Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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JPEGMafia & Danny Brown

  • Scaring the Hoes [AWAL, 2023] A

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Scaring the Hoes [AWAL, 2023]
Both 1989-born Jamaican-Brooklynite-Alabaman Air Force vet Barrington Hendricks (JPEG) and 1981-born Detroit drug-dealing prison vet Daniel Sewell (Brown) are alt-rappers by temperament, and they balance each other off well enough. Hendricks is the one with easily discernible politics, but I find his beats more arresting than his rapping itself or the well-enunciated verbiage it delivers. Though Brown first won my heart with 2011's pussy-eating "I Will," he obviously has brains as well as gusto to spare. But for me it's his sound that puts this partnership across--I can't think of anything quite like the high-pitched squawk that defines their sonics if anything does. Yet at the same time there's a drawl to it that seems quintessentially hip-hop as it achieves musicality with its amelodic dips and swirls, uniquely individualistic and definitively genre-driven at the same time. A