Release Date: Aug 27, 2013
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Rap, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
With booty, drugs, and booty as his muse combined with his crunk style of rapping (Redd Foxx meets Too $hort, or something like that), Three 6 Mafia member Juicy J was in a rut right around the time of his second song. Strip the music of the dark, horror show angle that Mafia member Project Pat brought on board and that's narrow as it gets, and with irresponsible, misogynist lyrics like -- brace yourself -- "She treat my d*ck like a pistol, I treat her face like a target" overflowing out of Juicy, anything that carries his name is certifiably trashy, and maybe even trash. Still, like Too $hort before him, Juicy can pull a ridiculous amount of inspiration out of porno and psychedelics, and while most of the grime has been wiped away on this high-definition album, Juicy's new home on Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang imprint adds new life to this brown paper bag music.
You don't look to Mr. "Slob on My Knob" for deep wisdom. But the Three 6 mafioso does have a way with words, and following last summer's strip-club anthem "Bandz a Make Her Dance" (included here), his major-label solo debut is a parade of jams involving weed, drank and sketchy sex, with Cheech & Chong punch lines exhaled over fat stoner beats. Justin Timberlake takes the hook on a rare romantic interlude ("The Woods"), and while there's sound business advice – "Make money/No vacation/Pay cash/Don't make payments," Juicy instructs on "Stop It" – twerkin' remains a dubious career path ("Scholarship").
Consider for a moment the underground-legend-cum-mainstream-success trajectory of Juicy J’s career, and it’s easy to see that his influence on culture is labyrinthine and far-reaching. O.G. progenitor of the double-cup Gothic swirl currently occupying hip-hop’s mainstream, the Juice Man is equally as inspiring to legions of Tumblrgen pastiche-rappers indebted to the trunk-slapping legacy of Three 6 Mafia as he is to coked-up spring breakers experimenting with “being ratchet.” He refuses to reconcile his trippy, singular vision of the world with his apparent mainline on the beat of pop culture; this makes for both a devastatingly self-assured presence on the mic and a brazen sonic sensibility.
Teens twerk to it; strippers work to it; hustlers vibe with it; and gangsters laugh at it. For all its vulgarity, predictability, repetitiveness and reckless musings on drugs, Juicy J's trippy music succeeds because of its spirit. His new album (his first since trading 666 for Taylor Gang) bottles that infectious energy, that reckless intensity, that raw hustler's "kapow!" and delivers it in an accessible package.
Rap is a young man’s game, and if you’re a veteran, your relevancy may very well be in question. Not for Juicy J. With over 20 years in the game, the Three 6 Mafia member is still making hits. Last year, he released “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” which peaked at the #29 spot on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart in the midst of a 20-week run before being certified platinum by the RIAA on August 1, 2013.
If the trope "write what you know" applies to rap, then Juicy J must spend a hell of a lot of time in strip clubs. The whole thing isn't about disrespecting women, though. Some songs merely weave the misogyny around simple-pleasure narratives: popping molly, making money. On his third solo record, the Three 6 Mafia rapper signed to Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang is "getting high like he's 18." At 38, though, it's not super-amusing, like J is the hip-hop Peter Pan refusing to grow up among a crew of younger emcees.
It is a very rare thing in hip-hop when rappers are granted a third act in their career. If you’re lucky, you will get a shot at a second but the third act is anomalous. LL Cool J told you not to call “Mama Said Knock You Out” a comeback but the truth is rap is a young man’s game and if you are lucky to get that second shot, you almost never get a third.
Since teaming up with Lex Luger for a pair of Rubba Band Business volumes and releasing the Blue Dream & Lean mixtape, Juicy J has reeled off a string of club favorites (‘Who Da Neighbors’, ‘A Zip And A Double Cup’, ‘Juicy J Can’t’) and an even longer of guest verses for practically everyone in mainstream hip-hop. If you’ve heard any of those songs, spots, or ubiquitous lead single ‘Bandz A Make Her Dance’, Stay Trippy will not surprise or shock you — and it’s not designed to. For just over an hour, Juicy J lays down tales of drugs, strippers, money, and guns in a distinctive, staccato flow that has remained unchanged for years.