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JPEGMAFIA innovates on ‘All My Heroes Are Cornballs’

This past Friday, Baltimore rapper JPEGMAFIA released his third album, “All My Heroes Are Cornballs,” since seeing critical success with his 2018 release of “Veteran.” JPEG’s newest project builds upon the experimentalism of his past work as he continues to improve as an artist.

JPEGMAFIA is an artist who consistently approaches from left field, and he has held this trait since the beginning of his career. He writes, produces and mixes all of his music himself and seems incapable of unoriginality, but what matters more is the finished product he creates. This held true for “Veteran,” which earned JPEG a continuously growing audience. On “All My Heroes Are Cornballs,” the artist refines his characteristic style.


JPEG has a style that sounds almost like the musical equivalent to a TV glitching out and distorting the images on the screen. His music manages to maintain a solid flow, but it carries an aesthetic that clashes comfort with disturbance, as if JPEG is interrupting his own song to push a statement. This style broke out especially on “Veteran,” and JPEGMAFIA has not only continued to live inside of it but has improved upon basically every aspect of his own musical world. 

On this project, JPEG continues to embrace his provocative and immature sense of humor. If the album title wasn’t indicative enough, the first track on this project, titled “Jesus Forgive Me I Am A Thot,” should do the trick. This track introduces a style of JPEG that puts more emphasis on melodicism and transitions. Throughout “AMHAC,” JPEG’s singing is much more prominent and milked as he vocally matches his off-the-wall production. 

Each track on this album is generally subject to a plethora of beat switches that range from 15-second interruptions to large portions of the songs. The second track, “Kenan Vs. Kel,” approaches with a laid back, psychedelic instrumental as JPEG raps smoothly over it until it fades out.

This is then suddenly met with an abrasive, distorted electric guitar sample that repeats itself until the drums come in and JPEG begins screaming threats at whatever poor soul decided to piss him off. This split of themes is where the song seems to get its name.

As for JPEGMAFIA’s lyricism, he maintains his heavily internet-influenced and immature style of humor but somehow finds a way to give it maturity. Lines like “I’m not Black; I’m white trash in a mocha body” are as funny as they are showcasing the plethora of musical identities JPEG takes on in this project.

JPEG also continues to express his hatred for those known as “keyboard warriors,” or people who threaten others online without matching their words with their actions. “Say what you said on Twitter right now / You only brave with a board and a mouse / You wasn’t talking when I put you in the ground / Don’t leave the house,” on the song “Beta Male Strategies” is one of the best examples of JPEG continuing to provoke people who try to use the internet as a means to threaten him.

“All My Heroes Are Cornballs” is an album that is expectedly unexpected, and it makes for a great listen. Songs flow near seamlessly from start to finish, and each track has something, if not several things, to add to JPEGMAFIA’s otherworldly style that sounds like a corrupted MP3 file. This album not only adds to JPEG’s legacy as a genre-bending artist but improves upon his previous innovations.

  • Score: 9/10
  • Favorite tracks: “PTSD,” “PRONE!,” “DOTS FREESTYLE REMIX,” “Kenan vs. Kel”
  • Least favorite tracks: “Rap Grow Old and Die x No Child Left Behind,” “Life’s Hard, Here’s a Song about Sorrel”

Miles Parrish can be reached at or on Twitter @parrishm20

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