Juicy J has been on a tear since teaming up with Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang, releasing mixtape after mixtape in addition to the 2013 album Stay Trippy.
In the past few years, Juicy J has collaborated with big names like Miley Cyrus, 2 Chainz, and Lil Wayne, coming up with more catchphrases than all of those artists combined in the process. Since reviving his rap career, one of Juicy J's strengths has been his ability to turn questionable subject matter into humorous material. If Stay Trippy was Juicy J's coming-out party as a club-anthem rapper, then 100% Juice confirms that the Memphis rapper is still content to rap about drugs, sex, non-stop partying, and not much else. Yes, it's safe to say that the era of bloody, gruesome, and offensive subject matter found on almost every Three 6 Mafia song featuring Juicy J is over. But that doesn't mean Juicy J has become any less inappropriate. In the new world of Juicy J, blood and guts have been replaced by strippers and blunts. I dissected his latest mixtape to get a better sense of where the Memphis legend finds himself during his career.
For those unfamiliar with Juicy J, club rap, or most popular music in 2015, it's important to realize that this is not your mom and dad's "Rappers Delight" type of material. There are probably 2,000 F-bombs on 100% Juice, not to mention all the other words I can't repeat here and the drug references Juicy and his guests use over and over and over. While Juicy J has definitely been the most successful Memphis rapper of the last five years (with his only rivals perhaps being Yo Gotti and Don Trip), he was not a part of the latest reincarnation of Three 6 Mafia (Da Mafia 6ix), nor does he play locally very often. But on "Shut Da Fuc Up," Juicy sounds like he never left home. The beat sounds like a reimagined Project Pat song, particularly from the Ghetty Green- era. There's also a line in the song where Juicy gives a shout out to "(La) Chat, (Crunchy) Black, (DJ) Paul, and (Project) Pat," which squashes any ideas that Juicy J forgot where he came from after finding greener pastures. There are even a few Mafia-gang vocals thrown in on the song for good measure.
Perhaps this is the mass appeal of Juicy J's new brand of mainstream rap. To stay relevant in mainstream hip-hop, and pop music in general, the artist must constantly reinvent himself, and while Juicy J has crossed over as a rap/pop star, he continues to utilize the tools that made Three 6 Mafia one of the biggest underground rap groups of all time. Sure, there was the questionable Miley Cyrus collaboration with last 2013's "23," but I can forgive him for that. And it's not surprising that a mega-star like Cyrus would want to collaborate with someone like Juicy J for the "street cred," even though I seriously doubt that anyone now considers Miley Cyrus to be "gangster," "hard," or anything other than a pop star. Let's just consider "23" to be the modern version of Mariah Carey and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Fantasy," only sadly, not nearly as good.
On "Ain't No Rappers," Juicy J confirms that he still has gangsters on his payroll, even if he is hanging out with pop stars. "Ain't No Rappers" sees Juicy J at his lyrical best, specifically the lines "my homeboys ain't no rappers, they ain't doin shows, they not in no videos, they too busy moving dope." This cadence is similar to Juicy J's flow on "Bandz a Make Her Dance," making for one of the best songs on the mixtape. Khalifa appears on the song "Scrape," along with the album's most used special guest, Project Pat. Khalifa does sound a little bit out of place on this otherwise street-smart mixtape, but maybe that's just because I will always associate Khalifa with the downright-weak rap hit "Roll Up." Project Pat comes in on the third verse of "Scrape," and the song gets its much needed tough-guy edge back.
DJ Scream, responsible for all the interludes on 100% Juice, introduces the most star-studded track, the remix of the song "Film" featuring Boosie Badazz, Future, and G.O.D. Sadly, most of the lyrical content on "Film" is a little bit too explicit for print. Lil Wayne shows up on the next track "Mrs. Mary Mack," a love song dedicated to marijuana. A song about loving weed on a Juicy J mixtape? Imagine that. Lil Wayne's verse on "Mrs. Mary Mack" is forgettable until the mega-star gives his condolences to original Three 6 Mafia member Lord Infamous. Lil Wayne shouting out Lord Infamous? We must really be living in Juicy J's world.
On the song "Real," Juicy J shows he hasn't lost his sense of humor. The rapper claims that Obama invites him to his barbecues in Atlanta and later claims that he will throw an alligator in your bed and watch you dance. Pretty awesome stuff. Most of the time, rap albums feature one to three legitimate hits, and mixtapes can feature even less. With 100% Juice, Juicy J offers a plethora of club-ready anthems, proving that the Memphis rapper is still one of the best in the game.