Danny Brown & JPEGMAFIA Drag Discipline Through the Mud on “SCARING THE HOES”
This article was originally published on Respect My Region
Earlier this year, hip-hop’s two most notorious agitators saw it fit to double down on the mayhem they bring to the creative space and build a monster together. For those who champion disturbance, the news of Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA joining forces was a grand-slam victory. The singles that preceded their full-length collaborative release stirred up a ruckus all on their own, and the job was finished before the album even dropped!
Every few years, a class of musicians flips the whole scene upside down. The punk approach was among the few such examples that grew into a culture, and despite quickly fizzling out of the commercial space, it still makes sporadic appearances through other practices. Hip-Hop, being the genre that currently reigns supreme in popular music, is arguably its most favorable host. The tradition of rap, mechanized beats and bottomless sample-mining offers to the spirit of punk a body that allows it a reach farther than most other crafts. In fusing these formidable entities of anti-music, Brown and JPEGMAFIA demand that we join them in observing art from different angles. With this in mind, SCARING THE HOES immediately stands out as one of the most innovative records of the modern era.
It’s tough to put into words how the album sounds, but one thing is for certain: it makes sense. It makes sense the same way Madlib and MF DOOM couldn’t exist in the same universe and not make Madvillany. With Brown and JPEGMAFIA, however, the product isn’t as easy to enjoy at first. Because it is so unorthodox, unlearning the “rules” and lowering your guard is a prerequisite to giving it a listen.
SCARING THE HOES is nowhere near the most experimental or audacious body of work in hip-hop, but it is among the most digestible of the lot. The ability to create a mess so deliberate and purposeful that others want to wallow in it is a noteworthy feat. While the album is outrageous and feral and everything you won’t throw on in the club, there’s a primitive rawness to it that necessitates physical engagement. Each cut sparks the confidence to move unashamedly with no regard for elegance — an irregular rhythm that your body subconsciously steers.
Frenzied from head to toe, this violent collision shatters into a 14-piece tracklist that showcases the artistic benefits of entropy. As a producer, JPEGMAFIA has mastered auditory wreckage, and letting Brown loose over his mutating digital pulse is indeed bizarrely spectacular. The enormity of this menacing merger is therefore impossible to turn away from.
Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA’s debut collaboration reminds us that the essence of hip-hop and punk is in-your-face disobedience. Aggressively confrontational, the pair simply refuses to behave. With a presence so conspicuous, their work will surely prompt others to let the devil out from within, which is always a win for music.