Juicy J has been everywhere. From selling mixtapes with his bandmates Three 6 Mafia on the streets of Memphis to creating pop songs with Katy Perry and Fall Out Boy on their way to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100; from rap on demonic occultism to the Oscar for best original song at the Oscars. Three Mafia 6 entered the rap game with sinister lyrics from Horrorcore in the mid-90s, not mimicking alien life like OutKast or the rugged, bassy Houston music of UGK but rather, showing us that a group from the south could create raps that make us squeamish. Their deliveries were cold, their pianos brooding, like they were telling a horror movie, and the new generation respectfully copied their style. Denzel Curry riffed on the cover art of Three 6 Mafia and that of Isaiah Rashad “Lay Wit Ya” samples “Ridin N Da Chevy.”
But since the disbandment of Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J has given up on the search for cohesive solo albums and instead opted for successful collaborations that can earn it a place in the charts. There is no doubt that the dynamic keyboards that Juicy made famous as a producer have become a rap staple. That’s why, on his luxury album, The commotion still goes on, it’s disappointing to see him fight such a timeless production with uninspired guests.
Rico Nasty and former Three 6 Lord Infamous appear on “Take It,” where Nasty – an artist who raps like having a scream match with her therapist – is solid with her frantic delivery. But the repetitive, unimaginative chorus makes the song sound like a worse version of “Juicy J can’t,” of Dream Blue & Skinny record. Logic, which sort of features on two songs (as well as an adlib that becomes a nuisance), remains a disappointing rapper with lines that inspire a fake laugh and nod as in a Seinfeld scene (“Was never one for academics / But knew the fight everyday”, he raps). “She Gon Pop It” combines Ty Dolla $ ign and Megan Thee Stallion, an interesting match on paper. But Ty’s melodic chemistry isn’t what a vocal rapper like Megan can do. It’s a missed opportunity on an album that contains a few.
Juicy J remains naturally charismatic. He can tell a silly story and keep you engaged like a barbecue uncle. He never tries too hard, and it works. On ‘Kicked In’, he remembers a time when he took too many mushrooms while rapping: “I ate too many grams, it made me come out here geekin ‘/ Hit the weed to calm me down, but that shit got me tweaking ”—a story that could have been on a Three 6 album or two. (He then adds that he has to go home because he got a text from his” old lady ” .) It’s a lightweight, effective tale of a rap legend who blossomed into a legitimate hitmaker. Juicy J is 46 years old. And contrary to popular belief, rap is not just a kind of young people. Older generations can still give up quality work. But going from a 15-track album to a 25-track project does Juicy J a disservice here. Instead of relying on a decent record, he turns it into a cash grab.
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