Experimental Rap | Hip-Hop
JPEGMAFIA truly sticks out like a sore thumb in the rap game, and I mean that in the best way possible. I was mind-blown by his third studio album, 2019's All My Heroes Are Cornballs, which equally served as my full-on introduction to JPEG and his mind-mashingly surreal sound and satirically dark aesthetic.
And after the year of 2019, it felt that Peggy was more than deserving of a short break 1n 2020. And yet, he still manage to dish out so many tunes that year, which gave me the hope of another project being imminently on the horizon. What we eventually got, while still satisfying to see, wasn’t quite what I expected.
It was unfortunate that the release of EP! was so close to the end of 2020, If only it had arrived a week or so earlier, I would’ve reviewed it, no questions asked. But given that it was released at a time where all of my focus was towards the end of year lists for 2020, EP! didn’t quite make it, and instead only popped up as an honourable mention on my top 15 EPs list.
But thankfully, with the far more recent release of the not-too-far-behind follow up, EP2!, it gave me the incentive to kill two birds with one stone, and review both EPs at once.
Besides which, I feel that EP! could’ve easily snagged the top spot on my end of year EP list, or at least have come close to that, if not for the fact that it was released so late in 2020. JPEGMAFIA approached his music similarly to how Gorillaz had done in that same year, which was clearly a success in my eyes. Even the track that came completely fresh with the release of EP!, such as “ROUGH 7”, and “SUPER TUESDAY!”, felt completely unique and well thought out.
Where Peggy unfortunately loses me a tiny bit more, is with the release of EP2!. In my mind, it almost felt like Peggy spent 2020 planning the first of these two EP’s out, but then felt an urge to release one more project, which boils my feelings towards EP2! down to it being more of an afterthought.
Don’t get me wrong; this EP does have some awesome tracks on it too, it was mainly just how it was put together that I have problems with. The fact that this EP have two less tracks than its predecessor, along with how swiftly it was released, were two small yet instant red flags that popped up in my critical brain.
But the biggest issue of all for me, was what Peggy had done to “FIX URSELF”. Being released earlier this year as a standalone single, “FIX URSELF” was yet another very solid track, and felt pretty perfect the way it was. So why had he gone and sliced the thing clean in half, and laid the two halves out as two seperate tracks on EP2!? With the introductory half of the track now being titled as “INTRO”, despite being track 2 of the EP, and the latter part retaining the tracks original name, it didn’t leave me as invested in the track as I was before. And the biggest crime of all of this, was that it gives the illusion that EP2! is more substantial than it really is. If you put “FIX URSELF” back together and, forgive the pun, FIX it, you really only have a six track EP, shortly limping behind the 9 tracks of the preceding EP.
Which really begs the question; couldn’t these two EPs have just been an album in the first place? While I appreciate the idea of JPEGMAFIA staying true to his uniqueness and throwing in a curveball wherever and whenever he can, but the choice of release dates for both EPs were poorly thought out in my opinion. Otherwise, they could’ve worked much better.
But if we’re talking about the music alone, EP! is still a pretty flawless piece, which I don’t really have a bone to pick, in that regard. And even EP2! carries a fair share of awesome tunes. Credit where credit is due, I also appreciate that “LAST DANCE!” also finally got some love, thanks to EP2!
While delivered in a possibly too unorthodox fashion for my liking, these two projects together actually carry some of JPEGMAFIA’s most dynamic and exciting musical works to date.
Favourite Tracks of EP!: BALD! | living single | SUPER TUESDAY!
Least Favourite Track of EP!: BALD! REMIX
Favourite Tracks of EP2!: LAST DANCE! | PANIC ROOM! | FEED HER!
Least Favourite Track of EP2!: KELTEC!
EQT Recordings | LLC | Republic Records | UMG | PEGGY
Enjoyment: ★★★★★ | Memorability: ★★★★ | Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★★ | Satisfaction: ★★★★★ | Narrative: ★★★★
Final Score: ★★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★ | Memorability: ★★★ | Atmosphere: ★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★★ | Satisfaction:★★ | Narrative: ★★★★