Juicy J is a hip hop veteran. He’s been releasing music since 1994 with Three 6 Mafia and even after the group basically faded from relevance (besides one terrible hit song maybe five or so years ago), he kept on going. He’s a rare case of a veteran adapting with the times without sounding lame in the process. I haven’t followed much of his discography outside of the ’90s to early ’00s Three 6 Mafia albums, but I make that statement based on this album, Stay Trippy. On this album, Juicy J adopts the trending sub-genre of trap rap. It’s not that much of a stretch to evolve from gritty Memphis rap to trap rap, but I find it impressive how well Juicy J has adapted to the style. The trap rap movement isn’t one of my favorite trends of the current hip hop scene, but I definitely enjoy some of it and this album is one of the ones that I enjoy.
To start off, Juicy J is quite the talented rapper. Having heard a lot of his work with Three 6 Mafia, I already knew that. I’m a fan of the early Three 6 Mafia albums and Juicy J is arguably my favorite rapper of the group. It does surprise me, however, how well he manages to pull off trap rap. His lyrics never had much substance; they were always more focused on being gritty, raw, and hardcore. Trap rappers generally focus their lyrics in a similar manner to how Juicy J and his crew did back in the day, but with a little bit more attention paid to money, bragging about it, rapping about how to get it, etc. Juicy J may not have adapted drastically different subject matter for this album, but he executes a lot of small lyrical and technical changes exceptionally well. He doesn’t even sound like a rapper trying to make music in a different sub-genre than he’s used to; he sounds like a young, energetic rapper who’s never delved outside of trap rap. It’s just so natural for him. As far as the trap rappers that I’m familiar with go, Juicy J is one of my favorites. He has an excellent flow and great command on the mic. He’s definitely more skilled that the average trap rapper. The one thing about his rapping that I think he can improve upon, however, is his energy. Don’t get me wrong; he does have a good amount of energy, but not quite as much as I would hope for in a trap rapper. I like when trap rappers are practically yelling into the mic, similarly to how Waka Flocka does quite often. Fortunately, Juicy J is skilled enough to get away with not possessing off-the-wall energy. His performance on this album is just fine the way it is.
Juicy J is good, but it’s the production that really makes this album. These are easily some of the best trap rap beats I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. They have awesome trap drums and hi-hats and a lot of cool bass lines and samples. They were produced by Mike WiLL Made It, Crazy Mike, Juicy J, Young Chop, Lex Luger, Dr. Luke, Cirkut, Baby E, J-Bo, Timbaland, ID Labs, Ritz Reynolds, and SAP. That’s a pretty hefty line-up of producers, but I’m only familiar with a few of them. That’s why it comes as a bit of a surprise to me that these beats are so good. Generally, when an album is produced by a few good names and a bunch of unknowns, especially in a genre like trap rap, in which if you don’t do it just right, it can end up sounding bad, I only expect the production to be decent, if that. This album, however, is very well produced. These beats go hard in the paint. I only wish they had been given to Waka Flocka instead (not to dis Juicy J, but I prefer Flocka). With his raw energy, he could have made an album album that’s better than this one. Just to clarify, despite all of this positive talk, I don’t think that this album is excellently produced overall. The reason for that is that, after the eighth track, there’s a significant drop in quality. It’s bizarre, actually, how divided the good songs and the okay songs are. The first eight songs led me to believe that this is far and away the best trap rap album I’ve ever heard, but the second eight songs led me to believe otherwise. The beats on the second half of the album are the same as the beats on the first half, but not as good. It seems to me that all of the best beats were put at the beginning of the album and the rest of the beats were just leftovers. They’re not bad at all, but they’re relatively uninteresting, which has an unfortunate impact on my opinion of the album.
My favorite songs, as previous paragraph hints at, are the first eight songs. All of those songs are good. They have the best beats on the album and, by default, being only the first eight songs, the subject matter of the songs is more interesting than that of the songs that come later on the album. If I had to pick my favorite song on the album, I would probably pick “Wax.” I love that beat, especially with that soulful vocal sample. Fortunately, none of the songs on the album are bad. They’re all listenable or better. The last half of the album, however, really puts a damper on my enjoyment of this album. The beats feel relatively lackluster and the subject matter feels relatively redundant. It’s rather disappointing. That doesn’t change the fact that I like most of this album and, overall, do enjoy it to a certain extent. It’s just that I wish the good and okay songs could have been mixed up more or, of course, that all of the songs had been good.
Overall, I enjoy this album. It does have that major problem of the last eight songs not being as good as the first eight, but there are enough good songs to make it worth listening to and re-visiting. If you’re a fan of trap rap, I would definitely recommend it to you. If you aren’t a fan of trap rap, but you are a fan of Juicy J/Three 6 Mafia, maybe this album will be the one that converts you. I can’t say for sure, but I can say that this album is better than I expected it to be and I’m glad that I decided to give it a few listens. It was well worth my time.
The thoughts of this article resonates the authors thoughts, not a general consensus of the website (unless otherwise stated).