JPEGMAFIA and BACKXWASH Bring a Night of Experimental Rap to Montreal

The JPEGMAFIA "Round by Round, Blow by Blow" world tour stopped in Montreal this Tuesday. The Brooklyn experimental rap artist is touring in support of his newest EP, OFFLINE! - an extension of his last full-length LP! that dropped in 2021.

Before JPEGMAFIA, nicknamed Peggy, could grace fans with his freak beats, Montreal-based artist BACKXWASH (Ashanti Mutinta) warmed up the crowd. The Zambian-Canadian rapper was an excellent choice for the opening slot, as she veers just as far from mainstream hip hop as Peggy does. Bombastic tracks like “Black Magic” were performed by a BACKXWASH dressed in black robes with a face adorned in black and white face paint - an upside down cross running vertical up her forehead. Bringing a vibe that can only be described as abrasively occult, BACKXWASH proved well worthy of having her name on a show flyer with such a legendary headlining act.

JPEGMAFIA took the stage dressed in a blue and red tracksuit and a head wrapped in a blue bandana. Rather than opening with a song, the rapper humbly introduced himself to the packed venue before his set, thanking them for coming and saying that he hoped they would enjoy the show. In a world where most artists want to look like they’re on top of the world, this lowkey-but-down-to-Earth gesture made it easy to understand the crowd’s unbridled enthusiasm for the rapper, chanting “Peggy” as loud as they could whenever they could. The artist then manned the laptop set up on-stage as he queued his own opening track, further showing his humble attitude.

The setlist was full of JPEGMAFIA cuts to the likes of “BALD!,” “I Cannot Fucking Wait Til Morrissey Dies,” and “Thug Tears.” While Peggy’s spoken intro may have been lowkey, his performance was nothing but the opposite, yelling frantic bars into the microphone and getting up close and personal with the front row. The crowd was completely untethered throughout the entire show, with various mosh pits opening and closing as fans jumped up and down to Peggy’s pounding anthems. Quickly there was no one present, save for people on the very sides of the crowd, who weren’t soaked in what one can only hope was water and sweat.

The highlight song of the show was “Baby I’m Bleeding,” as the crowd broke into a bouncing maelstrom when the track’s looping Death Grips-esque beat cut through the venue’s soundsystem. As Peggy delivered the song’s lyrics, fans only got wilder.

JPEGMAFIA will be working through his world tour right through until September, bringing his explosive experimental rap to the rest of North America, Australia, Europe, the UK, and even Japan. Here are the remaining dates for the "Round by Round, Blow by Blow tour." Find the closest gig to you and be there at all costs.


Hunter co-hosts The Iron Club, your weekly guide to the dark and mysterious realm of underground metal, which airs every Sunday from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m.