Going into JPEGMAFIA’s new record, Veteran, I didn’t really expect anything. Only hearing his single with Freaky “I Might Vote 4 Donald Trump” before diving into this new release, to say that I wasn’t ready is an understatement.
The way this man blends what seems to be the entire internet into this heady, colorful and bump-worthy record is truly admirable. Starting with what sounds like an experimental take on the playful trap sound Playboi Carti is known for, “1539 N. Calvert” is the perfect opener for this masterpiece. The pulsing 808s and chopped up snares and high hits buried under Peggy’s absurdist lyrics like “I need all my bitches same color as Drake,” makes for an undeniable combination.
Going through every sound on this record is like exploring the deep sea. Things are commonly buried under multiple layers of noise or distortion that slowly get peeled back with each listen. For example, it took many listens to realize that the familiar warbles of autotune hanging in the back of “Williamsburg” were samples of Travis Scott’s “Butterfly Effect”. There are seemingly infinite hidden samples in this thing, so it’s best not to go through them all, but just know that they’re there.
The lyrics on this record can’t be ignored either. Usually hilarious, witty, head-turning, nerdy and offensive, Peggy doesn’t hold back anything on this thing and I love it. Right down to the song titles (See “I Can’t Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies”), there is a certain dark humour displayed here that is rare in the hip-hop landscape. Peggy tackles issues from his least favorite video game message board (“My Thoughts On Neogaf Dying”), to needing “a bitch with long hair like Myke C-Town” (“1539 N. Calvert”), to even political issues on tracks like “1488”. I also didn’t want to go on without discussing “Rainbow Six”, which not only features an insane verse from Yung Midpack, but also looming, eerie production and consistent intensity that is missing from modern music in general. The pacing on this song is really immaculate.
Ultimately, I fucking love this album. Jpegmafia has made a modern classic that might be too truthful and weird for the masses, but for those who can handle it, it’s a must listen. Without a doubt one of the best records of the year and possibly one of the best rap records of the decade, Peggy shocked me with this release and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next.