There’s a part of me that’s surprised by this… but it’s counterbalanced by the part of me that has known this was kind of inevitable – it just might have taken more time to get there. After all, when you have a group like Death Grips who quite literally pioneered a distinct sound and style in modern hip-hop, eventually it’s going to inspire people to jump towards their lane.
But there haven’t been many to try. Obviously the most prominent person to try noise rap was Kanye West on Yeezus four years ago, but even though I do mostly like that album, it really is the pale mainstream imitation of a sound and style that Death Grips landed better, and it wasn’t long before they themselves went in a more punk and noise rock-inspired direction on a record like Jenny Death. Hell, even clipping, a noise rap group who I gravitated to the most, they went into high-concept space opera territory, they weren’t exactly interested in following Death Grips towards punk. Hell, even if you take a look at the current crop of distorted Soundcloud rappers like XXXTENTACION they aren’t really punk so much as they want to blow out your speakers.
Enter Ho99o9, a hip-hop duo from New Jersey who have attained some buzz for absolutely manic live performances, stabs at gruesome horrorcore, and a significant punk influence – in fact, some would argue they’re closer to the punk scene than hip-hop, given how many hardcore and metalcore bands they’ve supported on tour. They’ve put out a few singles and EPs, but now they’ve got a full-length debut ready to go, so what did Ho99o9 bring to the table?