The work of experimental hip-hop by artists like JPEGMAFIA (“Peggy”) and Danny Brown is often considered off-putting to general audiences. The pair capitalize on this stereotype in their new album, Scaring the Hoes. In a Stereogum interview, Peggy explained the title: “People say that shit about my music. Any music that isn’t basic and normal and completely formulaic is going to be put in that category.”
Scaring The Hoes is far from formulaic. The genre-bending collaborative album is filled with unique production choices and references to internet culture. These qualities are immediately apparent in the album’s opening track, “Lean Beef Patty.” The song, named after a social media fitness influencer, features a heavily pitched-up sample of a P. Diddy song paired with a hard-hitting beat drop. Criticizing Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and censorship of journalists, Peggy raps, “See, they all about free speech / Until they hear some shit and they get offended.” Elsewhere on the album, the pair reference internet personalities such as Kai Cenat and IShowSpeed. The terminally online character of the allusions is fitting, particularly for Brown, who says, “I’ve been on a fucking computer every day of my life since 1998.”
The most impressive part of Scaring The Hoes is Peggy’s ability to reimagine obscure media and throwback hits. The album’s list of samples is long, ranging from classic R&B songs like Keli’s 2003 smash-hit “Milkshake” on “Fentanyl Taster” to an obscure 1980s Japanese commercial on “Garbage Pale Kids.” On “Steppa Pig,” one of the hardest-hitting songs on the album, Peggy samples NSYNC’s 2001 “Gone,” chopping it up and drowning it in heavy 808s that complement Brown’s unorthodox vocal inflection on the first verse. My favorite song from the album, “Orange Juice Jones,” features a Kanye-esque sample of Michael Jackson’s “Dear Michael.”
The Peggy-Brown duo are not concerned with their commercial appeal; they are invested in pushing boundaries and producing avant-garde art. Their collaborative effort is worth the listen.