JPEGMAFIA is a freak. Dismantling the O2 Academy with his unique breed of industrial rap, the artist provided raw energy from start to finish. Without support, JPEG wasted no time breaking the crowd in gently. The whirlwind set list featured tracks from his latest LP “All my Heroes are Cornballs” as well as his culture shifting “Veteran”. Opening with “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot”, the New York rapper set the tone for a lustrously abrasive event. This benchmark was repeatedly raised with highlights such as “Thug Tears”, “1539 N. Calvert” and “Puff Daddy”. All of which were met with a vigorous reception.
The fusion between audience and artist was depicted by JPEG’s affinity for crowd surfing, something that caught on very quickly. JPEG’s crushing drums and glitchy synths were perfectly configured to the confined, boxy arena settings. Taking full control of his artistic licence, he adapted and improvised upon his studio cuts, to the extent that they were at points unrecognisable from the originals. He embodied his characterised persona, squeezing his volatility into every word, twisting phrases and screaming previously rapped verses. This made for a burning stage presence that was fuelled further by dancing that can only be described as abstract.
The set was minimal in terms of lighting, with strobes to intensify beat drops and warm glows to accentuate his mellower tracks. “BasicBitchTearGas” and “Free The Frail” were examples of which that provided a necessary break between their heavier counterparts. The first being an unfaithful cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs”, using an ironic level of auto-tune to play up the poppy characteristics of the hit whilst dragging it into the realm of modern hip hop. The “JPEGMAFIA TYPE TOUR” is an adrenaline overdose, it is not for the faint-hearted.