Text & Photos: Bobby Cochran
Ho99o9. Bastard sons of Bad Brains, Public Enemy, and Ministry. Death Kult Mutant Freax. Trendsetters and boundary-pushers. Men on a mission. For the Los Angeles (via New Jersey) based, avant-guard punk/hip hop ensemble Ho99o9, the United States of Horror is here, and you’re looking at it whether you like it or not. Powerfully political and explosively uncompromising, the three-piece defied convention and proved that you can perform hip hop like a punk band (or punk like a hip-hop band), Marshall amps, drum kits and all. The ignition blast of “U.S.H.” and “Sub-Zer0” set shit off, and it DID NOT STOP until everyone was drained. Crushing versions of a slew of tracks from The United States of Horror, and topping the incredible evening off with “DeathKult Disciples (999 Anthem), Ho99o9 incinerated The Independent in San Francisco. If you have a chance to see this crew, you better not miss it.
Though there were only two bands billed, there was a surprise opener by the name of Kate Mo$$. Information about them online is sparse, but apparently they’re also from LA, and are very much in the same musical vein as Ho99o9. More punk than hip hop, but totally loud and in your face just the same. Consisting of a tall, tattooed rapper, a live drummer, and a dancer dressed in white vinyl nun-fetish outfit who worked the stage like the singer’s sexual foil, Kate Mo$$ made a sizable impression during their brief set.
Tourmates Injury Reserve filled the middle slot on the bill, and they had a solid crew of supporters who clearly showed up to see them. This Arizona-based hip hop crew took the stage with something to prove, and prove it they did. Blowing through a solid set of tracks from their latest release Floss, it’s no wonder Ho99o9 brought them along on this tour. They’re on fire.