

Conversely, an experience I’d rather forget came in the form of my 4th or 5th listen of title track “SCARING THE HOES”, when I realised that the song I had been thoroughly enjoying in all previous listens did not in fact use the sound of someone clapping their hands as its beat. As much as I can almost respect the sheer audacity, constructing an entire song out of the noise of ‘clapping’ did make me feel somewhat nauseous.


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The lyrical content of the album is equally as audacious. The excellent, gospel-inspired “God Loves You makes itself instantly recognisable as a Danny Brown song with the lines “If you on your period, call me Moses /’Cause I’m about to split that Red Sea”. Delivery throughout the album is also consistently superb.

You can almost hear the spittle hitting the microphone on the venomous “Burfict!, a song that could probably be used to wake someone up from a coma. It is hard to find fault with the record, with my only qualm being the lack of development of some of the later songs into longer tracks; “Run The Jewels” particularly begs for longer than its allocated 65 seconds.

All in all, SCARING THE HOES is experimentation at its finest; a compelling, noisy, and brilliantly offensive work of genius. Either that, or the culmination of a decade-long campaign by the music industry to prove that gullible music nerds will intellectualise anything. I’m airing on the side of genius, possibly for my own sake.