Hip-hop legend Juicy J has come through with a fearsome new mixtape titled Highly Intoxicated, which shows many of hip-hop’s crop of newcomers how one should be rapping about drugs, jewellery, money and women. Considering that the Three 6 Mafia front man basically invented the trippy, zip-and-a-double-cup trap sound that is so dominant in today’s rap scene, the veteran doesn’t get enough noise.
However, on this new release Juicy J proves that he’s more than just an influence on the contemporary hip-hop scene – but a valuable player. Bringing along much of rap’s freshest talent along for the ride – including Cardi B, Wiz Khalifa and A$AP Rocky – Highly Intoxicated is a hip-hop master class from Three 6 Mafia’s finest.
The intro is a clear nod to Juicy’s horrorcore hip-hop roots. Produced in collaboration with New Orleans duo $uicide Boy$, the track reminds us why this niche genre is still so influential. Beginning with a crack of thunder, the dark, menacing samples and dramatic strings are reminiscent of the rapper’s early work. Furthermore, the track clearly demonstrates where dark, trippy newcomers like Lil Wop and Chief Keef got the idea for their horror-inspired sound.
Moving into the opening track Highly Intoxicated – from which the record takes its name – Juicy J brings in production from Crazy Mike and some rapid, tongue-twisting lines. Juicy’s lyrics are always no-holds barred, gangsta and gritty, and many of the lines in Highly Intoxicated are straight nasty:
“Just like Drizzy and 2 Chainz, nigga I got a big amount/She want some real nigga dick in her mouth/Just like a hoe, I be dicking her out.”
However, the highlights of this track are in the ad lib. In between verses, Juicy says “I was gon’ talk some shit, right here/But fuck it, I’m going back in” – and back in he certainly does go, coming through with another face-melting series of quick-fire bars.
Moving into track three, Juicy teams up with controversial 19-year-old rapper XXXTentacion for some inter-generational tag-team. With the help of production from Southside, this collaboration makes us hope that XXXTentacion might re-think his statement from late October, when he vowed to quit music despite his massively lucrative deal with Capitol records.
Other younger rappers which provide standout performances alongside the Three 6 Mafia veteran include A$AP Rocky. Freaky brings $uicide Boy$ back in on the production with a banger of a beat and the infectious hook, “Down south girls love to do those freaky things”. Adding a smoother, more relaxed flow to the track, Rocky’s feature adds an interesting change of tempo and contrast to an otherwise full-throttle record.
Other new generation collaborations on the tape include a feature from Cardi B on Karmasutra. Proving that the ladies can do it just as nasty, Cardi B opens with some gritty ad lib declaring:
“No bitch got a mouth like me/No bitch got a pussy like me/The fuck?/Bitch can’t suck dick like me/Rap and spit on the dick at the same time!”
— Ok sis!
Coming through with a hook reminiscent of some earlier horrorcore-meets-badass-female-attitude – think Juicy’s female Memphis counterparts La Chat and Gangster Boo – Karmasutra is a further opportunity for a new generation of rappers to showcase some of their best bars.
However, it’s not only the youngsters that shine on this mixtape. Collaborations from Juicy’s own generation comprise other excellent additions to an already strong tape. Furthermore, these guest appearances from the likes of Rick Ross dispel any cynical accusations of Juicy only inviting the young crowd in to stay relevant. More than anything, Highly Intoxicated proves that Juicy J is still a trailblazer for the genre at the ripe old age of 42.
Even though Juicy J comes through with some signature stomach-churning lines – see a further track with $uicide Boy$, Bitch From the Gram – we’re not acting like Juicy is breaking any boundaries lyrically. He sticks to the classics – weed, champagne, hoes, gunshots and hustling. Admittedly, a lot of this fail-safe subject matter can get a bit tired after a while, but it’s Juicy’s unrelenting energy that carries the mixtape along. Furthermore, sharing the limelight with fresh new talent over production that sticks to his horrorcore roots makes for a mixtape that’s compulsive, high-energy listening.
Like a fine wine, Juicy J is arguably getting better with age. Hopefully a standout mixtape like Highly Intoxicated will get the Memphis pioneer the recognition he deserves.