If you have any type of moral compass, it seem obvious that what Juicy J raps about on Stay Trippy is wrong. Most of the album’s content revolves around throwing money at twerkers and smoking weed. Just to keep the listener honest, Juicy J throws in a song or two about committing armed robbery. Where the conundrum comes in is even though the album’s content is objectionable and predictable, the production and hooks make the album listenable–even enjoyable.
Juicy J’s last solo album, 2009’s Hustle Till I Die was still riddled with Three 6 Mafia-style horrorcore and gangsta rap. While that type of music has its place, it is not a big seller in this twerk/weed/molly era. Since that album, Juicy J has been steadily dropping tracks that have moved closer and closer to the trap rap du jour. Although many songs seemed middling at best, he finally hit paydirt with last year’s “Bandz a Make Her Dance.” The track’s graphic sexual content was enough to make many people blush but the Mike WiLL Made It beat and repetitive chorus made the song a hit.
With the success of the track, it is no wonder that Juicy J filled out his album with similar sounding tracks. Tracks that use dark synth pads to create pathos and trap drum programming complemented with choruses that are jammed down listeners throats like a tracheotomy. Mike Will Made It ends up producing four of the album’s 16 tracks while other big name producers like Lex Luger and Timbaland add to the track listing. Sadly, the Timbaland produced “The Woods” ends up being one of the album’s biggest duds. Usually when Timbaland and Justin Timberlake are on the same track it is magic but in this case “The Woods” the duo sounds off from Juicy J. Justin Timberlake’s chorus is catchy and matches Timbaland’s beat but Juicy J seem to be on the same page creating a weird dynamic that suits none of the artist.
Similarly tracks like the Project Pat feature “No Heart No Love” and the Juicy J produced “Gun Plus a Mask” also feel out of place on the album. Both tracks harken back to Juicy J’s horrorcore days and while fans of Three 6 Mafia will probably enjoy the tracks, they are severe detours on an album based on pathos.
With pathos its strong suit and lyrics its weakness, Juicy J’s Stay Trippy does not feel like a classic but feels like an album for now. For this place in time, Juicy J has adapted his style and created an album that consumers will eat up. The fear is in a few years this album will seem as old hat as his horrorcore days. So enjoy the album now while its relevant before Juicy J changes styles again to sell on whatever the next craze is.