EQT / Republic · February 12, 2021
JPEGMAFIA’s new EP, EP2!, is an extremely solid release from an already accomplished rapper and producer. While he released a good portion of the songs on EP2! as singles before this EP dropped, which meant there wasn’t a lot of new material on the record, EP2! still manages to be as impactful a release as what fans have come to expect from JPEGMAFIA. The tracklist is tight and cohesive, with virtually no lackluster songs. This comes as a contrast to his last project, 2020’s EP!, which was more ideologically scattered, although still a pretty great release by any standards.
JPEGMAFIA takes a more laid-back, organic approach to his sound on this record, and it shows in the music. His delivery isn’t nearly as aggressive as it is on other records, and his flows are slower and more melodic than most of his discography thus far (save for a few tracks from his last studio album All My Heroes Are Cornballs). This is contrasted with some of the most controversial and politically-charged lyrics he’s written since his early work on projects like The 2nd Amendment and black ben carson. It’s almost as if he wanted to showcase his confidence and his ability to stay calm in making the statements he does on this record, which fits perfectly with the artistic image he’s created over the past few years.
As stated before, the tracklist is extremely tight – to put it bluntly, there isn’t a single mediocre track on this entire EP, and while some do stand out more than others, each track has unique strengths and admirable qualities. “LAST DANCE!,” the opening track, is a slower track with a more ambient instrumental. This is followed up by “FIX URSELF!,” a song that showcases JPEGMAFIA’s ability to create exceptionally memorable lines and hooks. JPEGMAFIA does an extremely good job of emphasizing key lines within the context of the lyrics, not only on this track but on the entire EP. Another phenomenal moment on the record is “PANIC ROOM!,” which moves with a momentum that’s unmatched by the rest of the tracklist. JPEGMAFIA shifts his flow numerous times throughout the length of the track, and each instance is seamless. This is also one of the darker and tenser atmospheres presented on the record sonically, which compliments the lyrical content of the track and the artist’s quickly-changing flows. On the closing track of the record, “FEED HER!,” JPEGMAFIA displays a compelling vocal performance, singing over one of the brighter and more serene instrumentals on the record. Although there is variety in the moods and emotions presented over the record, the sound stays consistent, as does the sentiment of JPEGMAFIA’s lyricism.
In all honesty, this record is hard to criticize – there are very few aspects of the record that miss the mark, and those that do are inconsequential. For example, “INTRO!” feels unnecessary, and JPEGMAFIA probably should have just left in the mix of “FIX URSELF!” that he used for the single. However, it doesn’t really detract from the listening experience as a whole. The instrumental on “KELTEC!” isn’t the greatest on the record – the keyboard synths come off slightly annoying and distracting. This is probably the worst song out of the seven on the record, but JPEGMAFIA’s vocal performance on this track is still incredible, and the song features some of the best lines on the EP.
Overall, this is an incredibly solid release from JPEGMAFIA. It is easily better than his previous release, EP, and while it doesn’t reach the peaks that his studio work has, it still has merit and presents intriguing ideas that can perhaps be expanded upon in a future project.