Juicy J Benefits from Being True to Himself… Even if That’s Irresponsible…
Juicy J⎪Stay Trippy⎪ Columbia⎪⎪ US Release Date: August 27, 2013
“I make money all day, then I ball with the profits / n***as hate on me, I tell em hatin’ n***as stop it…” It’s not the most endearing or intelligible lyric I’ve ever heard, but I’ll give it to Juicy J, you know exactly where he stands. Best known for his work with Three Six Mafia and famously (or infamously) winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song (“It’s Hard Out Here For Pimp”), Juicy is making his biggest solo splash ever, thanks to a little joint called “Bandz A Make Her Dance”. Stay Trippy, the parent album, delivers multiple cuts keying in upon the success of the incredibly shallow, undeniably satisfying number. The album is by no means deep, and while that should be a turn off, Stay Trippy actually is a solid album that finds Juicy J doing what he and Three-6-Mafia does best…playing on irresponsible, if appealing clichés of southern, hardcore rap.
“Stop It”, the opener of which the aforementioned lyric was excerpted from, sets the tone for Stay Trippy. The cut is slickly produced and Juicy J is definitely a straight shooter: “Backstage, naked ladies / poppin’ pills and swallowing babies / bad b*****s ain’t come to play…” Not necessarily a highlighting number, “Stop It” is solid. “Smokin’ Rollin’” is even better, sampling The Weeknd’s “High For This”. At a brief 2:35, “Smokin’ Rollin’” packs a mighty punch, including a guest verse from the late Pimp C. Juicy J has his way, which is based around drugs: “Codeine in my system, man this life outstanding / feel like I’m on another planet, I don’t plan on landing…” No it’s not centered around more meaningful things like romance, world piece, or socioeconomic issues, but at least we know how much Juicy J likes to smoke and partake of ‘drank’.
On “No Heart No Love”, Juicy J grows violent: “I tell you one time, don’t play with my bread / n***a, you do, they gon’ find yo a$$ dead / body in trunk, hands tied to yo legs / tape on yo mouth, a hole in yo head…” Project Pat is no more forgiving on the third verse: “Fifty shots clear this b**ch out like a tornado / two choppas who identical – call ‘em Cain and Abel…” Don’t mess with Juicy, particularly as he counts his money on the predictable, though consistent “So Much Money” (“Thumbin’ through so much money, that I need three hands to count it…”). An obligatory reference to ‘molly’ occurs (“I got your b**ch on a Molly, she ride me like a Ducati” as well as an allusion to himself (“I told ‘em “Bandz A Make Her Dance”, I turn my head, that sh*t charted”). Again, it’s pretty simple-minded stuff, but it is what it is.
“Bounce It” continues the trend, this time giving Juicy J a ‘booty’ track with the assist from Trey Songz and Wale. Juicy J had previously assisted Wale on his own ‘cellulite anthem’ “Clappers”, but he’s a bit more raunchy here with lines like “Then it’s back to my room, she come out her dress / slob on my knob, think you know the rest…” Definitely Juicy, definitely. On the fine “Wax”, Juicy is “wasted like a white boy, you know I got the best grass…” and ultimately “…come up with a hit and put it on wax / my homie high as sh*t, I put him on wax…” Sure, Juicy’s trippy lyrics are a huge factor in the success of the cut, but so is the thoughtful Freda Payne sample of “I Get High (On Your Memory)”.
After putting it on wax, Juicy J goes violent once more on “Gun Plus A Mask”: “A gun plus a mask, you do the math / all my goons know that equals cash / a gun plus a mask, that equals cash/ so if you’re f**ked up down to your last / a gun and a mask gon’ get you cash…” He gets a lift from Yelawolf on the second verse, who contrasts J’s vocal timbre with his own distinct sound (“Yelawolf I am a loose cannon, ask David Banner how deep / I was born and raised in this sh*t, momma I got manners bout me / but I’ll get dirty if I gotta get dirty and dead a motherf**kin’ pirahna up in an Alabama Creek…”). Of course on “Smoke A N***a”, Juicy J and his homie Wiz Khalifa are ‘lifted’, with Juicy J sporting “Calie weed in a dutch, purple lean in my cup…” while Wiz is “smokin’ on this potent, feelin’ like I’m floatin’…” Decent, nothing innovative or ‘brand new’ as they say.
