Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Flume ft. JPEGMAFIA – How To Build A Relationship

Our official crossover with Wikihow


Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: On Flume’s studio debut, 2016’s Skin, the big-name outsider rapper that he collaborated with was Vince Staples. Three years on, both sides of that pair have chosen chaos– Vince Staples works with Kenny Beats and SOPHIE now– and the natural outcome of that is Flume working with JPEGMAFIA. “How to Build a Relationship” is a perfect showcase for Peggy — the Baltimore rapper usually raps over grimier material, so Flume’s comparatively luxurious track allows him to demonstrate his more showman-like tendencies. The pairing works well, even as JPEGMAFIA shouts his way to the song’s end.

Ryo Miyauchi: Flume’s detour from pop ends up in a nerdy corner of ’00s hip-hop that includes Adult Swim and the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack. The wonky spaceship synths wouldn’t be out of place on a Def Jux single, while the drunk boom-bap drums worship the late J Dilla. JPEGMAFIA is a fitting match, with Flume’s beat not too different in feel from the crunchy internet detritus of his own projects.

Taylor Alatorre: I admire the decision to keep this thing going for a minute longer than was strictly necessary. This type of wonky, glitched-out noise rap is typically best in small doses, but the febrile chemistry between these two deserves to be allowed to play out on its own terms. Each plays their part in forging an atmosphere of rollicking menace, with Flume exhuming the sci-fi bleep-bloops of ’80s electro-funk and Peggy threatening to run up on Gawker(?) before inventing a bunch of dumb, hilarious nicknames for himself. It’s a miracle the end product is even halfway coherent, let alone invigorating.

Will Adams: Glitch-rap! This goes even further than the Deadmau5 / Cypress Hill collab in creating a confronting, squelchy environment for its vocalist to inhabit. Flume pushes his usual tricks into the red to bracing effect, eventually justified once JPEGMAFIA reaches his mid-song “FUCK.”

Iris Xie: You know, I believe in the power of representation, but I never knew that I needed an auditory representation of my anger about the time I was being surprise recruited for a pyramid scheme. A friend of a friend decided to give my phone number to her classmate, who tried to sell me on the pyramid scheme she was running, something about making my life better through vitamins or something and how I could be part of “a great new opportunity.” Needless to say, I am not a fan of being the subject of both predatory capitalism and privacy violations. So I addressed both of those folks, first by telling the salesperson clearly that MLMs are not legitimate businesses and she better realize what kind of shit she’s peddling and it’s irresponsible as a human being to recruit others into such exploitative practices. I then contacted that friend of a friend to never give out my number without permission, and what the hell was she thinking, and just, never do it again? Yikes. JPEGMAFIA is incisive, precise, and targeted here with a wave of cold anger. Flume does some cool video game blips around 1:35 that bring a cute bounciness, amplifying him through a sideways reference to being popped, and the giddy yelling is startling with its unbridled enthusiasm that contains both joy and frustration. But really, “Don’t, don’t, don’t call me unless I gave you my number (Hahahahaha) / That’s, that’s, that’s how relationships built.” Like, same, honestly. 

Will Rivitz: On paper, JPEGMAFIA’s ragged, vicious flow should torpedo a beat insubstantial and shimmering as a mirage, but nothing Peggy delivers should ever be confined to paper. A tightrope between cheeky and deathly serious must never slack, and the meticulous execution of Flume’s production remains stretched taut from end to end.

Alfred Soto: A fabulous rap, above average video game effects, ideal length. “I’m not nice,” JPEGMAFIA warns. I don’t believe him.

Reader average: [8] (2 votes)

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