Last year when Mustard spoke to independent artist Joho they compared them to the “God of Pro Wrestling” Kenny Omega. Mustard made this comparison because both Joho and Omega are versatile and adaptable. Joho, like Omega, can adapt and produce something exceptional no matter the beat or its genre. This was made clear on his previous albums and even more so now on his newest release “Black American Scumbag.”
Mustard has observed that humans have short attention spans. In their ever-evolving world of technology their attention is constantly being pulled elsewhere at all times with no stopping. Human existence is a run on sentence that eventually finds its period. With human attention span’s diminishing it is incredibly brave of an artist to release an double album this massive. Twenty-four tracks sounds and looks like a lot. But if anyone could pull it off it is Joho.
On the opening track “Scumbag” Joho lays the thesis of the album out with a quote that sets the stage:
“You need people like me to point your fingers at. To say there goes the bad guy. People will try to belittle you. Try to bring you down. Try to humble you. Just so you can fit into the narrative that they’ve created in their own head. And it gets to the point where you know its like you know what: maybe I am that person. If that if what you keep saying I will show what it is like to be a goddamn motherfucking scumbag.”
What proceeds is a confident braggadocios Joho letting the listeners know: I am a scumbag living in America. It goes back to that quote that opens the album. If you think this is what I am then this is what I will be. Rather than let those false narratives get to him, Joho embraces it. For those who created the narratives within their head nothing is more terrifying than a human, like Joho, who throws it right back at them. By embracing his flaws Joho gives them no way to move the goalposts. Joho validates them (which they are ultimately seeking) while also making a point to cement his own legacy in the process.
In our most recent interview Joho let Mustard know that this album is about embracing your flaws and the criticism received by others. Towards the end of the opening track Joho makes a statement: “I gave you every reason to come back. Still in the mud. Fighting back and pleading for some scraps.” No matter the genre or style Joho was overlooked despite being able to do it all.
To classify Joho as a rapper would be doing him a disservice. Joho is an artist’s artist who can paint a picture with as little or as much detail as you give him. Whether it is disco, pop, hip hop, or rock Joho has experimented and excelled in it already in his previous discography. “Black American Scumbag” is Joho letting everyone know that they have already done and accomplished it.
While Mustard tries to avoid comparisons, if they can, but listening to this album for the first time before its official felt a lot like listening to Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Joho is influenced by West on this album but in no means is Joho actively trying to become Kanye West. Joho has cited inspirations from mainstream pop artists to indie musicians. There is not a genre that Joho hasn’t explored or dived into. Which shows on this album. As mentioned previously, it is untrue to label Joho a “rapper” when he is so much more than that.
Throughout “Black American Scumbag” you can hear the passion, authenticity, and vulnerability in Joho’s voice. Joho understands how big of a project this album is. He understands how crucial it is that he stick the landing or else those naysayers will return again. Mustard believes that Joho has earned to fly commercial or private. Whichever he prefers.
Mustard believes that “Black American Scumbag” is worth your attention. For an album that is 111 minutes long it does not feel like it. It breezes by. Joho has created something special on this record. If he isn’t signed to a label yet he certainly should have offers coming his way soon.