JPEGMAFIA is a rapper that the internet loves to hate.
His last album, Veteran, propelled him to one of underground rap’s most welcome stars. Anger flowed all throughout Veteran. With track titles like “I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies”, it could be easily surmised that JPEGMAFIA was a rapper that was ready for confrontation. It’s a project that, at one look, may seem gimmicky. Yet, Peggy’s refreshing in-your-face lyricism and layered production proved that he is worth taking a look at.
All My Heroes are Cornballs can be seen as a welcome, if not an unorthodox sequel to 2018’s Veteran. Cornballs still possesses Peggy’s trademark sense of humor (“Grimy Waifu” is literally an ode to his gun), but the moments that impress the most are when the music is somber and meditative.
The majority of the marketing for this album was centered around the album being a “disappointment.” While there is certainly a tongue-in-cheek element in that statement, it’s easy to see the truth layered beneath the sarcasm. Cornballs shows Peggy experimenting in new mannerisms. He is singing more than on his previous releases and the subject of mental health comes up prevalently.
Production, as always, is a noticeable highlight, but there aren’t as many ragers as on Veteran or Black Ben Carson. There aren’t any punishing moments like “Baby I’m Bleeding” or “Real Nega”. Instead, Peggy opts for mostly experimental melancholy tunes that show his softer side and challenge traditional masculine behavior.
“Free the Frail” and “Post Verified Lifestyle” detail a vulnerable artist that has gone through hell to make it to the top, but is now facing the ramifications of his success. The emotional potency is on full display.
Peggy’s anger may not the focal point, but it’s still present. The lyrics on Cornballs still hit incredibly hard. The aforementioned “Beta Male Strategies” has some amazing quotes and “PRONE” may have the best takedown of a right-wing politician ever.
One shot turn Steve Bannon into Steve Hawking“PRONE”
One of the main draws to JPEGMAFIA’s music is his creative use of sampling. Peggy does everything himself, notably even creating the clicking sound from Veteran’s “Thug Tears” with a pen. His approach to producing could be akin to an alchemist trying to mix new ingredients together for new potions. He’s an nimble producer that is able to conjure up sounds that feel as if they come from the deepest and darkest corners of the internet.
The samples that are peppered throughout can seem haphazardly thrown around, but they help in immersing the listener into the type of world that A situation that many artists have been; now it’s his turn. “Beta Male Strategies,” a mellow track about online tough-guys submerges the listener in its ethereal embrace. The instrumental gorgeously flows from its murky diaphanousness into “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT”, which parodies “type-beat” culture.
Rap been so good to me, I hope it get me canceled (Oh)“Beta Male Strategies”
Y’all hope that I’ll be dead soon (Huh)
Ooh, bitch, I must be scarin’ you (Hey, oh)
All My Heroes are Cornballs is JPEGMAFIA’s magnum opus. It’s an album about the internet for the internet. No other album this year encapsulates the wild internet hellscape. It’s is a technical marvel that showcases an artist who is, ultimately, having trouble with his newfound fame.