Although the album contains some redundant tracks, its chaotic sound is powerful.
from Jack Hargrove
| 11/11/21 2:05 am
With his fourth full-length album in five years, “LP!”, JPEGMAFIA is strengthening its reputation as one of the most experimental hip-hop artists of our time.
JPEGMAFIA, also known as Peggy, released his debut album “Black Ben Carson” in 2016, but many, including myself, were introduced to his music with “Veteran” in 2018. With its eclectic samples, incoherent production and dark tone, “Veteran” laid the foundation for the music Peggy would make in the future. His follow-up album “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” improved this style further and landed at number five My list of the top ten albums of 2019.
Since then, Peggy has released two EPs and now “LP!” For which he did the entire production. The album refines its experimental electronic hip-hop with aggressive lyrics and flows and is chaotic. While “LP!” Is too long and bloated in places, its good songs are really good and it marks another successful period in Peggy’s career.
It is important to note that there are two versions of the album: the “online” version, which is released on streaming services, and the “offline” version, which is available on free platforms such as YouTube and Bandcamp. The most likely reason for the existence of multiple versions is that Peggy was unable to release some of the samples originally used from their owners. Each version contains some songs that the other does not, although the “online” version is slightly shorter. For the purposes of this review, I will only be referring to the 18-track “online” version as it is the version of the album that most casual listeners will come across.
Peggy makes it clear right away that “LP!” Will not sound like a typical hip-hop album with the opening song “TRUST!”. The production is dominated by strange synths, a hallmark of Peggy’s experimental electronic style. While the lyrics of the song are simple, the unconventional instrumental immediately catches the ear. This effect is used in the third song, “NEMO! which contains synthesizers that sound almost mushy. The fact that Peggy delivers such a great flow with such erratic production is testament to his ability as a rapper.
Other tracks on the album demonstrate Peggy’s unique ability to produce songs that sound both completely disjointed and somehow cohesive. The seventh track “ARE U HAPPY?” Is the embodiment of pure chaos; Samples of not only robotic techno music, but also spoken word pages and sung vocals are mixed up and make it impossible for the listener to settle into any kind of groove. However, Peggy masters this cacophony so well that it becomes one of the most enjoyable songs on the album.
The aforementioned “NEMO!” Is another demonstration of Peggy’s mastery of chaos. The entire track is out of whack and denies the listener any kind of break. While the high-pitched synthesizer melody makes up the most notable part of the song, it often goes out without warning, keeping the listener busy.
Many of the songs on the album are more like mainstream hip-hop songs, although each retains its own flair. The second track, “DIRTY!”, Is more in the style of the opener of Peggy’s second album “Veteran” “1539 N. Calvert”. While his production is more relaxed than other songs, his lyrics and flows are intense and show Peggy’s ability to express emotion. The eighth track “REBOUND!” – one of the best on the album – follows in a similar direction. Its production is defined by a booming, deep horn sample that creates a deep anchor for the track that prevents it from becoming too turbulent.
Other songs that demonstrate Peggy’s mastery over a more traditional hip-hop style are “DAM! DAM! DAMM! “And” BMT! “The former is one of the quieter tracks on the album, with a soaring keyboard riff in production. Conversely, the latter is one of the heaviest, with a blown out bassline and spiteful lyrics. Both show Peggy’s ability to combine your own niche styles with existing sounds.
Lyrically, Peggy sums up his style with a line on the fourth track “END CREDITS!”: “And I only rap out of defiance / loss is the theme of my life.” On this album, Peggy most prominently disses the New York hip-hop duo Armand Hammer. On “REBOUND!” Peggy raps: “N – as named after baking powder, but I’ve never touched a damn cola in your town”, an indication of the similarity between the name of Armand Hammer and the baking powder from Arm & Hammer.
Despite all the fantastic songs on “LP!” There are a few that feel unnecessary for the album. The tracks “OG!” And “KISSY, FACE EMOJI!” Are both uninteresting in contrast to other dynamic and unusual songs. Likewise, the longest track on the album, “SICK, NERVOUS & BROKE!” Is not exciting enough to justify its five and a half minutes running time.
The last three songs are also strange. All three appeared on Peggy’s 2020 EP “EP!” And while all of them are good songs, they feel pinned to the end of the album to fill in the running time lost to songs that have no deleted samples. This is especially true for the last two tracks, as the closer “SOON! REMIX ”is a small variation of the penultimate track“ SOON! ”. These tracks seem jam-packed and make for a disappointing end to the album.
Overall, despite its bloating, “LP!” marks a further development in Peggy’s unique niche style. In addition, the track “THOT’S PRAYER!” Contains a strong interpolation of Britney Spears’ hit “… Baby One More Time” from 1998 and makes “LP!” Peggy’s second full-length album in a row, on which he covers a classic pop song; on “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” the song “BasicBitchTearGas” is practically a cover of TLC’s 1999 hit “No Scrubs”. This kind of connection between the albums creates a nice recall for long-time Peggy fans and shows the artistic consistency of his albums. The highs of the album are very high and are among the best songs he has ever created. These tracks, especially “REBOUND!”, “NEMO!” And “BIST DU GLÜCKLICH?” Feel like a natural evolution of the sounds of “Veteran” and “All My Heroes Are Cornballs”. Overall, “LP!” Is another great chapter in Peggy’s discography and a nice collection of songs.