JPEGMAFIA Comes to the Granada

What happens when you mix SUA, KJHK, and some experimental hip-hop? Greatness.

Recently SUA and KJHK combined forces to put on a student-run concert, bringing in one of the best independent hip-hop artists of our generation, JPEGMAFIA. Supporting Mr. MAFIA was deem spencer, another independent artist on the rise, hailing from the streets of Brooklyn.

Not only were the artists superb, but the crowd was as well. With affordable tickets, we had a completely sold-out show, bringing in a massive amount of KU students in attendance. With an incredible line waiting outside, you could tell this show was about to pop off.

Starting off the night right, deem came in with great energy. He got the crowd involved with some call-and-response tracks, reminiscent of OG hip-hop blended with a newer sound. He had a slower cadence, rapping along to tracks with soft melodies and hard-hitting drums. deem set himself apart from a lot of other up-and-coming artists I’ve seen live, as he used no voice track underneath his vocals, just purely instrumentals. The crowd was buzzing after his great opening performance and couldn’t wait to see what JPEG had in store for them, coming in hot after his new collab album with Danny Brown.

Headlining the night, JPEGMAFIA brought the house down. He played pretty much all of his new album with Danny Brown, called SCARING THE HOES, and even rapped some of Danny Brown’s verses, which was awesome. He also played some of his classics like “BALD”, “Rainbow Six”, and “1539 N. Calvert”. JPEG even did a cover of Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” midway through the show, hopping on top of the subs to perform it.

He also completely ran his own music, bringing in no DJ. In between songs, he would run back to his computer to pick which track to perform. I think the crowd enjoyed this aspect of his performance as it felt completely his style and provided more of a connection to the audience, as they were predicting which track he would play and would go crazy to whichever one he chose to perform. 

With mosh pits breaking out to almost every song during his performance, the Granada and its staff came well prepared. They provided a comfortable and safe environment for everyone to enjoy the show. The staff was able to give help to those who needed it and anyone who overheated was able to get air on the sides of the venue. Additionally, JPEG handed out (or threw) some water bottles to the moshers, as he knew that his performance was electric.

After the show, deem and his manager told us how great it was to perform to such a responsive crowd, which made me feel proud to say I’m from Lawrence. The Granada was absolutely packed and provided such a great atmosphere for hip-hop. I hope this concert will show other up-and-coming artists that we have an audience for hip-hop here and that they’ll stop by more often when on tour. The next step for the Lawrence community is to try and get more people to support the local hip-hop scene here in town!