JPEGMAFIA – Powerstation: July 26, 2022 (Concert Review)

JPEGMAFIA is prowling the Powerstation stage, slapping outstretched hands, huge grin on his face. Wearing shorts and a headband, looking like an MMA fighter. We will soon see why.

He explodes with energy, introducing opening song Jesus Forgive Me I am Thot.

Pray for my haters/ They terrified/ Nigger could kill me/ I’m verified/ But I’m still alive, still alive.

He races across the stage, like he wants to fight everyone at the same time as might want to embrace everyone. Like a switch, the sold-out audience erupt in a single writing mass in front of the stage. He’s invoking the chimes of freedom flashing. The majestic bells and bolts. The underdog soldier in the night.

Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks was born in Brooklyn, New York. Both parents are Jamaican and the Flatbush area is melting pot of brown-skinned diversity. He has lived in Alabama and Louisiana. Joined the United States Air Force and did tours of Iraq and Kuwait. He is a producer specialising in eccentric Beats. He’s a journalist, an activist or a political thinker at the least.

He started out with the handle Devon Hendryx. That seems natural.

Rumples some heads of hair and drops into Bald. One for the bald bitches, he announces. Boy you can’t rap for shit/ ‘Cause you pussy! / You can’t feed your kid ‘cause you spent that shit on your car.


To warm up the evening the support act is a young woman rap artist from Lyttleton, Christchurch who goes by the handle Ferby.

Resembles Angus Young the lead guitarist of AC-DC. She is wearing what could be a school uniform dress complete with blue tie.

The first few songs have similar medium tempo backing beats but the vocals are too low key and it is hard to distinguish any lyrics, so it comes out like part of a drone.

The audience is building up quickly and encouraging her. On the fourth song in, there is a melodic introduction. Sitting in the background/ Make me look like I’m a fool. A rap that skillfully gets worked into pop.

Rhythm and lyrics come together in unison with a song which seems to have the mantra, want it all the time.

I suspect this would be her biggest show to date, and it takes some nerves of steel to confront an audience with just yourself rapping and rhyming. The dress gives a clue to the edgy humour and self-deprecation that goes with the territory. Liberal with the expletives too.

Ends her set with her debut single Bad Vibes Stuck in my Teeth. Aggressive and malevolent with sirens in the mix. Fuck you in your face. And more where that came from.


He can also be called Peggy. He can strut around like a rooster. He punctuates his words with constant physical movement. The beats can rumble at the lowest register through the bowels. They can be nasty and bludgeoning. He is an expert at playing on the crowd vibes.

He’s a fan of pro-wrestling. At one point the lights come down and he has climbed onto a high speaker cabinet. The equivalent of standing on the top rope of a ring before you body slam someone.

Call Me Maybe. A cover of a Carly Rae Jepson song. He makes this a rap with a soulful melodic swing.

Then back he comes with music providing ground fire cover for his lyrics, pumped out with the precision of a semi-automatic weapon.  Of course, there is a lot of profanity and ribald humour.

Rebound begins in similar fashion to the Beastie Boys Rhymin’ and Stealin’ with a big drum sound. But the rap rolls out at a greater speed.

A lot of his music is meant to disturb. As Alan Vega said about his work with the duo Suicide. People want to come to a show to escape the harsh reality of the streets. What they get with us is that same street shoved back at them.

It can be a beautiful thing says Peggy. Tonight, he’s referring to the fact that this is first time in New Zealand and the place is sold out.

Rainbow Six has that sort of compelling horror. A Hare Krsna-style opening mantra. By that I mean the way Husker Du did it. Scary and relentless. What you niggers want? / What you niggers need? / I don’t wanna hit him with my K.

Watching from above, the audience seethe like a colony. At one stage a vortex appears as a whole group appears to move like a whirlpool. Peggy stops the music abruptly with a nervous laugh.

Chain On is close to the finish. Rhythms pop and fly out in all directions. Screams and rants.

I will leave the last word to JPEGMAFIA as a good summation of what he’s trying to do with rap. From a tweet a day before the show. It’s 2022. We have all the information in the world at our fingertips. And yet, people are dumber than ever.

Rev Orange Peel     

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