By Reggie Goudeau
Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, more commonly known as JPEGMAFIA, is no stranger to making energetic, loud, and fun music alongside larger-than-life instrumentals. On his own, he’s a force to be reckoned with, but alongside Daniel Dewan Sewell (or Danny Brown), the two were bound to strike gold, and they more than delivered. This is especially true in hindsight since JPEGMAFIA produced the entire thing, and the quality of his beats rival that of his rapping.
The album’s first single and first track, “Lean Beef Patty” is a fantastic introduction to this project’s vibe with its unique beat and both artists’ humorous bars. The song’s instrumental sounds like something that 100 Gecs would create, but somehow it works amid the track’s chaos. It also features the first of many iconic samples featured in this project, namely “I Need a Girl Pt. 2” by Diddy.
Peggy is also the highlight of the song, with great lines referencing things like Twitter drama such as “Fuck Elon Musk/8 dollars too much/bitch that’s expensive.” A similar one that I gravitate towards is “You can go from Elon to Ye in a week.” While Brown is not as notable on the track, his flow and energy still add to the song. He also has a handful of standout lines that aren’t quite as topical as JPEGMAFIA’s, such as the simple but effective, “Spittin fast like Busta.”
The next track “Steppa Pig” begins with Danny Brown and features him with much more impressive lines and flows. Some of the most memorable included “Stuck to it like fly traps, my pockets awoke, no ice packs” and the slightly controversial “They career like Whitney in the bathtub/sad as fuck.”
Even with Brown stepping up his game, Peggy doesn’t back down. Frankly there’s too much content in the verse to highlight everything he said, but the following two bars had me hyped. “They off of that 2chan high, incels just can't let it go like Frozen/Bet if I let off these shots, no games, you finna just dance like Gotenks.” No matter the song or time, Peggy’s references to nerd culture will always hit different. The track also has a superb beat switch in its final 30 seconds, and the rest of the project features far more of these moments.
The third and title track features Peggy on the hook and Danny with the first verse. Even the instrumental here fits the album’s theme, with the background sounding like a mix of horror stings and clapping. The chorus is also notably self-aware, criticizing people for scaring the hoes and playing “weird shit.”
Another standout track is “Burfict!” which features the project’s greatest beat, reminiscent of a military march song, and some of the album’s most fast-paced, engaging flows from both artists. Danny Brown opens the song with the hilarious bar, “Like NASCAR nigga you better not go there,” and only gets better as it continues. In JPEGMAFIA’s verse, I was particularly pleased with the section in his verse about Trump, his various escapades, and other political matters in the world. In a way only he can, he does this with lines referencing “Choppas like NATO.”
The other two particularly pleasing records here were also the last two tracks on the album. “HOE (Heaven on Earth)” begins with JPEGMAFIA and his addictive flow over a beautiful beat featuring a choir. Danny Brown absolutely has the standout verse here, speaking on his relationship with God and women in different contexts. The religious lines are provocative, with Brown saying: “Fell on my knees when I caught a felony/Tell me who there for me/Think I need therapy/sent God a text but his message turn green.” His references to Urkel and his alter-ego Stefan from Family Matters later in the verse were also cool to hear.
The final track is certainly a spectacle, with a beat that rivals the triumphant sound of “Burfict!” Furthermore, both Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA bring their all when it comes to the bars and flow here. Peggy most astonishes listeners with lines like “the choppa young as Matt Gaetz b-,” which cuts out for obvious reasons. Brown also has smooth wordplay, saying things like “Some people saying that I'm shallow,but I'm jumping off the deep end/ 'Bout to flip the script, I ain't even read the treatment.” Just as the album’s first track did, this one fully encapsulates everything that an album called SCARING THE HOES should be.
The other tracks across this album are also engaging and inventive, with only one song that could be considered a flat-out skip. (Said song was “Run the Jewels,” which still had a great beat and high energy. It simply didn’t feature enough interesting bars or flows from either artist performing.) “Garbage Pail Kids" has one of the project’s greatest bars from Danny Brown: “Eat ya ass like I’m Canibus.” “God Loves You” is a quick banger featuring a great verse from Brown themed around sex and religion. It also features a low-key performance from Peggy that still doesn’t detract from the song.
“Orange Juice Jones” with its samples of “Dear Michael” by Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” has one of the tightest beats here, but the track is too short to fully utilize it. One song that did not disappoint, despite its simplicity, was “Jack Harlow Combo Meal,” which I was looking forward to since the album’s announcement. I’m especially glad that Brown chose to speak about the actual combo meal in his verse. “Fentanyl Tester” has one of the project's most unique beats, and “Shut Yo Bitch Ass Up/Muddy Waters” is essentially two songs, both of which hold up in their own right.
And then there’s “Kingdom Hearts Key,” which has an oddly angelic beat compared to many of the more rough and ragged instrumentals present here. Sampling “Funky Worm” by The Ohio Players and “You’re Gettin’ A Little Too Smart” by the Detroit Emeralds, the track also features the record’s only feature from redveil, who does well with a braggadocious rapping performance alongside Brown and JPEGMAFIA. Still, Peggy manages to outshine both with another hilarious line: “Hunter Biden bitch stay out my sink/Ketamine got me singin' like Tink.”
SCARING THE HOES is everything that the title and fantastic cover art implies. It’s aggressive, experimental, nonsensical, and the definition of a shitpost in musical form. Needless to say, the project exceeded my expectations, and even if spinning it so often does scare the bad bitches away, that’s an L I’m willing to take.