...unless they implode too, which they just might
My first experience of seeing Ho99o9 live was in Berlin’s infamous Berghain nightclub. A place notorious for sweating, often nude, bodies to be crashing and thrashing into one another as thunderous, unforgiving music erupts from a sound system that sends earthquakes rippling through your guts. However, the only real naked flesh I saw that week (during the inaugural Pop Kultur festival) belonged to one man: Eaddy from L.A. outfit Ho99o9. Eaddy stripped to nothing except his socks and threw himself into the crowd, sweat was running down every inch of his body and with every person he crashed into he would just slide down them and crash back to the floor, where he remained until the dying moments of the set, crunched up, screeching into the microphone as sub bass throttled the room with gripping force and tension and the stunned audience absorbed the unsettling carnage that had just taken place all around them.
Ho99o9 [pronounced Horror] consist of Eaddy and theOGM, a New Jersey duo now operating from Los Angeles who are making a fusion of rap and punk the likes of which has not really been encountered before. The 9s in the name represent upside down 6s, an antidote to a celebration of the ideologies attached to the devil and evil – and also a statement that expresses their neutrality. “No masters. No fucking bosses. No gods. No Nuthin’. We don’t fuck with none of that shit.” That’s what they told the L.A Weekly earlier this year.
However, whilst the duo may not answer to any one person, thing or ideology, there is enough of their approach that is constructed as a horror-show aesthetic – violent imagery including necrophilia can be found scattered throughout their songs.
Horrorcore has too many cheap and nasty connotations to it, but Ho99o9 know how to push buttons, sonically and aesthetically in the same way. What makes the group really interesting, though, is not that they are a rap group with an essence of punk to them, or that they are a punk group with flavours of hip-hop, but that they really are a complete amalgamation of the two; a group in which GG Allin and Bad Brains line up as clear cut influences as much as DMX or Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony do.