New Jersey’s terrible twosome Ho99o9 are keeping Afropunk alive with their brash take on rap–rock. Dabbling in both the mellowness of emo-rap and the ear-shattering impact of metal, these musical thrashers push forward modern anarchical sounds to liberate those that can’t find it in mainstream music. After debut album ‘United States of Horror’ gained rave reviews, and 2020’s mixtape ‘BLURR’ left their fans raging for the mosh pit, the duo’s second album ‘Skin’ marks a slight shift. Though it retains that same high-octane nature, it’s also peppered with a few slower, sludgier tunes. Along the way, they showcase some hefty lyrical work on a record produced by none other than Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
Opener ‘NUGE SNIGHT’ is a perfect representation of Ho99o9’s relentless rebellion towards anything commercially pleasing, as TheOGM and Eaddy prance about boastfully on the impaling beat. Repeatedly bellowing into our ears (“This is Death Row, Death Row”) their urgency sets the tone; rage bristling at its core inside the rolling drum sounds. Chaotic and racing, ‘BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED’s glitchy cyber introduction leads right back into crashing punk beats while ‘PROTECT MY BITCH PT. 2’ sounds like The Prodigy playing a punk show at a scrappy dive bar.
Along the way, Ho99o9 have some formidable features, here. Teaming up with Slipknot’s Corey Taylor on ‘BITE MY FACE’ its evident that both were having fun in their own personal head-banging playground. It’s the same story with the newer rap-rock artist Jasiah, who lays his guts bare on the 808s-infused rock beat of ‘LIMITS’. The most drastic of the songs is ‘SLO BREAD’, which sees TheOGM and Eaddy utilising slurring auto-tuned vocals to create a wheezy LA-inspired track for Underground Kingz legend Bun B to join. Ditching wailing guitars for stirring synths, it’s the nostalgic sound of ‘00s futurism: “This life ain’t nothing to sneeze at / ‘Cause I’ll bless your life,” it goes, before punning with the German expression for “bless you”. “Gesundheit”.
Opening up the definition of rap-rock, TheOGM and Eaddy prove that you can hold yourself to the same intricate lyrical standards of rap, while sounding closer to the rockstars they grew up falling in love with.
Record label: DTA Records
Release date: March 11