JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown are enigmas. Both are unrelenting forces, constantly innovating and progressing their sounds since the early 2010s. They exist just enough outside the scope of mainstream hip-hop to remain purely themselves and influence the underground while retaining the ability to catch the eyes of genre legends (Danny Brown’s last album was produced by none other than Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest). On paper, a collaborative effort between the two is a match made in heaven.
This resulting album, titled “SCARING THE HOES,” is produced entirely by JPEGMAFIA himself. Initially, this raised a slight amount of concern. On one hand, Peggy is an incredibly talented producer. On the other, his production often runs the risk of being too random for its own good. This was especially the case on his previous 2021 album, “LP!” Thankfully, on “SCARING THE HOES,” my worries were unfounded. The production, although chaotic and abrasive, is well put together and surprisingly cohesive across the track list.
Opening track “Lean Beef Patty” immediately throws listeners into the deep end with glitchy vocal chops, heavily distorted drums and JPEGMAFIA eloquently beginning his first verse with “First off, f—k Elon Musk.” Other lyrical references to celebrities and WWE wrestlers to be discovered include, but are not limited to, Kyle Rittenhouse, Papa John, Hulk Hogan, Tony Khan and Iron Sheik.
The following track, “Steppa Pig,” continues this sensory overload with psychedelic sound effects and vocal chops. Danny Brown also spits a lyrical highlight: “Had two plugs, one just died,” referencing Trugoy the Dove of legendary rap group De La Soul, who tragically passed away in February.
The title track acts as a manifesto for not only this album, but for Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA’s careers as a whole. Over a wailing saxophone, Peggy hilariously raps, “Play somethin’ for the b—hes / How the f—k we supposed to make money off this s—t?” It’s also one of the only songs on the project with anything resembling a hook, and it’s a catchy one too.
The string of highlights continues with “Burfict!” where triumphant horns take prominence in the trap-inspired instrumental. The beat reaches a superb climax at the start of JPEGMAFIA’s verse, sounding like a WWE entrance and the commencement of a medieval tournament all in one.
“Orange Juice Jones” represents a (very) slight but welcome break from the complete insanity of the album up to this point. With a smooth Michael Jackson sample, relatively straightforward drums and another rare chorus, it’s a song you might actually be able to show to other people who would otherwise be turned away from other cuts such as “Lean Beef Patty.”
The heavenly vocal sample and trap drums that make up the backbone of “Kingdom Hearts Key” combine for another standout beat. Meanwhile, the unconventional pairing of a laid-back cool jazz sample with jungle percussion that drifts in and out of the mix in “Jack Harlow Combo Meal” is pulled off surprisingly well.
The only time this album loses momentum is on the final two tracks, “HOE (Heaven on Earth)” and “Where Ya Get Ya Coke From?” The former’s overlong gospel sample at the end tanks the already dwindling energy of the song. Then, the closing track’s relatively minimal beat that backs Peggy and Danny Brown’s verses fails to revive, leading to a slightly disappointing finish.
Overall, “SCARING THE HOES” marks a successful collaboration. Danny Brown’s signature high-pitched delivery is well at home among JPEGMAFIA’s chaotic and varied production. Both deliver quality verses and complement each other’s respective styles. If you’re looking for emotion or substance, this album is a barren desert. However, if you’re looking for something creative and fun, “SCARING THE HOES” will be sure to satisfy.
Dope album, dope review!