Danny Brown likes to inform the story of how he nearly signed with G-Unit. In 2010, across the time of The Hybrid’s breakthrough, the Detroit rapper was palling round with Tony Yayo, workshopping a joint mission. 50 Cent appreciated what he heard, however couldn’t brook the considered a labelmate who dressed like an emo rocker. Brown’s rhymes have been laborious, however alas, his denims have been slim—he was on his personal. By 2015, after all, 50’s pants have been tighter than a drumhead. As G-Unit retreated into the nostalgia circuit, Brown’s blog-era technical showcases gave technique to mosh-pit delirium and queasy, kaleidoscopic confessionals, every installment presaging a brand new avant-garde.
JPEGMAFIA, a genre-straddling iconoclast himself, shares Brown’s pharmaceutical appetites and distaste for culture-industry dross. A veteran of the U.S. Air Drive and Baltimore punk golf equipment, he’s cultivated a comparably broad viewers by contrasting frenetic glitch-hop with meme-fluent snark. Their collaborative full-length, Scaring the Hoes, produced solely by JPEG, is a automobile for the duo’s irreverent humor and power that captures a pair of spitballing pranksters who nonetheless keep good GPAs.
In colloquial parlance, “you’re scaring the hoes” is a request to ease up on the sanctimony. It’s a rejoinder for when Canibus stacks five-syllable adverbs on prime of each other, for when Widespread cosplays as a misplaced Final Poet. The album title is a winking admission: Brown and JPEG are hardly traditionalists, but their depth and devotion to mechanics make them impervious to informal playlisting. On the title monitor, JPEG assumes the angle of a vexed A&R, rapping over a dissonant sax instrumental: “Play one thing for the bitches/How the fuck you s’posed to earn cash off this shit?” He wrangles warped samples into thundering drum patterns on “Lean Beef Patty” and “Steppa Pig,” garnishing the bass kicks with screaming synths. The instrumentation lends the preparations an industrial high quality, however the lurching verse constructions are hypnotic.
Brown meets JPEG’s tempos with alacrity, flashing a singsong circulate on “Orange Juice Jones” and mirroring the jittery horn fanfare of “Burfict!” The brief bursts don’t present area for Brown to stretch his limbs, but he stays a virtuoso in miniature: on “HOE (Heaven on Earth),” his determined narrator reaches out to a therapist, watching forlornly as their iMessage thread turns from blue to inexperienced. JPEG’s decrease vocal register rings clear, however the combine doesn’t do Brown many favors. On “Fentanyl Tester,” his verses are slathered in unflattering reverb, and the “Milkshake” flip obscures his couplets. Brown’s erratic approach is riveting as ever, however his reedy voice requires delicacy; on JPEG’s louder productions, the rappers sound like they’re on reverse ends of a shaky long-distance connection.
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