Vinyl Review: 'All My Heroes Are Cornballs' by JPEGMAFIA
Ever since I have met Finn, there are very few artists who we enjoy to the exact same extent. There have been artists where our liking is very similar, but identical enjoyment is very rare. But, one artist who we both love equally is JPEGMAFIA. We will sit for hours blasting his albums with no complainants in the world. So, as a very late one-year anniversary of the experimental wonderland All My Heroes Are Cornballs, I asked to infiltrate Finn’s freshly-started Vinyl Review segment and asked if we could collaborate. After the request was granted, Finn and I sat down for 45 minutes and just listened. After talking and gathering our thoughts, we posed a few questions to answer of how we felt about the vinyl. Without further ado, here is our review of the vinyl.
We should start off simple. Overall thoughts on the vinyl?
Finn: I’m sorry, but you're genuinely capping if you do not have this record in your collection. AMHAC used to be an album that was too random and “out there” for my taste. However, after listening to this album copious amounts of times, I fell in love. Luckily, Peggy’s creativity and uniqueness spans past his lyricism and production, and bleeds into his physical art. Hints of his classic “digital” style appear on the inner rings of the vinyl, and also on the back of the record cover. He contrasts this font choice by depicting himself in a mysterious, grainy photo in front of a small, barred-up cottage. Per usual, JPEG’s artistic vision exceeded my expectations.
Marty: Wow. When I first heard AMHAC, I knew it was going to be a classic. It has been just over a year and I still think that very thought. We got the opportunity to listen to the limited-edition vinyl, and the cover art alone was beautiful. Whether it is the super unique cloth that drapes over Peggy’s face—leaving him barely exposed—or the lyrics stamped all over vinyl sleeves, you can obviously see the time and effort JPEG puts in to make his artistic shelf-life everlasting.
On this album, there is only one feature: Helena Deland. Most of it is just straight Peggy. After listening to the vinyl, if you could pick any track to have a feature to accompany Peggy, who would it be? Which song?
Finn: The complexity behind Peggy’s production makes this decision very difficult for myself. However, after witnessing the unbelievable collaboration between Denzel Curry and Peggy on “BALD REMIX,” I do not think there would be a more appropriate choice. Each artist utilizes quick, erratic sounds in the background to complement their intense, rapid rapping style.
Onto the song choice. I think Denzel’s tenacity would work best on “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT.” This bonkers and eccentric song incorporates the usual hardcore beat each artist tends to move towards. The switch-up to a chorus of upbeat synths mixed with claps provides a perfect spot for Curry to hop on the track.
Marty: You know what would be pretty fire? A Solange feature on “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot.” If Solange would do some background vocals or possibly do a chorus, I feel like Solange’s slow and elegant vocal performances would match Peggy’s autotune in a way that would create a divine and feminine nuance to experimental rap. I feel like each of their characteristics would encapsulate the Platonic ideology “Form of Beauty” justly.
What’s the difference in sound between the vinyl and streaming?
Finn: I personally found the pitch of Peggy’s voice to be a little on the higher side, compared to what you would experience on streaming services. I would not, however, consider this a poor thing. The way the higher frequencies of his voice complement the R&B undertones is beyond perfect. Songs like “Thot Tactics” and “Papi I Missed You” exemplify this flawlessly. The overall sound quality of the vinyl may be slightly limited, but it honestly fits the image perfectly.
Marty: While listening, I definitely noticed the sonic differences in the autotune when comparing the autotune on streaming services vs. the autotune on the vinyl. The vinyl autotune is muffled in a pleasing way. Some may say that the quality is poorer on the vinyl, but I would say it adds a sort of antique feeling to it. Peggy made the vinyl sound like it was compressed in the 40s, but it has an extreme “ahead of its time” feel. This musical aesthetic enhanced the listening experience and the innovation of the record morphed excellent songs like “Kenan Vs. Kel” and “Grimy Waifu” into some of my favorite songs of all time. Something about vinyl, man...
What’s your favorite AMHAC fact about this album?
Finn: Whilst getting our final listen in on the album, Marty was trying to read the lyrics to “Life’s Hard, Here’s a Song About Sorrel” off of the vinyl sleeve. We were both left dumbfounded to see that the vinyl sleeve included completely different lyrics from the actual song. Even weirder, the lyrics that appeared on the sleeve were actually the lyrics to Rich Brian and Joji’s collaborative song “Where does the time go?” The meaning behind this is still questioned on the daily by Peggy fans. Whether it be a misprint or a meaningful placement, it lines up with a classic JPEGMAFIA play.
Marty: This mofo sampled his own damn song. In the song “Grimy Waifu,” JPEG literally sampled “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT.” This goes to show that JPEGMAFIA sets challenges for himself day-in and day-out just to prove to everyone how intelligent he is. And if I couldn’t pick that, I would say that Steven Spielberg's daughter plays the flute.
JPEGMAFIA has a distinct style in his art that is infused into his music. How does this make him more of a creative artist?
Finn: JPEGMAFIA’s artistry is unmatched. When it comes to his music, his style can be characterized as hardcore rap infused with R&B. On AMHAC, especially, there are slight amounts of alternative undertones. This genre mixing is an art form in its own, however, the seamless bond between the three that Peggy produces perfectly emulates the uniqueness that he strives for. For example, the song “Free the Frail” employs a calming guitar riff whilst Helena Deland hums melodically. It then progresses into a classic Peggy track. He transitions perfectly between rapping and singing in a soul-like manner.
Marty: I would like to call this “JPEGMAFIA’s Artistic Aesthetic.” If you scroll through his Instagram or watch his YouTube videos, you can see that he has created this super creative and artistic aura around him that he uses to promote his music from all different aspects. He has hidden songs placed in almost every one of his HTBAR’s (The YouTube series he posts every few weeks talking to artists around the nation). He makes all of his music free. His cinematography and photography have a distinct style that is gravitating. JPEGMAFIA has mastered every artistic aspect and has cultivated this into his own. It is beautiful to observe; it has as many layers as an onion.
Is this your favorite JPEG album?
Finn: All My Heroes Are Cornballs is constantly progressing closer and closer to my favorite JPEG album. However, I have been stuck on his debut album Black Ben Carson ever since Marty first put me on JPEGMAFIA last September.
Marty: Yes. Not a single doubt in my mind.
What would you love to see from Peggy in the future?
Finn: I would genuinely love to see JPEGMAFIA release a complimentary album to Black Ben Carson. Peggy has never been afraid of speaking his mind when it comes to politics, and this is proven throughout the entirety of that album. With this album being released in 2016, JPEG has had four years to fine-tune his viewpoints and develop more maturity in the political world. I think this would be an absolutely wonderful experiment.
Marty: I would love to see him make some songs with Club Black Dust, which contains Zillakami, JPEGMAFIA, Denzel Curry, and Slowthai. They have yet to make a song, and with COVID, trying to get Britain's Slowthai could be an issue, but they would make absolutely amazing songs.
JPEGMAFIA has some weird song names, to say the least. In a Genius interview for “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am Thot,” when asked about the titles of his songs, he said, “The title can be what-the-fuck-ever. It’s for stupid n***** to get mad at.” Since they are very direct and blunt, what are the best Peggy song names?
Finn: “BasicBitchTearGas” is most definitely at the top of my list for song names. This man’s song titles always have me in hysterics.
Marty: “I Cannot Fucking Wait Til Morrissey Dies” is a pretty funny one. I mean, the song name speaks for itself.
Vinyl Review: 10/10
Album Review: 10/10