Experimental | Hardcore Punk | Hip-Hop
After properly getting into Newark, New Jersey group Ho99o9 through somebody I met at a gig who was hyping them up big time, they quickly settled amongst my favourite artists of the 2010’s. They’re one of those bands that just have their overall aesthetic perfectly realised. As the name suggests, the group have a very horror-inspired aesthetic that gives their blend of Hip-Hop and Hardcore Punk an extra layer of edge.
For the last 3 years or so, Ho99o9 have leaned more heavily towards the more punk-like side of their music, which ultimately differentiated them from the likes of Death Grips, which they had often been compared to. With projects like their first and only studio album United States of Horror, Cyber Cop [Unauthorised MP3.], and Cyber Warfare EP, this was clearly apparent.
In the year of 2020, Ho99o9 had already released some material prior to the Blurr mixtape. And they weren’t teaser tracks for this new project either; we were treated to the “Christopher Dorner” and “Pray or Prey” singles, which were released as a pair, followed by the standalone single “Pigs Want Me Dead”.
But what these singles seemed to the suggest, is that the scales of Hip-Hop and Hardcore Punk were about to be re-centred. And in the case of the Blurr mixtape, that is most certainly the case.
The material found in Blurr feels much more like the Ho99o9 of old. And while you may be thinking that this ultimately means that the band are becoming all-too-similar to Death Grips again, this mixtape still manages to succeed in differentiating itself as a completely unique project.
While this consequently means that each of the tracks do clash with each other considerably, Blurr manages to still makes this enjoyable. I believe that this must be credible to their oh-so-solid aesthetic, that gives them more than enough leeway to be experimental.
I also love how this mixtape seems to be self-aware of this itself, with the track that satirically titled “Hardcore”, actually being the most soothing track on the entire mixtape, and is something that I would expect from Tyler, the Creator, as opposed to Ho99o9.
There are also the many sound-clips that point towards the criticism towards their music and/or hardcore music in general. Therefore, this mixtape serves as a giant middle finger to those who point theirs towards Ho99o9 in judgement.
But on the subject of sound-clips, this mixtape seems to have a sort of dual context. The first being the aforementioned criticism of their music, and the second being the global pandemic. There are numerous mentions of the pandemic, vaccines, quarantine, and the like, which allows this mixtape to have a very raw and grounded front.
But for those like me who are addicted to the more punk-heavy side of Ho99o9, it is thankfully not completely gone on Blur. The hardcore-punk fix comes in the form of the mixtape’s closing track “Firefly Family”, which features the likes of Mike IX Williams of sludge-metal band Eyehategod.
But when all is said and done, I truly appreciate the creative switch-up that Ho99o9 have made for this new mixtape. It most certainly allows Blur to arguably be the project with the most character since their debut album.
Favourite Tracks: Hardcore | Navigate | Firefly Family
Least Favourite Track: Movie Night
Toys Have Powers | 999 Deathkult