Tlisted here are umpteen methods to advertise your forthcoming album, however the route taken by Danny Brown feels distinctive. This week, earlier than the discharge of his joint album with Jpegmafia, a fellow dweller on hip-hop’s left subject and self-styled spokesperson for “eccentric Black folks … who grew up within the initiatives however listen to Throbbing Gristle”, Brown invited his collaborator to hitch his set at Austin’s SXSW pageant after which introduced that he himself was getting into rehab: “Truthfully, my dumb ass is meant to have been gone, however I’m broke so I gotta do exhibits to take my ass in.” He additionally apologised to the viewers for having written “so many songs about doing medicine” – a class through which you could possibly presumably embrace Scaring the Hoes’ Fentanyl Tester and The place Ya Get Ya Coke From – and informed them to get pleasure from partying on the pageant, however added the caveat that, in the event that they did, “shit might get darkish”.
You could possibly have taken this as a joke: simply scan Scaring the Hoes’ tracklisting, the place you’ll discover songs known as Steppa Pig and Jack Harlow Combo Meal. But it surely didn’t sound like one – Brown additionally stated one thing related on his podcast – and it actually is sensible once you hearken to the album itself. There are many exceptionally humorous lyrics (the opening line, delivered by Jpegmafia, is impossibly profitable: “First, fuck off, Elon Musk”). But it surely’s arduous to get round the truth that it seems like music made by minds on the finish of their tether.
The closest comparisons for his or her sound aren’t the tracks the duo recorded for Brown’s 2019 album uknowhatimsayin however the extra out-there moments of Jpegmafia’s current oeuvre (2020’s Coated in Cash! or the earlier yr’s Jpegmafia Sort Beat) or, certainly, what may occur if somebody determined Jpegmafia’s extra out-there moments might do with amping up a bit of.
Each rappers are blessed with distinctive kinds – Brown’s voice is a nasal yowl that most likely precludes him ever getting into the mainstream – however it’s usually arduous to work out what they’re really saying, their rhymes combating to be heard above a hyperactive, distortion-caked maelstrom that leaves even the briefest observe feeling prefer it’s teeming with sound: vocals sped as much as helium chatter (together with at one juncture, the refrain of Kelis’s Milkshake); online game synthesisers, trebly and piercing; Japanese chants and feminine voices screaming “shut the fuck up”; huge brass fanfares that sound as in the event that they had been ripped from the soundtrack of an previous Hollywood epic; skronky free-blowing sax; the sound of DJs scratching and spinning again information; rudimentary guitar riffs warped to sludge.
The rhythms – amongst them a fierce drum’n’bass break on Fentanyl Tester – don’t a lot punch by means of the combination as obliterate all the pieces else. The second half of the album calms down a bit of, however such issues are relative: Kingdom Hearts Key by some means contrives to make a pattern of some recumbent, acoustic guitar-driven indie sound oddly overwhelming; God Loves You does one thing just like a euphoric gospel disco refrain, whereas on Jack Harlow Combo Meal, you’re lured in by the sound of mellow jazzy piano just for it to be all of the sudden marooned over beats that don’t fairly match rhythmically, including a sickly lurch.
The lyrics, when you can also make them out, really feel equally frantic: hyperactive splurges of bragging, intercourse rhymes, references to on-line tradition (cryptocurrency, cancellation, health influencers) and druggy overindulgence of the type acquainted from Brown’s again catalogue, through which intoxicants are seldom an help to partying, extra a method of nihilistic obliteration. “I’m weed whack, I’m a get up,” he says on Burfict!, as if the latter is an endeavour requiring appreciable effort.
The top result’s the dictionary definition of not for everyone – “how are we speculated to earn cash off this shit?” Jpegmafia protests on the title observe; “the place the autotune at?” complains Brown – however that however, it wields a wierd energy. You may suppose Scaring the Hoes can be greatest sampled in small doses, however that’s the bizarre factor about it. It’s music that you simply don’t hearken to a lot as enable your self to be overwhelmed by. When you do, it turns into curiously addictive, not least as a result of it’s extremely ingenious: you retain questioning what on earth the pair are going to throw at you subsequent. There’s a way through which it appears like a useless finish – you may’t think about them sustaining this type of depth for a follow-up, and maybe that’s simply as effectively, given Brown’s announcement about rehab and his frame of mind. However as a transmission from the outer limits – sensible however chaotic, humorous however disturbing – Scaring the Hoes is a confounding victory.
This week Alexis listened to
Let’s Eat Grandma – From the Morning
From a forthcoming Nick Drake tribute album, the conjunction of artist and music appears to be like bizarre on paper, however works completely, remodeling the unique’s battered optimism into stately synth melancholy.