JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown stormed The National’s stage this past Wednesday, marking the inauguration tour for the joint album, Scaring The Hoes. Decked out in the notorious Big Red Boots, they were nothing short of electrifying. The night’s spectacle resonated with their promotional flyer’s retro gaming vibe, influenced by Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000, with the pair taking on the personas of Ryu from Street Fighter and Kyo Kusanagi from King of Fighters, respectively. An expansive screen displayed both MCs duking it out as 2D video game characters, merging the world of hip-hop with pixelated nostalgia.
The rappers didn’t waste time as they dove into “Lean Beef Patty,” painting the musical canvas with P. Diddy’s high-pitched vocal sample from “I Need a Girl Part 2” and accented by dramatic synth jabs. This set the tone for “Burfict!”, “Steppa Pig,” and “Garbage Pale Kids” before Danny Brown momentarily ceded the spotlight to JPEGMAFIA.
JPEGMAFIA’s solo set was unapologetically raw, opening with the playfully irreverent “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am a Thot.” Whether he was hollering at bald men in the crowd or launching into his rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” he kept the audience on a frenzied edge. This climaxed with “VENGANCE,” his feature with Denzel Curry, that whipped the crowd into a fervor just in time for Danny Brown’s triumphant return.
The synergy between JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown was palpable as they journeyed through popular cuts from Scaring The Hoes like “Kingdom Hearts Key” and “God Loves You.” The crowd’s yearning for Danny Brown’s earlier works was satisfied as he unleashed “Really Doe” and “Dip,” a nostalgic nod to his seven-year hiatus from solo releases.
The evening culminated with their album’s title track, an explosion of red lighting and thick plumes of smoke filling the stage, encapsulating the audience in the duo’s gripping world. The encore, “Fentanyl Tester,” was a sonic adventure, sporting a sped-up, chopped-and-screwed iteration of Kelis’ “Milkshake.” The pulsating energy lingered in the air as the show concluded, those famous lyrics echoing in the minds of all in attendance.
Photos and words by Ko Soum. Give him a follow at @koorwhatever