JPEGMAFIA is a 31-year-old rapper from Los Angles, California. Following the success of his critically acclaimed 2019 album All My Heroes Are Cornballs, he’s spent 2020 releasing a series of popular singles. Today, he has put together these tracks for a new project titled EP!. Throwing these acclaimed singles together, can Peggy create the EP of the year, or will this be just a careless cash-grab?
Despite being released over a span of eleven months, EP! feels like it was planned awhile ahead. The beauty here is that JPEG has so much more creative freedom than usual, as he’s not aiming towards a single idea or vision. Specifically, removing the shackles opens opportunities for us to go from the over the top “BALD!” to the aesthetically unsettling “COVERED IN MONEY!”. Building on this, Peggy goes all over the place and, most importantly, does it having fun. “BODYGUARD!” furthers this display as JPEGMAFIA’s high-pitched distorted vocals are masterfully used to cover up his depressing lyrics about his doubts toward finding a passionate lover. Just a few tracks later, “CUTIE PIE!” may just be one of the most orthodox songs the LA native has ever made as he throws away the digital effects and showcases his ability as a pure MC. “THE BENDS!” is another standout moment as the 31-year-old retaliates against American leadership for having a poor stance on social justice with vial bars like “caught a body in a maga hat”. Stated in the name, “ROUGH 7” gets bumpy as featured artist Tommy Genesis hogs the microphone for an abysmal performance, which is loaded with gross lines and an even more putrid delivery. Fortunately, “living single” finishes things out on a positive note as Peggy’s monotone raps are introspective and delusional at the same time. In all its glory, “BALD REMIX” is the ultimate climax as we see the original track with an added Denzel Curry verse where he obliterates the microphone making for one of the best lyrical tangents I’ve seen all year. While not being a concisely crafted drama like his previous works, EP! shines due to its random arrangement of subjects, which come together to make a diary of JPEGMAFIA’s thoughts.
Keeping the high standard of being one of the best producers in hip hop, JPEGMAFIA expands his niche for creating beautifully disastrous set pieces. From the get-go, the intro of “BALD!” is a journey of its own as we hear a spacey instrumental rapidly pick up traction till it lays out with full-fledged drums and base. As all Peggy records, things are always changing, and taking unexpected turns so listeners must be ready for a crazy ride. Whether it’s going from small squeaks to chopped up screams on “COVERED IN MONEY!” or the unexpected distorted finish of “living single”, Peggy continues to normalize experimental hip hop. Even the safer moments seen on “CUTIE PIE!” are still impressive due to persistent sample insertion and simple bass drum pattern. The absolute best part of JPEG’s production comes in the form of random vocal insertions. While a small detail, throwing anyone from Donald Trump to Legend of Zelda fairy Navi in the midst of a song cohesively is top tier song producing. Continuing to expand on what has made him so beloved, the soundtrack on EP! could be an instrumental record of its own.
Even with a simple eight-song and 23 minute EP, JPEGMAFIA manages to throw together one of the better projects all year. Everything about EP! is pure greatness, as JPEG gives us more insight than ever on who he is as a person. With his albums lingering around satirical concepts, we hardly see him outside these cooky characters, and while he preserves that flare here, we see some of his most down to earth moments. Going forward, Id assume JPEGMAFIA’s next major release is coming in 2021, and I’m sure it will be his best record yet!
- Jpeg’s most personal lyricism ever
- Array of different and unique vocal styles and flows being used
- Production is down perfect to the note
- Tommy Genesis’s feature ruins “ROUGH 7”
Written By: Marc Dator
Scored and edited by: Marc Dator, owner and founder of Fantastic Hip Hop