Juicy J has established himself as the designated ratchet crossover artist, moving between tracks with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, then back to his trippy, drug soaked lyrics that made him famous as part of Three 6 Mafia. At his Irving Plaza show, the pop fans were not in attendance, making way for hip hop focused fans looking to get turnt.
The down-south ratchet vibe was heightened by a special opening act: Project Pat. As Juicy J’s brother and co-founder of Three Six Mafia, Project Pat had considerable street anthems from 2009-11, and his Memphis strip club sound still holds up. Listening to his set you realize how much the southern twerk sound has evolved to take over pop radio as trappy beats. Every song brought me back to the club circa 2010, and, while it felt a bit dated, the infectious beats held up. Intermixed with his trapping anthems such as “If You Aint from my Hood” were twerk hits such as “Chicken Head”.
Juicy J took the stage after his brother, in an all red ensemble and his trademark glasses. He immediately started playing hits off his infection “Stay Trippy” album. He jumped up on the side of the stage (a technique Meech from Flatbush Zombies perfected at Irving Plaza a few months ago) to rap some of his most trippy hits, such as “All I Blow is Loud:
Juicy’s love for his fans is obvious. He even threw a pair of the much coveted “Red October” sneakers into the crowd, inciting a small riot. He also paused to take a selfie with a fans camera, and then retweeted it. If anyone understands his fan demographic, it’s Juicy.
He also broke out his hit with Katy Perry, Dark Horse. He started accapella, and then dove into the slow, trappy beat. Everyone – even the hardest of the thugs – were feeling it.
The biggest downside was Juicy J’s choice to rap over his own vocals, rather than using a more subtle backing track. I would give him a pass considering he’s 38, but I saw Jay Z kill on stage by himself with no backing for 2 hours… so. I guess the trippy lifestyle takes it’s toll. Either way Juicy brought the sold-out house down in NYC, and his magnetic stage presence confirms his status as one of the “pop star” crossover rappers out.