Juicy J’s ‘Rubba Band Business’ Album Plays to His Strengths
Few rappers have aged as gracefully as Juicy J. After 25 years in the game, the Memphis legend remains relevant to fans young and old, focusing primarily on his career as a solo artist since partnering with Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang Entertainment in 2011. The Three 6 Mafia co-founder saw a resurgence in popularity with his Rubba Band Business mixtape series and his major label debut, 2013's Stay Trippy, which yielded the Juice Man a hit single via the platinum-certified "Bandz a Make Her Dance" as well a gold plaque for the Wale and Trey Songz assisted-track "Bounce That." The album marked Juicy J's re-introduction to the mainstream, opening doors for collaborations with pop royalty like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. After spending the past four years plying his trade on mixtapes and the features circuit, Juicy J unleashes his fourth studio album, Rubba Band Business, which finds him channeling the same energy that made the original mixtapes classic.
Juicy J kicks off the proceedings with "Feed the Streets," a selection on which he takes on the responsibility of hitting the pavement as a show of leadership over a frenetic Metro Boomin soundscape. "I'm in a whole other lane, flipping these racks like cane/I got rich and gave back, can you niggas say the same" Juicy boasts, while costars Project Pat and A$AP Rocky each deliver motivational stanzas of their own. Producer YK808 contributes a bombastic trap ditty with "Dodgin' the Snakes," which Juicy J packs with references to his status as an OG ("Niggas couldn't come to Memphis 'til they got a pass, nigga") and warnings to stay clear of haters, one of the initial highlights from his latest long player.
Rubba Band Business captures Juicy J in his own splendor on solo selections like the Deedot Will-produced "Hot As Hell." But, is at its best when the man of the hour is in a state of collaboration, as he is throughout the majority of the album's latter portion. Wiz Khalifa and Floridian Denzel Curry appear on "Too Many," with the trio basking in the joys of inebriation over a backdrop powered by jittery xylophones, eerie synths and percussion, while "Ain't Nothing" finds Juicy and Khalifa subbing out Denzel Curry for Ty Dolla $ign on one of Rubba Band Business' more enticing inclusions. Produced by Resource & Mike WiLL Made-It, "Ain't Nothing" houses some of the more impressive couplets from Juicy J, who flexes with lines like "This that higher-level stunting, make it rain a lot of hundreds/Gave that chick $30k to go get rid of her stomach," while juxtaposing his ability to navigate between the clubs and the streets to that of James "Ghost" St. Patrick, the main character in the hit TV show Power.
Rubba Band Business' hot streak continues with "Flood Watch," a TM88-produced cut featuring Migos member Offset, who adds to his growing résumé of standout guest appearances and the Travis Scott-assisted banger "No English," an up-tempo offering on which Juicy J employs a double-time flow with favorable results. "My plug don't speak no English and my weed is Jamaican/In Miami with Haitians, my shooters got no patience," the Mo'Faces head honcho spills over production by Lex Luger & TM88. Juicy J closes strong with "On & On," Rubba Band Business' finale cut that pairs him with Canadian exports Tory Lanez and Belly, as all three construct one of the more infectious numbers on the album.
Time has passed by many artists who were unable to keep up in an ever-evolving musical and cultural landscape, but Juicy J continues to defy the hourglass with Rubba Band Business, an album that is as sonically fresh as it is entertaining. Typically, the subject matter may be predictable and he's seldom got new tricks on display, but Rubba Band Business plays to Juicy J's strengths and succeeds in highlighting the best of what he has to offer. From rowdy selections geared for the trap, to up-tempo affairs that cater to the clubs, Juicy J shows no signs of rust or regression on Rubba Band Business. It's an album that is indicative that the O.G. has more than enough juice left in the tank, with no signs of running dry anytime soon.
See New Music Releases for December 2017