Ho99o9, everyone’s favorite hip-hop anarchists-of-the-moment, have no trouble attracting controversy and chaos, even when they don’t appear to be trying.
Back before their “United States of Horror” debut album was released in 2017, the industrial-rap duo was already winning acclaim for its edgy mix of hardcore rap and punk histrionics.
Ho99o9’s live shows, meanwhile, are infamous for their exhilarating onslaughts of brutal distortion, punishing live drums, rumored episodes of indecent exposure, and vocals that evoke Chuck D, Trent Reznor, Bad Brains and God knows what else. The LA-based duo even got bounced off the Warped Tour, an indignity usually reserved for emo kids who get caught cutting in line.
All of which made Newark natives Eaddy and theOGM that much more beloved by critics and a growing legion of fans. Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) even won favor among the gallery set, as evidenced by a pair of performances at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a hallowed institution that’s apparently more attuned to their approach than the Warped crowd.
Prior to moving westward four years ago, the two 20-something rappers that comprise Ho99o9 were members of JerseyKLAN, a hardcore hip-hop collective whose approach was stridently political as their current collaboration.
“Just came home from Vietnam / Finished droppin’ off bombs,” they rap atop an overdriven Portishead sample on one track. “Hiroshima, Nagasaki / Quick kill, cut, copy.”
Now the group brings its sounds to the Lowbrow Palace on June 25, alongside Ghostemane and Horus the Astroneer.
Recently, we caught up with theOGM — he’s the one who favors dreadlocks and crop-topped ski masks — to talk about punk vs. hip-hop audiences, Warped vs. Juggalos, and the unassailable joys of slasher movies.
Q: Since starting Ho99o9, you’ve played in an unusually diverse range of situations. Which have you found to be the most interesting: Warped, SXSW or the Gathering of the Juggalos?
Well, technically we never played the Warped Tour. We were scheduled to play, and we played the kickoff show in L.A., and we got kicked off of the tour. So for that I say, f*** you. And as far as SXSW goes, I think that is a great platform. We played it for like a few years and it’s opened so many other doors for us. So that s***’s like great.
And the Gathering of the Juggalos is probably the most interesting festival that we’ve ever played, just because of the vibe, the people, just the unity that they have amongst themselves. It’s cool as f***.
Q: Having done tours with acts from these two genres, how open-minded would you say industrial-rock audiences are compared to hip-hop audiences?
It really depends on where you are and who you’re opening up for. I mean, if we’re headlining a show, they know what they’re getting and they’re ready for it. But then if we’re opening up for a band, we never really know what the audience is going to be like until we see them.
Because generally, some people are attached to that band that they’re coming to see, and they don’t want to open their minds to the other bands. And some people are like, “Alright, well,
I’m here to just catch a good show, so I’m hoping that their opening act is good.” And then when their minds are blown, like that s*** just sends them to a whole other spiral.
Q: What’s your favorite horror movie?
Right now, off the top of my head, I would say “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” the 2003 version, and then I would say “The Devil’s Rejects” by Rob Zombie.
Q: Why those?
Well, with the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” it was dark, gruesome, really well shot, scored really well, like I dig that s***. And then I’d say “The Devil’s Rejects: because I like his gory style and some of it reminds me of Quentin Tarantino. I love Quentin Tarantino films. That s***’s tight.