JPEGMAFIA – “Beta Male Strategies”

A personal note: 15 years ago, I was buying DJ Smallz mixtapes on street corners and going to Lightning Bolt shows in crusty, falling-apart Baltimore warehouse space. At that point, Baltimore had never produced a national rapper of any note, unless you want to count someone like DMX (who was born there) or Tupac (who went to high school there). But these days, we’re looking at the rise of JPEGMAFIA — a rapper who not only claims Baltimore, but who comes from that same warehouse-noise scene where I used to spend so much of my time. This, to me, is staggering. I love it.

Later this week, JPEGMAFIA will release his new album All My Heroes Are Cornballs. We’ve posted the video for first single “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot” and the celeb-heavy album trailer. Today, JPEGMAFIA shares the new single “Beta Male Strategies,” the last thing we’ll hear from the album before he releases it. It’s a jarring, off-kilter song, one that combines beauty and rupture in ways that nobody else would even attempt. JPEGMAFIA produced it himself, of course.

“Ain’t no real money in rap,” Peggy mutters on the intro. “It’s all retail, shit, retail.” Then: “When I die, my tombstone’s Twitter.” Then: “I’m a false prophet, bringing white folks this new religion.” Then: “Don’t get capped by a nigga in a motherfuckin’ gown.” Then: “Rap been so good to me, I hope it gets me canceled.” Then the noisy free-jazz guitar solo and the return of the gasping ambient loop. This is intense, confrontational music — the type we hear so rarely these days. Listen to it below.

All My Heroes Are Cornballs is out 9/13.