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JPEGMAFIA - LP! Music Album Reviews

JPEGMAFIA - LP! Music Album Reviews
Though just as charged and confrontational as any of his other projects, the rapper’s latest album is uninhibited and proud of it.

The chip on JPEGMAFIA’s shoulder has only grown bigger with time. His music—a blend of rap, noise, and punk filtered through the cultural vacuum of the internet—has always existed in the space between brash and sly, hollowing out the center of that Venn diagram with a jagged shovel. Every project, from 2015’s Communist Slow Jams onward, sways from hazy synths to bludgeoning boom-bap to earnest covers of pre-Y2K ballads on a dime, mixing and matching the styles as fresh perspectives on a well-established formula. His two breakout records—2018’s independent Veteran and his 2019 major-label debut All My Heroes Are Cornballs—mine from different ends of the noise-rap spectrum, but JPEG’s humor and world-weary thoughts on racism and music industry bullshit are the adapters through which he’s able to process any musical energy. His rage is palpable while being offset by a deep passion for craft and left-field pop culture reference.

JPEG’s notoriety has increased exponentially since the late 2010s, netting him guest spots on tours with Vince Staples and his first entry on the Billboard 200 with Cornballs. This rise has also eroded what little patience he had for the rap industry machine, and on his latest project, LP!, his final under EQT and Republic, he’s practically bursting a vein at the idea of freedom: “My time in the music industry is over because I refuse to be disrespected by people who aren’t [behaving] respectably in the first place,” he said in a note on the album’s Bandcamp page. LP! supercharges the ire and catharsis of this moment in his career, playing up the contrast between JPEG’s abrasive cheekiness and his warmest batch of beats to date.

For starters, LP! has been released in two forms: the “Online” version—uploaded to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, etc.—and the “Offline” version available on YouTube and Bandcamp, which boasts a handful of extra songs, extended versions of existing ones, and a slightly tweaked tracklist. Even the project’s title—the most basic descriptor imaginable with an exclamation point at the end—feels like a middle finger or at least a metatextual rib poke.

JPEG’s sense of humor is clearly intact, and his myriad influences continue to pull his work in strange directions. A three-song run near the middle of the album typifies these strengths: The ghostly wails and funky bass behind JPEG’s thundering voice on “REBOUND!” are immediately followed by “💯,” a sea of synths flowing around a warped vocal sample. And then there’s “OG!,” which takes a sampled beatbox and rapping session and adds drums that blast like mortar shots. One moment he’s shouting out Bad Bunny and the late MF DOOM, and the next he’s interpolating Britney Spears’ “...Baby One More Time.” This fusion of past and present is playful without feeling contrived, the beats’ minimal nature never diluting the raw mashups on display.

LP! has enough laughs and smirks to scan as an overall fun time, but the lyrics further plumb the depths of JPEG’s contempt for people who’ve crossed him. His aggro tendencies have always been at the forefront of his art, but there’s more venom this time, more kiss-offs, threats, and vague stories to fuel his glitchy fire. “Why would I pray for your health?/Baby, I pray for myself,” he screams on “REBOUND!” “TIRED, NERVOUS, & BROKE!” in particular, spews at various targets, including someone “buying a ticket to get beat up at my show.” For all the energy behind his vocals, there’s a dead-eyed focus to the sneak disses peppered throughout LP!. His raps land firmly within the established pockets of beats, but each song is so distinct and JPEG’s writing is so fluid and witty that no two moments within the album’s humid atmosphere sound the same. “DIKEMBE!” and single “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” rank among the best pure performances of his career, and they’re not the only highlights.

As artistically assured as JPEG sounds across LP!, the sequencing between versions of the album occasionally snags the momentum. In the Online version, the fourth song “END CREDITS!” segues seamlessly into “WHAT KIND OF RAPPIN’ IS THIS?” while the Offline version smash cuts from “CREDITS” to the bonus tracks “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” and “GOD DON’T LIKE UGLY.” “HAZARD” and “UGLY!” are good songs on their own, but they would have benefitted from a later placement. JPEG claims the Offline version is the one he stands behind the most, his way to circumvent sample clearance issues and an attempt to pull a Frank Ocean on his former label and keep his true artistic intentions in-house. If that’s the case, the sequence and the few unnecessary tracks derail an otherwise tight experience.

That sense of chaos has always come with the JPEGMAFIA brand. He isn’t just a collage of his influences and experiences—they all flow through him simultaneously. It’s the laughter, anger, and passion of a rap fanatic unafraid to declare his love for Terror Squad, AEW wrestling, and twinkling synths that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Hatsune Miku song. None of these things are foreign to rap, but none of them play out quite like they do on a JPEGMAFIA song. Though just as charged and confrontational as any of his other albums, LP! is uninhibited and proud of it, shit-talk from the eye of an ever-evolving storm.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
JPEGMAFIA - LP! Music Album Reviews JPEGMAFIA - LP! Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, November 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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