Juicy J, ‘Stay Trippy’ – Album Review
It’s been 22 years since Three 6 Mafia was formed -- 20-plus years as a working contributor in hip-hop is a feat for a young genre. The Memphis crew enjoyed moderate success until their infamous Oscar win in 2006, for ‘Hard Out Here for a Pimp’ -- a song inspired featured in the film ‘Hustle & Flow,’ which tells the story of a Memphis pimp-turned-rapper. It was then that success really took off for the group, though it was clear Juicy J was the star.
The success with the soundtrack and subsequent Oscar win wasn’t surprising for anyone who heard Juicy J’s solo debut album, 'Chronicles of a Juice Man.’ It’s clear he’s not much of a rapper, but his records are lush, filled with rich synths and strings. Today, he still holds onto that. He’s a soundtrack creator evoking feelings of suspense and intrigue the way a film scorer does.
‘Stay Trippy’ is Juicy J’s introduction to mainstream, his first major label debut and first star-studded album. There’s no other way to describe what’s going on throughout ‘Stay Trippy’ except that it’s a giant party. But like any album from an MC with half of his life in hip-hop, it’s about enjoying fruits of the labor, however opulent.
Juicy J knows who he is and doesn’t veer off the path. A listen to ‘Stay Trippy’ is a hang session with the Memphis rapper. The whole album plays out like the soundtrack to an epic night, with the occasional rapper friend stopping by for a conversation about guns, sex and wax.
You won’t get answers to philosophical questions on ‘Stay Trippy.’ A week prior to its release fans were able to preview the album by playing a video game where you could throw bills at strippers to keep them from falling from the pole. The longer you could keep the strippers on the pole, while still acquiring piles of cash, is how tracks were unlocked. We wouldn’t be surprised if this is exactly how ‘Stay Trippy’ was made.
1. ‘Stop It’
Juicy starts the bouncy opener by laying down what he does and has done. “I've been rich since the late '80s,” he delivers. This is a loud-and-clear message: if you’re a hater, stop hating.
2. ‘Smokin’ Rollin’ feat. Pimp C
There’s a sample of The Weeknd’s ‘High for This’ throughout with bass interpolated between the original synths. This is a pretty straightforward track about getting high and Juicy makes sure you know he’s the southern rock star. Pimp C jumps in to rap about being so insanely high that he falls asleep in the middle of foreplay.
3. ‘No Heart No Love’ feat. Project Pat
The veteran rapper enlists Project Pat for a track that kicks off with sample strings perfect atop a climatic scene in a movie. Here’s where Juicy means business. If you don’t pay Juicy J, he will send people to your door, get you into a trunk and never come back. The track ends with Project Pat name-dropping an old waste management company from Texas.
4. ‘So Much Money'
There’s a Bugatti, Ferrari, Rolex, Molly and ‘Bandz A Make Her Dance’ reference in the first verse alone. Juicy J is rich, y’all.
5. ‘Bounce It’ feat. Trey Songz & Wale
Dr. Luke, famous for a lot of pop hits, gets on the production boards for another ode to strippers. The hook is the star here with Trey Songz telling the stripper to “bounce it” because he’s about to throw a couple thousand. It just doesn’t get old.
Yes, this is a whole song talking about his love for the concentrated form of cannabis aided by a high-pitched sample of Freda Payne’s ‘I Get High (On Your Memory),' but it could also easily be a double entendre for his career of making records. Right?
7. ‘Gun Plus a Mask’ feat. Yelawolf
“This that goon s---,” Juicy J raps over the piano-driven ‘Gun Plus a Mask’ where Yelawolf joins in for cinematic visuals about sawed-offs and home invasions.
8. ‘Smoke a N----’ feat. Wiz Khalifa
The violent streak is put to halt on ‘Smoke a N----,’ a Mike WiLL Made It production, which finds Juicy J gushing about good, old-fashioned hash. Though he still manages to kick it up a notch by pairing the herb with lean in his cup. Wiz Khalifa manages to throw in a rhyme about being Chinese that isn’t nearly as offensive as Kanye West’s sweet and sour bar in ‘I’m In It.’ “Lookin' like I'm Chinese 'cause my eyes are barely open,” he offers.
9. ‘Show Out’ feat. Big Sean & Young Jeezy
Big Sean and Young Jeezy were called upon for the follow-up single to ‘Bands A Make Her Dance.’ Young Jeezy takes the reign on the hook to this one with his gruff vocals. It’s another night out with the boys for Juicy.
10. ‘The Woods’ feat. Justin Timberlake
The Justin Timberlake-featured track has the singer giving a lover permission to unleash the animal inside. While JT sings about being in the woods, Juicy immediately takes us to the clouds on a private jet where all a girl wants is his... “pipe, I turn her into a crack addict.” The diabolical-sounding record is a signature Timbaland production. It’s a perfect balance between Juicy’s sound and Timbo’s beats.
11. ‘Money A Do It’
“Full of codeine in my Styrofoam cup, I can turn a church girl into a stone cold slut...” Juicy J raps over the anthem to money and how it can "a do" anything.
12. ‘Talkin’ About’ feat. Chris Brown & Wiz Khalifa
Juicy J’s Taylor Gang mate shows up again with Chris Brown. Here the R&B singer is rapping, nothing new. It still doesn’t compare to the staccato-crazy flow in ‘Look At Me Now,’ but Juicy J and crew definitely have a hot one with this one.
13. ‘All I Blow Is Loud’
“I smoke that s--- that made R. Kelly think that he could fly,” raps Juicy J right after he makes a Kendrick Lamar ‘Swimming Pools’ reference. The hook to this synthy affair is telling us that Juicy J only smokes the high-grade stuff.
14. ‘Bandz A Make Her Dance’ feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
This is one of last year’s biggest rap records, which made about every end-of-year list imaginable. After almost a year out, this record still rides like a new joint with no hands.
15. ‘Scholarship’ feat. A$AP Rocky
The A$AP Rocky-featured track plays like a sequel to ‘Bandz...’ where the “stripper hustle” is the star. Dance enough, these guys will put you through school. Rocky is in good form here -- best track on the LP.
16. ‘If I Ain’t’
The high grade Kush is the only thing that touches Juicy J’s lighter on the closer to ‘Stay Trippy.' He compares himself to Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston and Juicy stays “turnt up, I stay pourin' up, I smoke more weed than a hippy.”