LIVE: JPEGMAFIA @ Manchester Academy 2
The extroverted American hip-hop star showcased why he's a must-see live act.
Posted: 3 March 2020 Words: Ellis Karran
JPEGMAFIA is somewhat of an enigma; a charismatic rapper with insatiable live energy and a raucous nature that forges a natural, raw connection between himself and his fans. His first official UK tour saw him set foot in Manchester’s Academy 2 for a ferocious set of glitchy beats, punk-rap flows, and a whole lot of crowd-surfing - sporadic appearances across last year's European festival circuit already gave audiences an impression of how this animalistic tour would unfold.
The audience interaction didn't let up throughout. He performed a host of tracks from Veteran, most recent album All My Heroes Are Cornballs, as well as latest single ‘BALD!’ and the killer collab 'Puff Daddy' with Kenny Beats, with 'Peggy' even letting fans pick songs for him to perform towards the show's conclusion.
It was a whirlwind 70-minutes that saw the ethereal beauty of a TLC - ‘No Scrubs’ cover as well as stage dives for ‘Thug Tears’ and ‘Baby I’m Bleeding’, even instigating a 'wall of death' for ‘Kenan Vs. Kel’, the show's highlight, which saw the artist engulfed in his fans while rapping the intense final verse of the grungy rap track. He even had time to dedicate a bit of time to his “least favourite musician in the world” Morrissey in The Smiths’ hometown, playing the aptly titled song ‘I Cannot F*****g Wait Til Morrissey Dies’.
If you wanted a PG-rated show with arm-waving and lighters in the air, you came to the wrong show; this was a primal explosion of blood, sweat, and tears courtesy of hip-hop’s anomaly figure. Entourages and backing producers are beyond consideration at a JPEGMAFIA live show. It was simply Peggy, his MacBook, and 500+ people vibing together.