Starting off his 2021 campaign, experimental hip hop titan JPEGMAFIA is back with a sequel to his critically acclaimed 2020 project EP!. Being a follow-up to one of the most renowned extended play’s in recent memory, will Peggy be able to surpass these extremely high expectations with EP2!?
Through every moment, JPEGMAFIA’s artistic display is undoubtedly present, but he seems to miss on the shock-factor and creativity that made his last record so special. For starters, we are only ever exposed to the 31-year-olds melodic side, and while it’s traditionally enjoyable for a quick bridge or mood-altering tone change, having it be the only utilized vocal definition makes for an overall boring journey. There is no abrasiveness, crazy stylistic flips, and the robotic-like coating over the Flatbush native’s rhyming sucks the life out of moments like “FIX URSELF!” and “KELTEC!”. The opening song, “LAST DANCE!” is the initial moment where this precedent is set, and its staleness only heightens through the EP’s 18 minutes of running time. To a lesser extent, the flows are also very redundant, which further boxes in this artist who is known for his creative freedom and liberty. “FEED HER!” shows the worst of these to two factors as JPEG’s lifeless flow and distasteful autotune lead to the otherwise solid experience to crumble within his hands. “THIS ONES FOR US!” was definitely the cut that stood out the most as Peggy reduced the autotune to a minimum while he spits a well-layered verse that alludes to many issues he and others trapped within the modern world endure. “PANIC ROOM!” was another point of interest due to its more lively atmosphere, which is echoed through the more hectic tone in Peggy’s delivery. As a whole, the style JPEGMAFIA aimed to captivate listeners with doesn’t pan out as expected, but his integral mistakes and strong songwriting save this from being a total disaster.
Behind the boards, JPEGMAFIA curates a soundscape that is nothing groundbreaking for his standards but solid nonetheless. Unorthodox patterns, odd sample choices, and a sprinkle of unpredictability are the main factors that make the production so intriguing. The definite standouts here are “FIX URSELF!” and its predecessor “INTRO!” which glorifies the experimental king’s sonic versatility with his fusion of a marching band ballad over a minimal electric instrumental. Aside from those, moments such as the gloomy “LAST DANCE!” and terror-mongering “PANIC ROOM!” stick out with their top-notch sound arrangments. In retrospect, the production job embodies elements of Peggy’s musical brilliance, but it does the bare minimum to stick out when looking at the rest of his discography.
While EP2! is not a bad by any means, I can safely say it’s JPEGAMFIA’s worst record to date. His vocals come off relatively stale, and despite the production being above average, it clearly doesn’t match the quality of his previous scores have. Going forward, I wouldn’t be worried about JPEGMAFIA’s future as this seems to be a quick cash grab, but I hope to never see him rush something out like this again.
- Good production
- Humorous lyricism
- Great songwriting
- JPEGMAFIA’s least innovative project
- Most tracks are forgettable
- Flow feels stale
- Autotuned vocals get super repetitive and plague almost the experience as a whole