- Sean Golubitsky
SCARING THE HOES | Album Review
Review of JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown's album SCARING THE HOES | Sean Golubitsky
My brother in Christ, you are scaring the hoes. What is it that is scaring the hoes? Well, it
is a new collaboration between experimental hip-hop artists JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown entitled SCARING THE HOES. Both Mr. Mafia and Mr. Brown have been known for
their eccentric sounds that dips their toes in many genres other than hip-hop, with albums jumping from tracks of classic bangers, to more electronic noises, abrasive rock, and just about any other genre you can imagine. If you can think of it, Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA have at some point in their storied careers dabbled in the genre. The album was produced entirely by JPEGMAFIA, while the rapping performances were done by both Peggy and Brown. One interesting takeaway I had from listening to Danny Brown’s podcast with JPEGMAFIA was that when Danny Brown was sober they made 7 songs in a day, while when he was using substances the process was a lot slower. This is definitely important to the album as many of the bars relate back to substance abuse and Danny Brown’s self-awareness about his self-destructive behaviors.
The announcement of this collab album has riled up the loyal fanbases of the respective
artists. One thing this album really leans into is the meme culture that both of these fanbases
have constructed and the artists have cultivated over the years. Many of the songs are
references to internet culture, specifically the feelings and vibes you might get while scrolling through TikTok. Looking at the track list, you have great songs like "Lean Beef Patty," "Steppa Pig," the titular song on the album SCARING THE HOES, and "Jack Harlow Combo Meal." All of these tracks reference trends that have come and gone in recent years. That is not to say that comedy and memes is all the album has to offer, as the album touches on a lot of issues that have been touched on in other projects, like Danny Brown and his history of substance issues as a form of escapism from anxiety and depression. JPEGMAFIA also covers social issues he has discussed before, like the dilemma of being an influential rapper who talks a big game but not wanting to write yourself into a corner and make up bars that could delegitimize yourself to the community. With all of that said, let's get into the track reviews.
The famous TikToker known for her impressive physique, Lean Beef Patty, is a woman
who posts fitness videos and the track named after her is an upbeat banger filled with bars
alluding to trending topics like professional wrestling, with JPEG dropping bars about Tony
Khan (the owner of All Elite Wrestling), Hulk Hogan, and The Iron Sheik. The track also alludes
to some more controversial figures in the news like Kyle Rittenhouse, Elon Musk, and Papa John, who was famously pushed away from the spotlight in his company for his use of racial slurs. This track is a great album opener and definitely a hype song to listen to during your next workout so you can hopefully achieve the sculpted physique of Lean Beef Patty.
The next track, "Steppa Pig," slows things down a bit and ironically contrasts the innocent
namesake of the song, Peppa Pig, by being one of the more raunchy and adult-themed songs on the album. With allusions to Twitch streamers banned for taking edibles, uncircumcised penises with c** socks, and BBCs. That's not to say that this is all this track has to say as they drop bar after bar over this silky sweet instrumental track that just brings the entire thing together. My favorite bars on this track have to be, “These n***** be d***ridin' for grown-a** men, That don’t even know them,” and Peggy’s reference to incels and Frozen, “They don’t even come outside, Don't ever see mans late night like Conan, They off that 2chan high, Incels just can't let it go like Frozen.”
The third track on the album is the titular song, "SCARING THE HOES," and, just like it
says in the title, playing this song in front of a group of people will definitely scare the hoes. It
starts with this slapping sound that serves as the beat of the track that echoes throughout the song. As Peggy starts dropping bars, you also hear what sounds like Squidward’s awkward clarinet solo. MAFIA and Brown drop bars about how you’re playing music that is scaring the hoes and how they'll want their aux cord back. This is referencing a common meme in their collective fan bases that the two artists make music that “scares the hoes” and that if you listen to either of these artists or play their music for a group of people you’re probably never going to be given the aux cord again. The track gains more and more instrumentals as the song goes on, the clarinet and echoey claps taking a background role instead of being the focal point, but as the song winds down and Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA drop their last bars, the squeaky clarinet and echoey claps take the front seat once again as the song fades out.
"Garbage Pale Kids" starts off with two samples taken from Japanese commercials from the
80s. These two samples serve as the background instrumentals which fuel the track. You hear great bars like, “N***** don’t rap anymore, they just sell clothes”, which comments on the
industry and how a lot of being a successful rapper isn’t even about rapping. The music only
serves as a vehicle to push your merch or clothing line or whatever project they’re currently
working on. These more serious bars are cut up with comedic lines like, “Eat ya a** like I’m
Canibus.” One great thing that they do on this track is they break up Danny Brown’s verse with these sweet guitar licks before JPEGMAFIA jumps on the track and hits us with bars like, “Servin' these n***** like I’m Paula Dean, Plug walk I don’t cook but I eat, Hook shot, b**** I think I’m Kareem.” This track is great and both artists really shine in their verses.
"Fentanyl Tester" is another great track on the album with classic lines like, "I wanna rock
right now, Hittin' whippets and eating halal.” There is an interesting sample from the song
"Milkshake" by Kelis that they remix and turn into a total vibe. Once again, this is a very solid track with Danny and Peggy giving it their all.
"Burfict!" is a track I don’t have much to say about. There are these triumphant horns with
thudding bases and drums playing and, once again, the vocal performances by Brown and Peggy are amazing, but there wasn't much content there. This isn’t even a bad thing because not every song needs to have all these layers as long as it's a banger and goes hard, which this song definitely accomplished.
