“All My Heroes Are Cornballs” starts off familiar to listeners of JPEGMAFIA (or Peggy, for short) — abrasive, unrelenting, and ruthless aggression. However, as the lead-off track “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot” quickly transitions into a beautiful melodic synth tune, Peggy shows he won’t ride off the back of his critically acclaimed album “Veteran,” but instead tries something completely new. And it worked.
This is Peggy’s third album following “Black Ben Carson” and “Veteran,” and it still has all the makings of what makes his sound unique. Video game sound samples, professional wrestling references, and his signature tag of “You think you know me” echoing throughout nearly each track.
However, this is a much more mellowed out Peggy. Acoustic guitars, gentle synths, and Peggy softly singing in contrast to his throat melting vocals, as seen in previous tracks such as “Real Nega” from “Veteran.” Peggy is much more vulnerable here, a huge shift from his previous albums. While his heavy and controversial bars are still here, such as the line “Pray that these crackers don’t Columbine” from the titular track of the album, Peggy also talks about his struggles as an artist who blew up overnight in the track “Free The Frail.” He talks about the struggle with PTSD in the track “PTSD” from his time in the armed forces, spitting bars over a very vaporwave reminiscent beat.
The album is a very condensed experience. Tracks transition almost seamlessly from one to another. The hat trick of “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT,” “Grimy Waifu,” and “PTSD” sound like one long song rather than three separate tracks. This is an album that begs to be listened to in one sitting without shuffle.
If there’s anything that brings this album down, it would be the latter half of this 18 track album. The first half, starting from “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot” to “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” is very focused, very concentrated. The synth tunes of “Grimy Waifu” sounds straight out of a vaporwave album with very soft vocals and a subdued, but hypnotic acoustic guitar.
Throughout the album, Peggy talks about his anger and frustration about many of his haters online, calling them out in his track “Beta Male Strategies.”
However, after the titular track, the album begins to lose some of its focus. Tracks like “DOTS FREESTYLE REMIX – Buzzy Lee, Abdu Ali” seem thrown in without contributing much if any to the overall theme and message of the album.
Overall though, this album is a 45 minute listening pleasure. To label Peggy as “experimental hip-hop” or labeling him at all would be doing him and his music a disservice.