HO99O9: UNITED STATES OF HORROR
United States of Horror
L.A.-via-NJ duo Ho99o9 might not be the first to fuse punk and rap, but they’re certainly the best at doing each to its own gleeful extreme. Their debut LP, United States of Horror, is all about extremes: extreme heaviness, extreme braggadocio, extremely low fidelity—think “busted PA at a buckwild Halloween party.” Rapper/producers theOGM and Eaddy, then, would be the dudes who grab the aux and spin Thee Oh Sees, Future and Slayer back-to-back, which isn’t far off from the neck-snapping late-album run of “City Rejects” -> ”Hydrolics” -> ”New Jersey Devil.” As far as direct influences, however, the pair are quick to mention Rob Zombie, with whom they share not only a penchant for classic horror flicks, but for paying open tribute to both high and low culture—“Street Power” pits John Carpenter’s legendary Halloween theme against grimy 808s, while “Knuckle Up”’s slithering electro-punk breaks into a mosh-ready chorus of “Let the bodies hit the floor!” Like Zombie’s films, USoH thrives on the infectious energy of artists who still wear their fandom proudly on their sleeves. But this doesn’t exclude them from getting serious—the thrashing title track includes an address to an imagined audience, asking for raised fists “if you stand against police brutality, racism, government oppression…” In this light, we can see the album’s title as something of a double entendre: a vitriolic indictment of modern America, as well as a classic hip-hop “world takeover” bid. It’s one of the smartest dichotomies this year—this may be their debut, but Ho99o9’s contemporaries already have some catching up to do.