Art rap, left-field hip-hop, avant-garde hip-hop and experimental hip-hop are very similar genres of music, yet minutely different.
Art rap uses more color in its beat choices.
Left-field hip-hop uses very spacy and asymmetric beats.
Avant-guard hip-hop uses very unorthodox beats, or no real beat at all.
And experimental hip-hop uses weird experimentation in the beats and synths.
“Veteran” is one of the very first projects from Baltimore based, JPEGMAFIA, that feels like it encompasses all these intricate genres of music without boring people with lengthy tracks and unnecessary beat streams.
It feels like a holistic, well thought-out and most importantly, experimental hip-hop project.
JPEGMAFIA is pretty famous for having these 90-minute projects with a bit too much going on, each track feeling too disconnected from each other to be a cohesive album.
However, “Veteran” is the shortest project from JPEGMAFIA, as well as his most satirical, consistent and abstract record yet.
Imagine if Iglooghost, Radiohead, Death Grips, Clippings, Dr. Octagon and any art punk band from the ‘90s got together to make a project — this would be that product.
From the very colorful and energetic synths and intricate samples, to very hard and heart- thumping trap beats and very atmospheric and layered background sounds, “Veteran” is a colorful yet dark and depressing nightmare.
Each song gets more and more tangled until you get to the end of the album when the beat and the weird moaning sounds drive you to blissful insanity.
In other words, the pure beauty in this project lies within jagged, heavy and atmospheric sounds that JPEGMAFIA has put together to create this nightmarish type of sound.
Each track feels like a different single, yet every song comes together for this perfect record.
It feels like JPEGMAFIA made each beat in one sitting, in a continuous loop but was able to distinguish each beat and make it unique from the last.
From there comes his lyrics, and he has a lot to say about a lot of different things.
But one consistent message, more like an idea, is how witty he is about the world and the state it’s in.
He has a lot of messages to very specific people and subjects. There are more than enough witty and funny bars to keep you coming back for more.
Listening to the lyrics is a whole new advantage.
You could listen to the instrumentation and production on your first listen and be scared yet enlightened.
While on another listen, you can pay attention to the bars JPEGMAFIA is spitting and laugh by what he says.
There is more satire in this project than a Mark Twain novel.
The only drawback to this record is everything seems a bit too short.
Even though in his past projects he takes songs on too much of an adventure, in this project I wish he would play with the sounds a bit more and draw out more of the nightmare world he has created.
Some tracks get right into it and when you’re feeling it, the flow ends. But, hey; I’m not complaining.
Overall, it’s a choose your own adventure type of album with so many intricate layers to peel off.
Yet it’s also such a dark and necessary record for JPEGMAFIA to make, and I hope you take the time to sit through this dark and twisted project because you won’t regret it.
Happy listening, Gannon University!
• Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop, Hardcore Hip-Hop, Post-Trap, Glitch-Hop, Industrial Hip-Hop
• Favorite Track: Baby I’m Bleeding
• Least Favorite Track: Williamsburg
• Rating: mid 8/10