Juicy J returns with more of the same on "Blue Dream & Lean 2."
In the era of Yeezus Christ and King Kendrick, it's easy to fall into the mindset that every hip-hop album should be an experiment in pushing hip-hop forward. Every track should ooze with idealism and what's new. This feeling goes double for mixtapes. Freed from the binds of needing to make something that is commercially viable, rappers are able to let their wildest experiments roam. If fans complain, eff em. It was free, after all.
But where does that leave rap's workhorses? The rapper's who have found a lane that they know is their own, and just want to stick to where they are comfortable? All of this is a long-winded way of saying whether you love or hate Juicy J
's Blue Dream & Lean 2
depends on how willing you are to approach the mixtape on its own terms.
It's ridiculously drunk, high and violent terms.
If you expected the former Three 6 Mafia
member to do anything but Stay Trippy,
then this mixtape is bound to disappoint. BD&L2
doesn't contain anything new when held up to the star-making original or Juicy's major-label debut. But if your "Turn Up" playlist is getting a little stale, Juicy has your back with 15 tracks that sound excellent when several kinds of loud are involved.
BD&L2 is largely made up of beats reminiscent of the Memphis sound Juicy helped create. Even if they've been polished up for radio, these songs still largely sound like they were recorded with the darkest club imaginable in mind. That songs like "I'm Sicka" and "Stoner's Night" sound like they'd slot easily into a mainstream hip-hop radio playlist says less about the direction that Juicy J's heading in than it does about mainstream hip-hop. Like he says on the K. Camp-featuring "All I Need":
"Made a name, made some change/ got respect, got some fame/ now they love our shit, cause we made our own lane."
Juicy J has made tracks like the ones on BD&L2 since the beginning, but it wasn't until recently that the world at large started listening. You can accuse BD&L2 of being many things (stale, unoriginal, a little bit ignorant), but you can't claim it's anything else but Juicy J.