Experimental | Hip-Hop | Rap
The ex-military soldier turned singer/rapper Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, most widely known as JPEGMAFIA, has certainly established himself as a hip-hop artist that’s cut from a different cloth.
While 2018’s Veteran served as JPEGMAFIA’s sophomore album, the widespread acclaim that it received meant that it was that album that likely introduced a lot of listeners to his experimental musical craft.
But in my case specifically, it would be through his third album, 2019’s All My Heroes Are Cornballs, that I discovered JPEGMAFIA. It absolutely blew my mind just how unpredictable yet enchanting the sound of that album was. That being said, I was certainly on board the hype-train for whatever following projects that Peggy had up his sleeve.
Fast-forward to the end of last year, and fans got to see JPEGMAFIA release an EP (simply titled EP!), which essentially rounded up the majority of 2020 singles that the rapper had blessed us with. Frustratingly enough, this EP arrived just after I had finished up rounding up my favourite EP’s of that year. This was a shame, as I saw EP! as one of the best short projects 2020 had to offer.
The silver lining, however, was the release of another EP from JPEGMAFIA earlier this year. Titled EP2!, this served as a follow-up to the aforementioned first EP, and I ended up reviewing the two short projects back to back. You can take a look at my reviews for EP! and EP2! here.
But now we arrive at a far later point in the year of 2021, and I was faced with the unexpected news that Peggy was far from done with making music this year, as shown by his latest project; his fourth full-length album, LP!.
Given the namesake of this project, I was initially hit with the anxiety that this project would fit into the trope of slapping two EPs together, and calling it an album (much like what Kero Kero Bonito did with Civilisation).
To my surprise, however, LP! actually had a tonne of brand new tracks to sink my teeth into. But on top of all of the shiny new tracks, Peggy decided to cherry-pick a couple of his favourite tracks from the two aforementioned EPs, including “BALD!” and “CUTIE PIE!”. We also get to see JPEGMAFIA’s recent single “TRUST!” appear on this album as its opening track.
And with a hefty tracklist of 18 songs overall, LP! is certainly a generous offering. However, I also feel that it is a far easier pill to swallow musically, than the likes of All My Heroes Are Cornballs. This aspect can be perceived as either good or bad, depending on who you ask. But for me personally, I still feel undecided about how I feel towards that aspect alone.
Given the rappers military background, however, it was pretty awesome to see a greater amount of that spilled into the aesthetic of this album. Being especially noticeable on tracks like “NICE!” and “BMT!”, I felt that it was a nice little attempt at making LP! stand out a bit more from Peggy’s previous full-length projects.
Perhaps this album is one of those projects that will age like a fine wine, which I certainly hope is the case. But while LP! is certainly an incredibly enjoyable experience, it is equally not the most out-there and unique project he has put out either.
Favourite Tracks: ARE U HAPPY? | REBOUND! | BMT! | BALD!
Least Favourite Track: THOT’S PRAYER!
EQT Recordings | Republic Records
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 8/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10
Uniqueness: 8/10 | Satisfaction: 8/10 | Narrative: 8/10