On paper, Juicy J working with Lex Lugar doesn’t really come as a surprise. In Lugar’s minimal, sometimes eerie, always bass heavy beats, it’s easy to hear Juicy J’s influence. The cheap lumbering monsters that Juicy J & DJ Paul created in their heyday were less aggressive and slower, but that same sense of intense menace is very much present in Lugar’s work. It was surprising then, that Juicy J stumbled quite a bit on their first collaboration, Rubba Band Business Vol 1. That tape saw Juicy J attempting to consolidate himself into Lugar’s faster, more “anthemic” monolith and there were many times where he was simply swallowed by the beats, nowhere to be heard in the din of 808 drum patterns and junk store synthesizers. On Vol 2; however, Juicy J seems to have found his way and is able to maneuver Lugar’s uniformly truck thumpers with relative ease.
Juicy J is 38 years old; He’s been in the game for close to 2 decades. Whether it was creating creeping blob like trunk knockers with heralded goon rap squad Three Six Mafia, rapping about the basics: women, murder, and drug dealing, or moving into mansions on MTV while accepting Oscars in a bombastic form, It’s really been a weird journey for this southern rapper. Now, he sounds like a man, approaching middle age, stuck in the inertia of a never ending party. And, as much as some of the tracks get you moving: It’s depressing as fuck.
“You say no to drugs! Juicy J can’t!” is declared at the start of the very infectious “A Zip and a Double Cup”. You get the feeling that he’s actually serious. This isn’t someone who really wants to hang out with women half his age hoping for a quick lay, but it’s all he really knows. He can say “fuck my liver/ fuck my lungs,” but there’s a weary quality to his voice; he may be fronting this nihilistic attitude, but at this point it really doesn’t sound like “fuck it!” but “I can’t stop it!”. Juicy J sounds most excited and most energized when he’s detailing his most vicious exploits. When he’s proclaiming that he will leave your house with only its frame, or when he’s chiding a mother for grieving for her child because “it was just business”, he loses that tired cadence in his voice. I don’t really know if that’s sadder or scarier, but honestly, I’d rather listen to him proclaiming himself to be King Kong, than to hear him sadly tell me that he still goes to Sorority house parties.
Juicy J himself performs as competently as could be expected of him. He’s certainly always been a better producer than a rapper, but here are not many complaints to be found. There are some definite highs on this tape, often provided by features. LA stoner rap genius Curren$y delivers brilliantly on the otherwise unfortunate “Paid For Bitch I Own You” where he compares girls he meets to solid gold dancers and declares his reefer to be “Strain Andromeda.” On stand out track “Pills, Weed & Pussy”, a show stealing Project Pat delivers the strongest chorus of the tape thanks to his one dimensional, but always fun delivery, (God bless the way this man pronounces “cigar”) while Don Trip provides a mediocre verse but a nice chorus about cracking skulls in the club
Diehard fans of both Lugar and Juicy J will definitely want to listen to Rubba Band Buisness Vol 2, but like most Trappaholics tapes the fundamental flaw of Vol 2 is it’s far too much and it lacks variety. Juicy J sticks to surface level rapping that usually stays in obscene territories. And while Lugar’s beats are not necessarily stale, they are pretty much the same in form. There are a few more laid back tracks that aren’t produced by him (No ID, Big Germ, and even Juicy J all have their go), but they aren’t interesting enough to break up the flow of steady Lugar bangers. Rubba Band Business Vol 2 may ultimately lack playability in its entirety. There are a handful of tracks that deserve to be dusted off and played again, but as entity, it’s probably not something anyone will be banging front to back in 6 months.
You can listen or download Rubba Band Business vol 2 here