Baltimore's rapper Barrington "JpegMafia" Hendricks, who spent four years
in the military and lives briefly in Japan, began releaseding tapes
of sociopolitical topics (notably racism) such as
Communist Slow Jams (2015) and
Darkskin Manson (2015).
The tape Black Ben Carson (2016) is split into two sides.
The "Nigger" side is the political, angry, terrorist side.
It opens with two existential manifestos:
Drake Era (casual colloquial recitation wrapped in horror cinematic electronics) and
Jpegmafia All Caps No Spaces, (spastic beats drowning in an industrial, Nine Inch Nails-grade atmosphere).
The nightmare gets darker with the abrasive neurosis of Digital Blackface, pierced by noise that sounds like a heap of scrap metal falling to the floor.
The psychological attack continues with the
dizzying soundscapes of Cuckold
and You Think You Know, and with an
intimidating and ominous tone that verges towards the
Then the music disintegrates in the
sparse, tense and crackling texture of Motor Mouth and especially in
Black Ben Carson, the soundtrack of mental insanity.
At the other end of the spectrum, the
hysterical metronomic beat of Black Steve Austin reveals
a deadly fever.
The "Peggy" side is the introspective, confessional, diaristic side.
It begins with
the bleak, noir trance of I Just Killed A Cop Now I'm Horny,
and then the music looks for a balance of drama and trauma via
Plastic, a hybrid of tribal dance and musique concrete,
Boi, a chill ambient psychedelic collage,
LL Cool J, a deranged tribute in a mental asylum,
Face Down Ass Up, a theater of distorted electronics and vocals,
and Try Me, the most harrowing convergence of apocalyptic beats,
sci-fi electronics and surgical recitation.
Inevitably this second side tends to be more verbose and less musical.
The album overflows with original ideas and the convoluted, corrosive
production works like dynamite that blows up those ideas.
The 19-song album Veteran (Deathbomb Arc, 2018) is as varied as
inconsistent, spread out on a vast spectrum of audio collages, bust most
of them barely sketched.
from the lounge muzak of 1539 N. Calvert
to the demented hysteria of Real Nega,
from the joyful carillon of I Cannot Fucking Wait Til Morrissey Dies
to the machine-gun vocal manipulation of Baby I'm Bleeding,
from the booming void of Williamsburg (possibly the most disorienting piece)
to the slow grotesque zombie fanfare of Rainbow Six.
His idea of a soul song is the android singing over chaotic percussion of Thug Tears.
Some of the arrangements border on musique concrete, like
the warped aquatic reverbs of Rock N Roll Is Dead.
The beats of DD Form 214 and Libtard Anthem
sound like field recordings manipulated at the computer.
The 18-song All My Heroes Are Cornballs (2019)
further diluted the impact of his production technique.
The chaotic vocal assault of Jesus Forgive Me I Am a Thot
is hardly matched by the new-age atmosphere of Grimy Waifu.
Hendricks opts for a more user-friendly format: the
soul-hop of Rap Grow Old & Die x No Child Left Behind and
Free the Frail.
One recognizes the ebullient creativity of Black Ben Carson only in
the imploding magma of Prone.
Again, many of these short pieces are barely sketched.
Inevitably, the experience feels fragmented and much of the album
feels ("fills?") like filler.
EP (2020) contains a prime example of his warped glitch-hop,
the tribal bacchanal Covered in Money,
the acrobatic boom-bap beat of Cutie Pie,
the disjointed jazzy The Bends,
and the hybrid neosoul ballad Living Single.
EP2 (2021) was a far more trivial offering.
Only Panic Room replicates the deviant mood of the previous EP.
The 20-song LP (2021) represents another peak of
Hendricks' painstakingly unorthodox composition method.
The minimalist strategy of the breezy Trust and Nemo indirectly emphasizes their dadaistic arrangements.
The disorienting clockwork beat of Dirty and the collage whirlwind Hazard Duty Pay are the zenith of that creative process.
His deconstructivism occasionally yields
totally deranged songs like Tired Nervous & Broke (between cosmic/industrial noise and casual conversation), but mostly results in surprisingly
The soaring and bombastic End Credits complements the
chaotic and subdued Are U Happy.
His flow is not the best in the world, but shines in
Rebound and BMT.