Let’s be honest here. JPEGMAFIA at its worst is what many contemporary rappers wish to be best.
From humble beginnings in the provocative “Communist Slow Jams” mixtape, the Brooklyn-born rapper has continuously defied not only the politics of his listeners, but their musical expectations as well. The sound of JPEGMAFIA, a combination of often harsh and aggressive raps on genre instrumentals that demolish the gospel, electronics and even the moans of one of the Wu-Tang Clan members, consistently addresses topics such as the rise systemic racism of the alt-right and Internet culture.
And now the rapper has continued that avant-garde, kaleidoscopic sound with “LP! », His latest album.
Released on October 22, “LP!” follows in the footsteps of two previous JPEGMAFIA critical darlings: “Veteran” and “All My Heroes Are Cornballs”. Listeners should be very familiar with what the rapper brings to the table: satirical critiques of the music industry on glitchy beats, aggressive take-downs of both personal and political enemies, clever punches against popular figures and the rapper himself. Peggy, as her fans often call her, is still in her prime.
The sound of “LP! Closely mirrors his previous two EPs, creatively titled “EP!” And “EP2!” 一 and their sound, which is notably more commercial than his previous albums. There are also two versions of the album: the “online” version, which is live on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and the “offline” version, which cuts some of the hit singles included in ” EP! ” and “EP2!” to include new songs on sites like Bandcamp.
According to JPEGMAFIA, the inclusion of exclusive tracks in the offline version was a result of the music labels not allowing it to use certain samples in its tracklist.
THE LABLES BE LIKE “PROVE ME IT IS NOT A SAMPLE SHOW ME HOW YOU DO IT WITH YOUR OWN HANDS AND FEET” AS U NIGGA IS NOT MUSICALLY illiterate. JUST SAY YOU DON’T TRUST ME. THIS IS BETTER FOR EVERYBODY SO.
– JPEGMAFIA (@darkskinmanson) October 13, 2021
“LP! Is perhaps JPEGMAFIA in its most accessible and conservative form. Despite the capital letters, the labeling with an exclamation point, “LP! Never quite reaches the creative sampling and abrasive screams that Peggy is famous for. That doesn’t mean the songs are bad – well, apart from the song “NEMO! », Whose sticky beat crushes the ear like a kind of parasitic villain. In fact, most of the songs are pretty good. The lyrics are precise, the instrumentals are creative and fun, but after a while many songs start to sound exhaustingly alike, following similar structures and instrumental changes. It’s JPEGMAFIA, but JPEGMAFIA was prepared and organized, and the rapper’s luster has faded with polish.
And maybe the reason why “LP!” sounds a bit more commercial than the rapper’s last two critical hits might have been due to the music industry itself.
At the bottom of the offline version of “LP!” on Bandcamp, JPEGMAFIA expresses his dissatisfaction with the music industry and his label Republic Records, which released the rapper’s last two EPs in the past year. According to the press release, his label “never had my best interests at heart”, favoring the rapper’s fame over the quality of his work.
“This is my last release under a label,” said JPEGMAFIA. “From that day forward I’m free as hell, freer than I already was, something I haven’t felt for a long time.”
Hardcore JPEGMAFIA fans know that since the rapper signed a recording deal with Republic Records, his production has been… different. His last two EPs have been criticized by fans for being significantly sweeter than “Veteran” and “All My Heroes Were Cornballs” and “LP!” also suffers from this problem.
Throughout the album there is a potential harshness that is never quite reached, a final brake that never quite finishes the opponent. The “online” version suffers even more from Peggy’s forced marketing, as the poorly planned tracklist prioritizes the rapper’s hit singles. Just the outro, two consecutive readings of the hit single “BALD!” Completely remove listeners from the experience.
And don’t get me wrong, “BALD! is a great single. It’s fast, catchy, fun, and I’ve even used it in some of my live DJ sets. But that doesn’t add anything to the album, and I think that says a lot about the offline version of “LP!” omit it.
Regardless of the influence of the foodie music industry on the creative output of JPEGMAFIA, “LP!” remains a very good album. I’m not going to applaud the album like the reviews from NME and Stereogum, but I’m also not going to disagree with their good reviews. It’s a hell of a good album, and if you’re going to release it, I highly, highly recommend that you listen to the offline version. It’s too good to pass up, according to the rapper’s Twitter.
THANK YOU ALL FOR HOLDING ME! THANKS FOR BUMPING LP! IT’S NICE!
– JPEGMAFIA (@darkskinmanson) 22 October 2021
It’s unclear where the future of JPEGMAFIA will take the rapper, especially now that the rapper has said goodbye to the mainstream music industry. But one thing is certain: Peggy always does her best.