CRASHPrez and JPEGMafia brought energy to The Sett

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Author: Maya Subramanian

On Saturday night at The Sett, people were teeming with excitement for the arrival of CRASHPrez, Madison’s own Michael Penn II, who was the opener for JPEGMafia. A little after 9, CRASHPrez arrived on stage with a bang, engaging the audience right away. On his song, “Watch This”, he prompted half of us to chant “That ain’t sh*t” and the other half to chant “Watch this!” back and forth, until we all came together with “Lost my mind, found God in the mosh pit!” He brought on two of his friends as special guests and even brought up a superfan from the audience who rapped all the lyrics along with him onstage. On a song near the end of his set, he told us to be as quiet as we could until it was time to make noise. When it was time, the crowd went wild.

His lyrics were thoughtful, provocative, and crisp, and his flow was rapid, yet clear.

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CRASHPrez truly brought the energy of the audience up and the anticipation was high for JPEGMafia after CRASHPrez’s set was over.

When JPEGMafia came out, the crowd was excited and I could hear “Daaaammmnnn, Peggy!” yelled out throughout the venue. He set up his laptop (“See, guys, I can’t afford a DJ. I’ve just got iTunes on my Macbook”), ripped off his shirt, and immediately jumped into the crowd for his first song.

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JPEGMafia posing when he saw me with my camera directly below him.

The crowd formed a circle around him as he swayed passionately while performing. He had to lay down several times in between songs and it was easy to see how invested and personal his music was to him. Everyone was jumping around and having a great time with JPEG.

A notable moment of the show was his roast of Morrissey before performing his song, “I Cannot F**ing Wait Until Morrissey Dies”. He expressed his desire to beat him up if he ever happened to come across him. He asked the audience, “Does anyone disagree with me?” and a man in the upper balcony said, “Me!” rather passively. JPEG remarked that if he said it in a stronger tone he would’ve been willing to fight him. The man laughed and said he was only joking, and they had a little bonding moment. The little back-and-forth conversation was a memorable segway into his song.

JPEGMafia closed the show with “Baby I’m Bleeding”, a hit off of Veteran. The audience went wild and JPEGMafia expressed his sincerest thanks to us for coming out to the show, and thanked CRASHPrez for his great opening act, as well.

It was great that the artists made the Sett seem like a more intimate venue by engaging the audience and encouraging crowd participation in their songs. It totally transformed the Sett from the student union into something more like the Frequency or the Majestic. If you haven’t listened to CRASHPrez or JPEGMafia yet, I’d highly recommend listening to them if you’re into experimental hip-hop.