- Hadas Di
- Horrors of Ho99o9: Rappers Eaddy and theOGM just want you to love them.
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 last year, 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 L.A.-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 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 were members of JerseyKLAN, a hardcore hip-hop collective whose approach was stridently political, as is Ho99o9's. "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."
Ho99o9 are currently out on the road, co-headlining the North American Lights Out tour with L.A. industrial rock band 3Teeth.
Last week, 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.
Indy: A couple days ago in Newark, a poster for two city council members was spray-painted with a swastika. Do you still have family there? Do they feel racism is getting worse there, like it is everywhere else?
theOMG: I haven't heard anything about swastikas being spray-painted on political posters, but as far as New Jersey goes, yeah, I still have family there. Are they affected by racism? I wouldn't say they are right now, not directly, because they live around people who aren't racist, and they work with people who aren't racist. I'm not saying that it's not around back there, but it's everywhere, not just New Jersey. So that's a constant battle, that's something that you will talk about for the rest of your fucking life, like till the end of time.
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, fuck 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 shit'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 fuck.
What happened with Warped?
Well, our only issue is that they booked a band like us and then they turn around and don't back us up. It's like, you knew what you were getting yourself into, because you know what kind of band we are, you know the type of music we're making. We're not a violent band; if you come out and see us, we're not like attacking our people, we're not inciting violence at our show, you know what I mean? We're all about unity and vibes — that's why we're fighting for equality. And so these motherfuckers booked us to play a kickoff shows with 10 other bands that are obviously not our style. And then, like literally, they took it to the next level, like they were saying that some people got hurt, and that we did this, that and the third.
And that wasn't true?
Yeah, it just wasn't. They just made this whole ordeal about it. It just got really out of hand, and to be honest it opened our eyes a bit.
Being out on tour with 3Teeth, 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 shit just sends them to a whole other spiral.
One last question: 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.
Well, with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was dark, gruesome, really well shot, scored really well, like I dig that shit. 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 shit's tight.