On the music side of Twitter, you’ll find one revolving joke: “Don’t put on ‘so-and-so’ or ‘whats-his-name’ at the function, or you’ll scare away the hoes,” and JPEGMAFIA, also known as Peggy, and Danny Brown are often at the butt of the joke. They embodied this with their new project, a collab album titled Scaring the Hoes. Two experimental and ambitious artists came together to make some of the strangest, yet most interesting music I have ever heard, and while I may enjoy it, I would not recommend playing it in front of the “hoes.”
Peggy’s seemingly ever-changing production style keeps you on your toes, with recognizable samples thrown in at every unexpected turn. While his high-profile sample clearances may be a mystery, his sampling itself isn’t; the artist revealed in a recent tweet that he “Made every beat on the album with one machine, The SP 404.” The use of this popular analog sampler, which is significant in hip-hop production, explains the muddiness of the mixes as well as the album’s old-school feel. Danny Brown’s vocals tie the sound together well, offering some of his best lyrical performances in years and hammering down on his unique delivery.
The pair took to the Danny Brown Show podcast to release the opening song and lead single, “Lean Beef Patty,” in late February, before releasing the track a few weeks later on streaming platforms. It introduces listeners to the slightly abrasive yet artistic sound of this album with a hyper-pop flip of P. Diddy’s “I Need a Girl (Part 2),” layered with cinematic synths and punchy lyricism. They revealed in the podcast that the song’s title is a reference to popular fitness influencer leanbeefpatty. As always with Peggy’s and Brown’s work, they don’t stray from touchier topics, and that is clear in this song with lines mentioning the recent social media antics of both Ye and Elon Musk among other things.
The second track, “Steppa Pig,” offers the most unique production on the record. The song sparkles, bringing the melody in and out with a crunchy bass-line and hypnotic chimes. Brown starts with an impressive verse, but JPEGMAFIA takes over in the second half, using his off-putting delivery to boast about his artistic originality and overall weirdness.
Next is “SCARING THE HOES” with its first full minute of clapping and horn chops that seem perfectly out of tune, but somehow cohesive. When the drums finally come in, they have an obvious rock influence; it’s something I would love to see more of in Peggy’s production. As the title suggests, this song is abrasive but a nice mission statement for the album as a whole.
The next three songs have the coolest moments of the album production-wise. “Garbage Pale Kids” samples Japanese commercials, including a meat packing commercial from the mid-80s. Paired with complex drums and a sick bass-line, it creates a cool soundscape that lays the road for a great Danny Brown verse. In “Fentanyl Tester”, Peggy drops one of the most recognizable samples on the album, Kelis’ “Milkshake”. The sample, in combination with breakbeat transitions and fantastic lyrical delivery, creates an immersive sound that makes the song one of my favorites on the album. “Burfict!”, likely about one of the dirtiest NFL players ever, feels familiar, drawing comparisons to Peggy’s recent LP. The horn chops are beautiful. The song is lyrically sound with countless references, including one to the elusive underground rapper Mach-Hommy.
“Dogs cover they face, that bitch Mach-Hommy”– JPEGMAFIA, Burfict!
Then, it’s the two-parter “Shut Yo Bitch Ass Up / Muddy Waters.” Brown and Peggy are in their element, with their respective halves catering to their individual style.
The sole feature on the album, Redveil, joins in on “Kingdom Heart Key”. As the title suggests, the song is enchanting, with elegant swells and vocals partnered with a lagged, 808-heavy drum loop. Every time the drums come back in I can’t help but get hyped. Redveil’s performance is impressive here; the young artist sticks to his sing-songy harmonies, before coming in hard with hooks and quotable lyrics left and right. I have been following him for the last couple of years, and to see him with such a large feature at 18 years old is inspiring, seeing his hard work pay off.
There are only few ‘bad’ tracks on here, but “Orange Juice Jones” and “Run The Jewels” fall into that category. While the production may be top tier (was a joy to hear “Going back to Cali” by LL Cool J in the latter), the lyrical content and mixing on these two were definitely below the rest.
The album begins to wrap up with the gospel-layered “God Loves You” and the jazz-influenced “Jack Harlow Combo Meal”, which, of course, questions KFC’s decision to use rapper Jack Harlow to sell their chicken. I particularly enjoy Peggy’s vocals on both of these, with his harmonies accenting the songs well.
“Man, I can’t fuck with y’all niggas, y’all let Jack Harlow sell y’all chicken”– Danny Brown, Jack Harlow Combo Meal
“HOE (Heaven on Earth)”, with its swirly piano stabs and introspective verses, leads well into SCARING THE HOES’ closing track “Where Ya Get Ya Coke From?”. It is one of the most fun songs on the album, where JPEGMAFIA comes in with a catchy verse right after an intro straight out of a 90s game show. Brown brings the energy, exploding with jarring lyrics. He discusses things like the impact of his unconventional delivery, such as yelling and physically distorting his voice, to achieve certain sounds on his mental health, closing the album with perfect weight.
“Should be in the psych ward for what I do with vocal chords”– Danny Brown, Where Ya Get Ya Coke From?
The album ends abruptly, which is perfect for this strangely wonderful album. JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown created something amazing. With twists and turns between each sample and verse, this album is a journey I recommend to anyone who is not worried about scaring off the “hoes”. On the Danny Brown Show with Peggy, Brown mentions his worry about Peggy stealing his spotlight, but that’s not the case at all. Both have done nothing but thrive and grow throughout their careers, despite constant pushback due to the abnormality of their sounds—that is exactly what has pushed them both into figureheads for experimental rap. I am excited to see these artists independently grow (both have two solo albums releasing in 2023) as well as the impact that they will have on the next wave of artists (and hopefully we’ll get SCARING THE HOES Vol. 2).
Jacob Feinberg is a student at the University of Georgia, studying marketing and music business, with hopes to find a career in music journalism or artist management. After years of listening to and studying music, Jacob has decided to share his knowledge and opinion through Vinyl Mag. His favorite genre is rap/hip-hop, but you can catch him listening to basically any genre (r&b, jazz, rock, etc.). Jacob has a deep love for music and artistry, and he hopes to apply that by highlighting Athens's rich music scene and all its talented artists.