Jpegmafia - All My Heroes Are Cornballs (EQT Recordings)
Ever since the K.Dot dropped his infamous bars on the Big Sean track “Control” hip hop and rap has been in something of a flux. Mumblecore has exploded, Trap has become arguably the most successful sub-genre within the scene and rappers now have realised they are as capable of recording, releasing and becoming a hit off self-produced work as they are with a dozen press officers and publicists selling them.
Jpegmafia seem to realise this and has released an album that is as inventive and as genre mashing as you can find in the current crop of hip-hop artists. All My Heroes Are Cornballs stands striding the delicate divide between trap music and R&B and constantly surprises for the entirety of its 45-minute runtime. At times it can be a bit much, skittish and edited in a weird ADHD haze. Tracks disintegrate and melt into each other and fall apart as the songs progress – there is a disjointed, disorientating feeling permeating the entire runtime but in terms of his flow and his lyrical prowess it is fresh, sharp and ticks all the boxes you would expect.
Sadly, the short attention span on show can sometimes distract heavily from the overall quality on offer and his vocals – as clean and crisp as he comes across – can be a tad weak and songs can come across like the potential was wasted after a lot of slow build up and then no real delivery.
As a sonic experiment it sounds amazing, but sadly, like with track “Kenan V. Kel”, the sum of its parts does not necessarily equate to worthy product. Were he to just spit bars over the often-sumptuous musical output it may have been a lot more engaging, as it is, the album misses more often than it hits.
A sad, wasted opportunity to push the boundary and blaze a trail.