Review : Juicy J - Blue Dream & Lean
Pitchfork.Juicy J cuts to the chase early on Blue Dream & Lean: The entire chorus of "Juicy J Can't", the album's third track, is, "You say no to drugs/ Juicy J can't." It's informative, though not completely necessary on a mixtape that derives its title by rhyming the slang for cough syrup and soda with the name of a strand of weed. Juicy-- one half of legendary, and legendarily bizarre, Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia-- seemingly spent most of 2011 ingesting enough recreational drugs to make Nikki Sixx raise an eyebrow, and paying producer Lex Luger for beats so he can rap about it. Blue Dream & Lean is basically a continuation of Juicy's two collaborative mixtapes with Luger, Rubber Band Business and Rubber Band Business 2. Despite Luger's producing only nine of the album's 28 tracks, beats by Sonny Digital and Juicy himself work off of Luger's blueprint, which itself is partially filtered down from the type of dark, head-knocking production of classic Three 6.
The success and failure of the mixtape are two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, there's cohesion to Blue Dream & Lean that serves it well. The result of Juicy's chanting about taking drugs over tracks that are largely similar is that he pulls you into his world, one where narcotics blur everything together until one day you have a 28-track mixtape, yet you still need to title every song, but you're so stoned that you just pick the dominant line from every chorus. Lesser artists have tried much harder to achieve the same effect and failed, and Juicy pulls it off effortlessly. The flip side of that, of course, is that a 28-track mixtape featuring Juicy J chanting over largely similar beats is far too many tracks, especially on the heels of two related tapes. Blue Dream & Lean could be chopped in half and be no worse for the wear, but that's par for the course.
It's a shame, too, because a combination of the best Luger-style tracks and the few songs that go in a different direction would make for a very good album. The opening quarter of the mixtape is especially inspired, as it finds Juicy at the point where he's most concentrated on casually, almost mindlessly, talking shit. Interspersed throughout the album are songs like "Big Bank"(produced by Drumma Boy, one of the most diverse producers in the South) and "Stoners Night 2", which break up the slight monotony but deserve to be highlighted even further. The latter, done by notable up-and-coming producer Harry Fraud, features a lush, soulful sample that's a breath of fresh air amongst the album's suffocating palette....full text
XxlmagEvery so often, I awaken in the middle of the night, the horrifying effects of sobriety rocking me to my very core. Still half asleep, I quickly reach for a double cup, or better yet, a blunt submerged in a double cup, before reality sets in—there are none in sight, as I’m still feeling the effects of my dream. I’m drifting out of my fantasy night out with Juice J, perhaps brought on by watching old reruns of Adventures in Hollyhood, or listening to Rubbaband Business 2 way past my bedtime. Just as I begin to settle back into my mundane existence, Juicy J drops Blue Dream & Lean, and I’m back—another opportunity to live vicariously through the trippiest rapper in the game.
“Man this weed got me with the munchies, I need a snack/Even after winning Oscars, we don’t know how to act,” Juicy J proclaims on the Lex Luger produced opener “Drugged Out.” It’s a fitting start, setting the stage for another mixtape of unapologetic irresponsibility, and curb-stomping beats galore (also known as Juicy doing Juicy). Other standout tracks include the Drumma Boy produced “Big Bank,” and “Stoner’s Night 2,” alongside Taylor Gang labelmate Wiz Khalifa.
Occasionally, Juicy manages to digress from drug talk, addressing tamer subjects like cutting out people’s tongues and using firearms, as he does on “Ain’t Allowed Where I’m From” and “Stay Strapped,” both of which feature his older brother, Project Pat. With a menacing “Snip! Snip!” ad lib, chopping off someone’s fingers has never sounded so fun.
Fittingly enough, it’s hard to put a finger on what makes Juicy J’s mixtapes so fun. They’re predictable—all the beats kind of sound the same—and they’re a bit overwhelming: this one clocking in at 28 songs. The Juice man’s distaste for moderation appears to be the same, whether it’s in regard to recreational drug use or creating a track list of a reasonable length. Even so, Blue Dream & Lean ends up being another Juicy J mixtape that’s just truly hard not to enjoy. So grab your vices and leave your sensibilities behind; it’s time to get trippy. —Neil Martinez-Belkin...full text
MishkanycBlue Dream & Lean is the same Juicy J we’ve come to know and love since the early days of Three 6 Mafia. He’s still rapping about the same things: drugs (LOTS of drugs), sex, killing people, getting rich…in other words everything that terrifies ours mothers about “rap.”
Lyrically, every J song is basically the same thing. But, he has such a huge personality and great delivery that it never gets old. He also has a strange sense of humor that helps, too. For example, the anti D.A.R.E: “You say no to drugs. Juicy J can’t.” That’s such a ridiculous boast, and it’s that kind of thing that makes J entertaining as hell.
With both Rubbaband Business tapes, J and Lex Luger created a sound Beholdthedestroyer described as “meditational crunk,” which truthfully is too apt and awesome of a description not to quote.. especially when you’re talking about another J tape. Lex Luger produces many of the tracks on Blue Dream & Lean and for the most part this mixtape retains that intense, yet-spacey sound. Lex Luger’s beats are still much more detailed than his imitators, but for the most part, all this mixtape’s beats are solid. Juicy J produced a number of tracks himself which is great. Since the falling off of Three 6, it became easy to forget that J can make dope beats. Juicy J’s production like The Weeknd-Sampling “Lucky Charm” or the Wiz Khalifa and Tyler, The Creator sampling “Gotta New One,” or the ultra triumphant soul fest “Deez Bitches Rollin” are some of this mixtape’s best moments. “Deez Bitches” is definitely my favorite track on the tape.
I have this idea that Juicy J is the Godfather of swag. He really seems like a mentor to the young swag rappers and that’s very clear on “Blue Dream.” Many of the guests on this mixtape are just that: young swag rappers. Total crazyman Spaceghost Purp appears twice. He’s on “Deez Bitches Rollin” and also on the angry as hell “Real Hustlas Don’t Sleep” with his A$AP crew mate Rocky. The underrated Odd Fututre semi-affiliate Speak! Also guests on “Deez Bitches” and totally kills that verse “All these purple naked ladies got me feeling like prince.”
One of the album’s most “mentor” moments is when Casey Veggies (another semi Odd Future affiliate) says “Hey, Juice man I hope you can get me in this club” on “Flood Out The Club.” Juicy J has been supporting Veggies for a long time and that moment comes off as this weird almost father/son thing. Not in a super creepy way though....full text
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