JPEGMAFIA continues their winning streak with EP ‘OFFLINE!’ – The Oswegonian
By Jarrad Wakefield
When JPEGMAFIA released their third studio album “LP!” in October 2021, it came with some controversy. “Peggy” took to Twitter to tell his fans that he had to remove some songs from the album due to sample permission issues. However, the mafia members woke up to a wonderful surprise on February 23. That morning, JPEGMAFIA tweeted that he posted “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” streaming services. It was one of five tracks in total that had to be excluded from the streaming release of “LP!” due to sample clearance problems. However, these tracks were released on JPEGMAFIA’s YouTube and Soundcloud in a special “offline” version of the album.
On February 24, “OFFLINE!” was released on streaming services containing “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” and all previously “unreleased” tracks. “OFFLINE!” continues the incredible series of EPs and albums on which Peggy is present. It’s hard to describe what JPEGMAFIA sounds like to people who don’t listen to it or experimental hip hop in general. Peggy’s sounds and samples are eclectic and always everywhere. However, Peggy’s production on “LP!” and “OFFLINE!” tends to favor hard, industrial, lo-fi synths and drums under samples ranging from explosive to plush and understated.
“PAYMENT OF DANGER DUTIES!” is one of the best songs released by JPEGMAFIA. This track was the first single to be released during the launch of the album “LP!”, and it was enthusiastically received by fans and critics. Peggy molds and molds “Ain’t No Need to Worry” by The Winians and Anita Baker into an energetic and powerful banger. Peggy creates a sonic symphony by adding her booming drums and bright, lo-fi synths that shimmer through the mix. The chopped and reintroduced sample echoes the phrase “Sometimes we feel pain” that runs through the mix like hot fudge on a sundae. No punches are thrown lyrically as Peggy calls out rappers who falsely claim in the music industry throughout the track.
“DIKEMBÉ! is another EP highlight. JPEGMAFIA refers to NBA player Dikembe Mutombo as he tries to fight his demons and stay on top. Peggy’s production shines once again on this track. However, Peggy uses this song to loosen up her versatility in style. “DIKEMBÉ! is a subtle yet hard-hitting, groove-focused track from the EP. A haunting guitar sample intertwined with glitchy drums and fuzzy synths all contribute to the understated funky feel the song exudes. Peggy’s lyrics are like a dash of whipped cream on fresh apple pie. Its calm flow offers confident and uplifting bars to complement the richness of the rhythm.
JPEGMAFIA’s evolution in hip-hop is unmatched by nearly any artist in the genre. Releases such as “Veteran”, “All My Heroes Are Cornballs”, “EP!” and “EP2!” have seen Peggy evolve and change shape effortlessly into new sounds and aesthetics. On the back of this incredible and highly influential discography, “LP! and “OFFLINE!” marks a new era for JPEGMAFIA. Once again, the Baltimore artist has fused new styles into his ever-evolving work while remaining one of the most original musical artists of the past five years. Elements of lo-fi, R&B, chamber pop, and southern hip-hop are all more present than ever, especially in “OFFLINE!” The clearance and release of these tracks marks a massive victory for JPEGMAFIA and all musicians who use samples in their music. Peggy is now six out of six on major releases. Fans and critics alike will be eagerly awaiting the release of Peggy’s seventh major project to see if it can continue the streak.
Image of JPEGMAFIA by YouTube