JPEGMAFIA – “LP!” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Baltimore emcee, singer & producer JPEGMAFIA. Breaking out 2016 with the release of his full-length debut Black Ben Carson, it wouldn’t be until the man’s next 2 albums Veteran & All My Heroes are Cornballs where he would reveal himself as one of the most creative minds in hip hop today. He dropped a bunch of singles last year & compiled them onto an 8-track EP but after putting out a follow-up with almost all newly recorded material under Republic Records back in February, he’s celebrating his born day with LP!.

“TRUST!” is a short yet glimmering opener to the album talking about self-love whereas “DIRTY” takes a more cloudier route talking his shit. “NEMO!” has a minimal, glitchy vibe going at those who think they know him leading into “END CREDITS!” starts off with an Arn Anderson sample & then working on a guitar threatening to write a scene on your life.

Meanwhile on “WHAT KIND OF RAPPIN’ IS THIS?”, we have Peggy on top of a lush almost boom bappy instrumental calling out someone biting him just before “THOT’S PRAYER!” almost has a bit of a BROCKHAMPTON influence to it sonically confessing that loneliness is killing him inside. “ARE U HAPPY?” eerily ponders about the people around him & the way his life is going, but then “REBOUND!” works in some horns basically saying bitches ain’t shit.

“OG!” speaks on taking the game back on top of a booming beat while “DAM! DAM! DAM!” has a more groovier sound talking about how he has to “keep swimmin’ ’til that muhfuckin’ ship leaves”. Following this is “SICK, NERVOUS & BROKE!” serving as an aggressive trap banger taking shots at his haters whereas “😘” brings in some synths to get romantic.

After the “NICE!” interlude, the penultimate track “BMT!” vibrantly insults his competition & “THE GHOST OF RANKING DREAD!” ends the album on a pillowy yet melodic tone talking about how he can’t keep up with these girls. Then the online version contains 3 bonus cuts from EP! which I still love, but didn’t need to be on here.

Now if you go to the Bandcamp version, there are 3 newly recorded bonus tracks that couldn’t make it onto streaming due to sample clearances. “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” is unquestionably the best hip hop single I’ve heard all year sampling Anita Baker dissing the industry. After that, “GOD DON’T LIKE UGLY” works in a soul sample comparing him to Beyoncé & his competition to Michelle Williams. “💯” terrifically pays homage to the chopped & screwed movement based in Houston just before “Untitled” incorporates some dreary piano chords continuing to challenge anyone to step up to him.

Peggy is one of the most unpredictable artists in the game right now & I definitely find LP! to be more consistent than EP2! In contrast to the more mainstream sound of that previous project, I’m happy he realized he didn’t need to try to appeal to a radio friendly market that doesn’t exist & returns to his experimental roots. Also, the 3 bonus songs on the “offline” version make it significantly better than the 3 bonus cuts on the “online” version that were already familiar with

Score: 4.5/5

JPEGMAFIA – “EP2!” review

JPEGMAFIA is a 31 year old rapper, singer & producer from Baltimore, Maryland who broke out in 2016 with the release of his full-length debut Black Ben Carson. However, wouldn’t be until the man’s next 2 albums Veteran at the beginning of 2018 & then All My Heroes are Cornballs the following year where he would earn respect across the board & reveal himself as one of the most creative minds in hip hop today. He dropped a bunch of singles last year & compiled them onto an 8-track EP. But after signing to Republic Records last month, Peggy has cooked up another EP albeit with almost all newly recorded material.

I have no idea why the EP starts off with “LAST DANCE!” as it originally appeared on EP! a couple months back, but it’s still a great song. After the “INTRO!”, the first actual song “FIX URSELF!” talks about being too real for this shit over a cold instrumental while the next track “KELTEC!” talks about not needing industry friends over a futuristic beat.

The song “THIS ONE’S FOR US!” gets combative over an atmospheric instrumental while the penultimate track “PANIC ROOM!” talks about suckas over a lush beat from James Blake. The EP finishes off with “FEED HER!”, where Peggy flexes over a cloudy instrumental.

