“Woah, Peggy!”. This is the only acceptable reaction to All My Heroes Are Cornballs, JPEGMAFIA’s new hysterical, almost overwhelming music project. This album, as the artist himself stated, is the most personal one he has released so far, so it can be useful to try and outline his personal and artistic figure in order to better understand this record.
A former army man deployed in Iraq, Peggy , real name Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, is a politically charged wildcard, constantly jumping between the internet and the real world with his bold attitude. The themes of All My Heroes Are Cornballs reflect his personality, describing a world where the boundaries between internet personas and real identities are increasingly blurred to the point where the artist feels like his Twitter account will be his tombstone. In JPEGMAFIA’s universe everything is vivid and marked, especially the conflicts: underground versus mainstream, Peggy versus his enemies, rap versus rock. This dispute is particularly evident in “PRONE!”, that the artist described as his attempt at making a punk song without analogic instruments, fighting against the prejudice that afflicts hip-hop artists and electronic music producers; the result is a celebration of Peggy’s producing skills, and a bash at anti-digital integralists. “PRONE!” isn’t the only track on the album to highlight JPEGMAFIA’s digital production wizardry; in fact, the whole album’s production credits include just him, apart from the collaboration with Vegyn, better known for his work on Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Blonded Radio. Peggy’s production style evolved but remained very similar to the one heard in his previous album Veteran, characterized by syncopated beats and a heavy use of sharp samples, ranging from clips taken from an Atari Teenage Riot track to interpolations of a Martin Luther King speech, to sounds of bonfires recorded in Hawaii that give texture and depth to “DOTS Freestyle Remix”.
In general, All My Heroes Are Cornballs highlights an evolution in JPEGMAFIA’s music: it is a more cohesive and tidy work compared to Veteran, while being as much raw and positively violent as its predecessor. JPEGMAFIA bares his tumultuous mind and radical soul to his listeners in this album, leading us to believe that yes, we think we know you now, Peggy. Maybe.