Album: All My Heroes Are Cornballs
Label: EQT Recordings
Sounds Like: No apt comparisons, maybe clipping.
Non-Airable Tracks: The whole thing
Review by Jackson Feldwick-Jones
Date of Review: 9/21/19
The rapper who made one of the most weird hip-hop albums of last year (Veteran) just made something even stranger. All My Heroes Are Cornballs is the third studio rapper by Baltimore rapper/producer JPEGMAFIA, and it is truly an incomparable album. While Veteran took elements from conventional hip-hop and distorted and warped them into something more creative and crazy, All My Heroes Are Cornballs instead shatters all conceptions about what a hip-hop album can be.
Production on the album is all over the place and keeps the listener on their toes. From the surprisingly exhilarating sound of an evacuation alarm on “Kenan Vs. Kel,” to the deadly guitar on “Beta Male Strategies,” to the vaporwave-y beat at the end of “Post Verified Lifestyle,” there are so many moments that seem like they should not work on a hip-hop album. But far more often than not, they do. This album is truly a masterpiece of experimental hip-hop beat making. However, with so many different changes in every beat, there are bound to be some segments that do not quite hit. For example, “DOTS FREESTYLE REMIX” features an awesome verse by Peggy, but eventually he disappears from the track and gives way to an uninteresting outro featuring vocals from Buzzy Lee and Abdu Alli. There are a few moments like this throughout the album, but never are they so long or so bad that they ruin the song.
Although this album is a big departure from his previous projects stylistically, the internet infused, politically charged lyrics Peggy is known for are still present on this album. Lines like “One shot turn Steve Bannon into Steve Hawking” on “PRONE!” and “Target practice on an Aryan/Redneck tears, woo, what a beverage” on “Papi I Missed U” give the record an invigorating rebellious spirit. JPEGMAFIA is a very unique songwriter, but his lyrics are some of the most edgy in hip-hop (after all, one of his first songs to get attention was called “I Just Killed a Cop Now I’m Horny”). These lyrics are a key part of what makes the album so much fun to listen to, but through the 45 minute project the edginess may annoy some listeners. A prevalent lyrical theme on the album is the idea of fame and how his life has changed as a result of it, like on “Post Verified Lifestyle” and “Free The Frail”. When he talks about this theme, it makes JPEG seem more vulnerable than usual, which is a welcome development in his music. One notable difference between this album and Veteran is that All My Heroes Are Cornballs features far more singing from Peggy. He is a better rapper than a singer, but the sung sections are still quite good most of the time, and are even beautiful at some points, notably on “Free The Frail.”
All My Heroes Are Cornballs is not an easy album to listen to, but it is easily one of the best hip-hop albums in recent memory. There is not a bad song on this project, in fact, most of them are spectacular.
Favorite Songs: 1. “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” 2. “PTSD” 3. “Beta Male Strategies”