I was curious to hear how this would sound given that Peggy’s on a major label now, but I enjoy it almost as much as EP!. Yeah he’s going into a more pop rap territory on here, but he makes it work by putting his own unique spin on that more melodic sound.

Score: 4/5

JPEGMAFIA – “EP” review

This is the 3rd EP from Baltimore emcee & producer JPEGMAFIA. Making his mark in 2016 with the release of his full-length debut Black Ben Carson, it wouldn’t be until the man’s next 2 albums Veteran at the beginning of 2018 & then All My Heroes are Cornballs last fall where he would earn respect across the board & reveal himself as one of the most creative minds in hip hop today. However after spending 2020 dropping a slew of singles, Peggy is compiling some of them together in the form of EP.

The opener “BALD!” gets on the battle bar tip over a cloudy instrumental whereas the next song “Covered in Money!” gets braggadocious over a glitch hop beat. The track “BODYGUARD!” is a full-blown alternative R&B cut about not wanting to go to war with his lover over a lusciously slow piano instrumental & then the song right after is a “BALD!” remix with a new Denzel Curry verse that I actually prefer more than the OG version.

The track “Cutie Pie!” compares his haters to Milli Vanilli over a boom bappy instrumental while “The Bends!” takes aim at Donald Trump over a sparse, quirky beat. The penultimate track “Rough 7” with Tommy Genesis sees the 2 over an instrumental that heavily samples Brandy’s “Never Say Never” & then the closer “living single” talks about this woman who’ll always be a part of him over an ethereal trap beat.

Pretty sure we’ve all heard these singles 1-by-1 but as an EP experience, it just makes them even better in my personal opinion. Peggy does a great job at continuing to show how versatile he can be & his production is still cutting edge. Really looking forward to hear where he takes things on his next album, hopefully in 2021.

Score: 4/5

JPEGMAFIA – “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” review

JPEGMAFIA is a 29 year old rapper & producer from Baltimore, Maryland that made his debut in 2016 with Black Ben Carson. A solid album at that, but it wouldn’t be until the beginning of 2018 where he dropped his critically acclaimed sophomore effort Veteran. Which I personally regret not reviewing when it first came out, because it truly revealed Peggy as a fresh new face in the experimental hip hop scene. But as we’re about to enter the final quarter of 2019, the man‘s hitting us with his 3rd full-length album.

The hilariously titled opener “Jesus Forgive Me, I’m a Thot” finds Peggy praying for a number of things over a somewhat cloudy instrumental while the next song “Kenan vs. Kel” finds him attacking his enemies over a dreamy beat that later has an abrasive switch-up. The track “Beta Male Strategies” is pretty much a jab at keyboard warriors over a psychedelic instrumental & after the trippy “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT” interlude, the song “Grimy Waifu” talks about murder over a gorgeous acoustic instrumental.

The track “PTSD” talks about the titular mental disorder over an atmospheric yet glitchy beat while the song “Rap Grown Old & Die x No Child Left Behind” talks about a life cycle over a distorted boom bap beat. The title track finds him bragging over a spacious beat while the song “BBW” talks about his success over a mellow beat. The track “PRONE!” finds Peggy talks about snitching a chaotic beat that switches into something more soothing for the outro while “Life’s Hard, Here’s a Song about Sorrel” is a 1 minute interlude where Peggy sings pretty beautifully.

The track “Thot Tactics” needs no further explanation over a meditative beat while the song “Free the Frail” talks about shit being outta his hands over an slow yet infectiously atmospheric beat. The track “Post Verified Lifestyle” continues to address his newfound fame over a dreamlike instrumental while the song “BasicBitchTearGas” is an awkward 1-minute cover of the iconic TLC joint “No Scrubs”. The next track with Buzzy Lee is a decent remix of the “DOTS FREESTYLE” that Peggy did with Kenny Beats for The Cave. The “BUTTERMILK JESUS TYPE BEAT” is mostly this wavy interlude & then the album finishes off with “Papi I Missed You”, where Peggy talks about racism over a spacey beat.

This is easily the man’s best work to date. The production is more creative & Peggy shows his versatility a lot more on this one from his angry rapping to his catchy & melodic singing.

Score: 4.5/5