"Shut Yo Bitch Ass Up / Muddy Waters" is a great track with lyrics that get a bit more heavy on Danny Brown’s end when he says, “I just hit the bottle to drown out the chatter, All these voices in my head had my brain all scattered. How I got more ill, when I stop poppin' them pills, Now I’m slangin' propane like I’m King of the Hill.” Witty double entendres as well as an allusion to one of the consistent themes throughout Brown's career, his struggles with substance abuse, show that Danny Brown is not just this loud man with a funny voice, but is a much more complex individual with a lot more to offer at this point in his career. JPEGMAFIA also has his own bars on this track with lines like, “These drug addicts attached to me like I’m Tom Holland, Swing on these actors, these rappers faker than Andy Kaufman,” and, “I made real f*****' Gs like Eazy-E.” Great stuff, great track. This album is great and you should give it a listen.
"Orange Juice Jones" starts off with a sample from the song “Dear Michael” by Michael
Jackson and uses the sample throughout the track. Danny Brown continues to drop some serious bars about substance abuse with line like, “I can’t feel my face off these narcotics, I took her to space on autopilot,” and Peggy jumps in with his own bars, “You ain’t the same as us, I’m of them BZDs, They puttin' out APBs.” This song has such a sweet smooth sound to it almost like you’re floating on air. Contrasting the feel of the vibe with the lyrics about being so high off whatever drugs they’re currently on shows the two sides of addiction. The euphoric, holy-like high which is displayed here, followed by the deep, dark lows that both artists mention at other points on the record.
"Kingdom Hearts Key (feat. redveil)" is once again another great track (you should listen to this album right now) with lines like, “Shut up dribble, go get me a ring” being repeated over and over as an allusion to conservative news reporters that told LeBron to shut up and dribble when he started commenting on social issues. This points out the hypocrisy that people expect athletes and public figures that kids look up to to speak out on certain issues, but when those figures actually speak out and say something someone doesn’t like, they’re no longer important voices in the conversation. They’re just reduced to the most basic thing they’re known for like dribbling, rapping, singing, acting, etc. JPEGMAFIA has a history of taking things said by conservative pundits and turning them into lyrics, samples, etc. and it's just as good here as it was in his past projects. The artist redveil also has a solid feature at the end of the track.
"God Loves You," a phrase normally said by deeply religious folk to non-believers. This track
takes this concept and flips it on its head by trying to fit in as many bars about sex and biblical terms as possible and it's just great. Some of my favorite lines on this track have to be, “If you on your period, call me Moses, 'Cause I'm about to split that Red Sea,” and “Her with my d*** like David and Goliath, Take your thong off, flick it at me like a slingshot.” One thing you can’t deny about Danny Brown is that he definitely has a sense of humor and personally I could listen to him making double entendres about the Bible all day.
"Run The Jewels" is one of the shortest tracks on the album, coming in at only 1 minute and 4
seconds, but is still a solid and impactful song. It starts off with a trumpet and Peggy rapping over the sparse instrumental as his verse builds up along with the instrumental before the beat drops and Danny Brown jumps in with his own verse alongside this synth wave instrumental sample that takes them to the end of the track. This song is like a bite-sized nugget of genius on both artists, from Peggy’s production to Danny Brown's rapping.
"Jack Harlow Combo Meal" starts off with this nice piano instrumental that you might hear
in a waiting room. Danny Brown starts rapping as the beat picks up and ends his verse with the bar, “Man, I can't f*** with y'all n*****, y'all let Jack Harlow sell y'all chicken.” After this, JPEG jumps on with a more slowed down flow. Peggy's vocals and ability to jump from this angelic voice to dropping hard bars like, “All of that royalty, power, that fame and respect, It can't change the fact that you a hoe,” just makes this song another banger. This song isn’t a Jack Harlow diss track, but you definitely get some funny lines about him.
"HOE (Heaven on Earth)" starts with this great instrumental and Peggy jumping on the beat
with some great flows and bars like, “Triggerin' nobodies, livin' rent free, Bot n***** livin' vicariously, Through n***** that don't know they exist, If I was them, I'd be pissed, They ride d*** for free and they can't pay they rent, I spit on your b**** at the show, let me vent.” Danny Brown has his moments on this track as well with the lines, “My dawg caught a charge with the fentanyl, Now we pray up to above, Hopin’ in court the judge show him love.” This track's production takes the front seat and you’re just in the ride for some sweet sounds.
"Where Ya Get Ya Coke From?" starts off with a hard bass instrumental and goes into this
stripped down beat and JPEG's hypnotic flows. The song is broken up by that same hard bass before Danny Brown jumps on with his own flows. One great thing about this track is how well it matches Danny’s vocals and just as suddenly as the song starts, it ends on that same bass drop, concluding the album.
My final thought on this album is that it's amazing. There was not a track that I didn't
enjoy and, while I enjoyed some songs more than others, the lows on this album are few and far between, and the rest of the album outshines any flaws it has. Every part of this album, from the concept, to the production, the vocals and instrumentals, just works, and it works so well. Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA have amazing chemistry and I hope this is not the last time we see these two collaborating on a project. I have not listened to many new albums in 2023 but this one is definitely a front runner for my album of the year. My favorite songs on this album are "Lean Beef Patty," "SCARING THE HOES," "God Loves You," "Run The Jewels," and "Orange Juice Jones." This album is amazing and definitely worth a listen.