“Show Out” is rather one dimensional, but it does 1D effectively you might say, propelled by a simple, repetitive hook courtesy of Young Jeezy (“Everytime I go out, you know I gotta show out…”). Jeezy lends a hand on the third verse as well, with Big Sean adding some ‘addictiveness’ to the second verse (“She’s a fan, that’s fantastic / poppin’ xany’s, that’s xantastic…”). The Timbaland produced “The Woods” featuring Justin Timberlake is among the best of Stay Trippy, offering a change of pace, sound, and better songwriting overall. Justin Timberlake’s hook has great appeal (“When we go walking in the woods / nobody can hear us / and you could be as freaky as you should / I love you at your weirdest / unleash the animal, hear my mating call / I want you to be fearless / when we go walking in the woods / a natural experience / go ahead…”), but he doesn’t necessarily outshine Juicy. Among Juicy’s juiciest lines? “She got her own, she independent / we at the lake, she skinny dipping / in the hotel we wake the neighbors / they knocking like Jehovah’s Witness…” That’s hard to beat, right?
The energy dies down a tad following the clever sexual writing prowess of “The Woods”. “Money A Do It” continues to go stupid, but has its moments including the chopped and screwed third verse. On “Talkin’ ‘Bout”, Juicy is joined by Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa once more for a decent, though not an incredible collaboration. This cut is one that just lacks the appeal of others. Maybe it’s Chris Brown’s rap on the third verse: “Got bad b*****s from overseas but I need a big a$$ from the south…” Geez Louis Breezy! “All I Blow Is Loud” doesn’t quite atone, but Lex Luger’s production skill can’t be scrutinized in the least. And if you’re into the whole molly movement in rap, Juicy J manages to mention her again in all her glory: “Smokin’ gas in a rental / she givin’ me mental / countin’ faces (countin’ faces) / while she poppin’ molly like mentos…” SMH.
“Bandz A Make Her Dance” arrives in the nick of time to regain momentum. “Bandz a make her dance, bandz a make her dance / all these chicks poppin’…I’m just poppin’ bandz”, Juicy raps on one of the more ubiquitous rap hooks of 2013. He doesn’t stop on the hook either. “…Start twerking when she hear her song, stripper pole her income…” or “She put that @$$ up in my hands, I remote control it…”, Juicy raps on the first verse. Lil Wayne adds his normal sexually-driven ‘Weezyness’ on verse 2 (“…bands a maker her dance, Tunechi make her *** / hit it form the side like a motherf**king bass drum…”) as does 2 Chainz on the third verse (“…Let me see that a$$ clap, standing ovation / if yo girl don’t swallow kids, man that h** basic…”) Basically, “Bandz…” is nasty, tasteless, probably misogynistic, but we just can’t get enough of it, whether that is a good or a bad thing.
Penultimate cut “Scholarship” sports an interesting concept, even if there is still plenty of ‘ghetto-ness’ about it. “You a college chick, you a college chick / keep twerking baby, might earn you a scholarship”, J raps on the hook. Guesting A$AP Rocky has one of the best moments for sure: “Well f**k her master, she got her bachelor / so she only f**king rappers, she tired of cappers…” Well now… “If I Ain’t” closes the hour-long affair, again throwing references to excess: “Everday I turn up, burnin’ green and sippin’ lean / codeine and promethazine / my money longer than a limousine…” Yep, that sums of Still Trippy.
Is Still Trippy a classic? No, not by any means. That said, Juicy J is true to himself (a lover of weed, lean, women, etc.) and he delivers an irresponsible album that is enjoyably irresponsible. I’m not sure if that’s really good, but Stay Trippy is definitely a lot better than I would’ve envisioned originally.