JPEGMafia is anything but your conventional rapper. Even just one glance at his newest album, All My Heroes Are Cornballs, will tell you that much. The burgeoning rap star, affectionately nicknamed Peggy, is pictured in a flowing androngynous robe and sporting an expression that lies somewhere between mischievous and downright eerie.
But his visual aesthetic is by no means the only realm of his that is rife with experimentation. Peggy himself produces the instrumental material he raps over. Consequently, the finished beats are stretched to a sonic space that matches the avant-garde style of the artist. This sound is not for the faint of heart. JPEGMafia instrumentals can be aggressive, they can be abrasive, but interestly enough they can also be self-aware.
The fourth track on his September release is cleverly titled “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT” and intersperses ad-libs from the rapper with electronic chaos before mellowing into the next track. This is but one of many examples across the project where Peggy is willing, almost eager, to let his listeners know that he considers himself to be a generational artist. A creator who innovates in his own way and on his own terms.
Peggy’s own terms see him experimenting beyond traditional rap quite frequently. Some of the most enjoyable cuts from the album, including the titular song, feature brilliantly executed singing portions with the aid of auto-tune. It is all too easy to overuse auto-tune, but Peggy demonstrates a masterful subtle touch with the effect.
JPEGMafia is clearly committed to art for art’s sake. Every nuance of album is both intentional and carefully orchestrated. While not every moment works, those that do shine brilliantly. On “BBW”, Peggy repurposes the term to crown himself the black Brian Wilson and it’s not hard to believe in his genius as he raps and sings interchangeably across the song’s short runtime.
Fans across the country are buying into the hype of JPEGMafia, including Philly. Eight of his next ten shows have already sold out. Luckily, tickets are still available for JPEGMafia in Philly on Tuesday, November 5th. As a result of its popularity, the show has moved from the First Unitarian Church to Union Transfer.