By Evelyn Lopez
The debut collaborative album from JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown, Scaring the Hoes, was released on March 24, 2023, after a year of anticipation. The last project released by JPEGMAFIA was LP! in 2021, and for Danny Brown, it was uknowhatimsayin¿ in 2019. Honestly, fans of both of these rappers may have anticipated this collaborative project before JPEG’s Twitter hints. Both artists like to experiment in their music with industrial, techno and outré beats, which makes this collaboration feel right.
When you think of experimental hip-hop in the last decade, both of these rappers come to mind with their unique and distinctive voices and production. It is pretty hard to describe the sound of the album, but this 14-track project says a lot just in the title. In a podcast episode from “The Danny Brown Show,” Brown shares how the title name came from their shared bond of being chronically online.
“Scaring the Hoes” is fully produced by JPEG. The lead single and first track of the album, “Lean Beef Patty,” starts off with a sped-up sample of “I Need a Girl pt.2” by P. Diddy. JPEG sets heavy synth bass and glitch-like sound bites that drown out the catchy sample and allow both rappers to interlock their bold and comical verses. Personally, this album allowed me to have zero thoughts in my brain. The abundance of sounds and hypnotic drum patterns were very relieving for my end-of-semester existential crisis.
This album hit all of the right spots for me. Let’s talk about “Fentanyl Tester,” which is track 5. One of my favorites, easily. Aside from the hype and contagious shoulder bumping, this song encapsulates everything I want in a JPEGMAFIA x Danny Brown song. This song is freshly added to my “Baddie Vibes Only” playlist. When I listen to it, I just feel so lively, energetic and ready to do donuts in a random parking lot, and I have quite literally never had that feeling before. Their fast-paced verses and out-of-pocket pop-cultural references kept me on my toes. This is a theme in the album that really highlights how online and silly they are.
We get lines from JPEG like “I wanna rock right now/ Hittin’ whippets and eating halal/ Get to clippin’ while whippin’ these sounds/ You get hit, you gon’ sing like Bilal, uh”, with Brown’s verse following with the lines, “Let me tell you what I’m gon’ do/ Tell no lies, just tell your truth/ I’m a big dog like Marmaduke.” The best part about this song is that it’s mixed with a sample that you won’t register until the outro. The hot girl classic track “Milkshake” by Kelis was reworked into what reminds me of a Jersey Club mix. A sassy, feel-good song that just works with their personalities.
Personally, I love the album and am a bit biased. The majority of the album has a lot of replay value for me. Without a familiar ear to experimental hip-hop and both artists’ discographies, it is understandable that this album can be hard to digest. There is just so much going on, and it is hard to unpack it all. If you have not given it a listen but it sounds like something that fits your groove, I highly recommend it. Lastly, if you do listen and you really like it, then be excited for the two other albums that JPEG says will be released this year as well, hinting at another volume of their collaboration and more solo work soon.
Featured Image from AWAL label
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