Haunted Mound signee Hackle drops his debut single, ‘Peterbilt’–featuring label founder Sematary and produced by Grimoire–a track coated in label-standard witch house and Chicago drill influence while still distinguishing himself from his label mates with his melodicism and infectious energy.
Hackle (or Hackledown) has dropped his debut single with the witch-house influenced track “Peterbilt”, featuring Sematary and fully produced in-house by new HM signee Grimoire. Since signing earlier this year, Hackle has maintained a relatively low-profile, only recently appearing on two songs on Sematary’s ‘Screaming Forest’ mixtape on Halloween and performing “Redwoods” and “Truey Jeans” with Sematary at a Coldhart concert in late November. Snippets of ‘Peterbilt’ have been circulating through both artists’ Instagram Lives, even before his initial feature appearances, and it almost instantly became one of the most hyped snippets among the Haunted Mound fanbase, long before the track had even reached completion.
‘Peterbilt’ has a strong cold open, with a harsh lead synth immediately oscillating filters within the mix, accompanied by muddy stabs, to begin the track with signature Haunted Mound intensity. The next phase presents itself the moment Hackle makes his entrance, simply uttering his signature phrase, “Hackle down on ‘em” as drill-inspired hi-hats kick in and plucked melodies drenched in reverb and distortion begin to ring through, with Hackle’s subdued vocal intro reminiscent of build-ups to several iconic HM songs; specifically Sematary’s “Truey Jeans” and Turnabout’s debut titled “My Reaper”. It’s a vehicle to build hype that has yet to fail in the collective discography, and is especially well-executed as Grimoire drops the beat into a hellish witch house-adjacent soundscape, complete with rattling hi-hats, hoovers, drum breaks, and Salem-esque synthesizer work. Influences from early 2010s Chicago drill (namely “Finally Rich” and “Bang 2” era Chief Keef) also permeate the track with snare rolls, triplet 808s, and compressed synths densely packed into each section of the song.
Hackle’s performance matches the energy that Grimoire crafted with his instrumental, and his hook almost instantly takes over to become the main attention-grabber with repetitive yet infectiously catchy lyrics about Peterbilt 379 trucks. In typical Haunted Mound fashion he finds creative ways to threaten violence with them. The beat explodes behind him, splayed percussion and layered atmos seeming to widen each bar, yet it doesn’t overpower nor clash with Hackle’s voice due to stellar engineering. His vocal performance and engineering has significantly more presence and general clarity on this song than his features on Sematary’s ‘Redwoods’ or ‘Spirits’, with a better image of his timbre and melodic ability as he coasts through the chorus into his verse.
“Hittin’ motherfuckers who gon’ pass me
Blacked-out paint and I got that long chassis (Chassis)
Get out of my cab, I’ll stomp yo’ body
True Religion on, horseshoe on my pocket” – Hackle
As Hackle’s debut, this show of talent is an exciting improvement and one that shows his promise as a distinct voice within the newly-expanded roster. Although the track loses some energy around the end of the first hook, the instrumental clears up to give Hackle’s vocals room to breathe. “Peterbilt” remains effective; Hackle provides possibly his best verse yet, closing out his verse with his iconic “hackle down on ‘em” tag and dropping back into the earth-shattering hook. Sematary provides a few signature ad-libs as the chorus repeats, his gruffer voice enhanced by his bold vocal template cutting through the instrumental. A common and noted feature of this song are subtle variances in pace; well-timed drops, tonal changes, and a song structure that’s had its rougher edges smoothed out. The transitions between sections are smooth and concise, the arrangement synergizing perfectly as the song takes only a short breath before diving into Sematary’s verse.
Sematary features with a hard-hitting and violent verse drawing directly from the cadences and over-the-top lyrical tropes of his latest mixtape in a similar fashion to his feature on Turnabout’s “My Reaper”, pulling these elements together to synthesize a perfect and concise secondary performance; one quality verse that displays the contrast between the two in delivery and writing that wasn’t as apparent on the “Screaming Forest” collaborations, while refraining from deviating too far from the stage “Peterbilt” had already set and instead accentuating the performance of the lead artist, two qualities of this verse that both distinguish and unite them as individual musicians and labelmates.
“Haunted Mound, grim reapers huffin’ V8 (V8)
We don’t care ’bout anything, we’re kamakrazee (We’re kamakrazee)
Black smoke up in my lungs, off that gasoline (Gasoline)
Whip my murder ride, oh, it’s a lovely day (It’s a lovely day)” – Sematary
Hackle is part of Haunted Mound’s wave of diversification, as Sematary and others expand through and beyond in-house and outside collaborators. New musical talent such as Hackle, Grimoire, Buckshot and Turnabout provide a great prospect for the future of Haunted Mound’s collaborations. It’s equally necessary and refreshing to on the production side of things as it is for the vocalists. Each new member provides a logical stepping stone for the collective’s growth. As a debut single, Hackle has definitely left an impact that cements him as one of Haunted Mound’s most hyped new members, with an abrasive and confrontational showcase of talent in ‘Peterbilt’. With the announcement of a mixtape on the way for 2022 during a December Instagram Live, one can only imagine that the music to follow will be even crazier.
Listen to “Peterbilt” here.