“Let’s get ratchet,” Juicy J said to an agreeable and sold out Fillmore Silver Spring
Thursday night’s Smoker’s Club Tour stop at suburban concert outpost Fillmore Silver Spring was an event of super-heroic proportions. If Superman was born on Krypton, then concert headliner, ex-Three Six Mafia member and current Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang affiliate Juicy J is from the Altered States of Turnt Up. A few rules about this strange new world before we continue. Marijuana, codeine, ecstasy and Xanax wrote the constitution, and the socialist state is governed by four rules: “Fuck bitches, smoke weed, get high and make money.” The laws of the land were stated at the height of the festivities, the legendary Tennessee emcee being surrounded onstage by ten women, all of whom were “trippy” enough to get onstage and dance with the performer, but none were “trippy” enough to follow his next edict, to “show dem titties.” Yep, thus was the nature of another day in the life in the Altered States of Turnt Up.
Juicy J is an Academy Award-winning rapper, his performance on Hustle and Flow title track “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp” taking Juicy J along with Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, Koopsta Knicca and DJ Paul to stratospheric levels of fame, arguably making them some of the most groundbreaking emcees in rap history. Thus, Juicy J aligning himself with rising rapper Wiz Khalifa makes all of the sense in the world. If anything, Khalifa’s Taylor Gang is all about extending the hustle-friendly trap mentality to the suburbs which, given the nature of Fillmore Silver Spring being a sold out sea of Juicy J’s signature “We Trippy Mane” t-shirts and doe eyed blonde haired teens droppin’ their booties low and twerkin’ on the floor, the plan is working well.
J’s mixtape output leading up to soon to be released album Still Trippy has been voluminous, including tracks with provocative insider drug lingo filled titles like “A Zip and a Double Cup” and “Geeked Up Off Them Bars.” If you’re unaware of these underground hits, it’s okay. If the last time you listened to music that advocated drug use involved Jimi Hendrix, Afroman or any artist in between, much like the Four Tops, it’s the same old song, with different lyrics since you’ve been gone. The key to Juicy J is his persona. He’s a jovial, purple piff loving, pied piper of promethazine. He suggested that women fighting in the crowd during his set get on-stage and settle their differences with live mutual cunnilingus. Upon hearing the roar of approval from the rabid throng, you can’t help but, even after possibly recoiling in shock, giggle repeatedly. This is silly, this is stupid, this is fun. It’s America, it’s rap, and this is pop music. While it’s not exactly “I Want Candy,” it’s “We Want Molly,” so the event keeps rolling along.
Washington, DC native Fat Trel’s inclusion on the 30+ city tour makes sense. Trap music is insanely popular at the moment. The percussion and synthesizer-laden productions made popular by Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame have, like the artists who rapped over them, become pop culture staples. At it’s core, trap sounds require stories of “real” men doing “real” things in “real” places for the frightening sonic air raid to make sense, and Northeast DC”s “Fat Fool” more than fits the bill. At one point, the stage was filled nearly 50 deep with Trel, his self-admitted squad of rap “goons” the Slutty Boyz, and a racial melange of “the DMV’s baddest bitches” onstage dousing the crowd in bottled water and peach Ciroc. The cause? Trel’s underground instant classic “Respect With the Tech.” For a crowd that was later chastised for fighting, Trel’s style of “turnt up” rap involves wild behavior with a violent edge. Again, if a hip-hop culture fanatic, this is nothing new. The new rising trap prince is just fatter, far more “geetchie” and a willfully naked hood emperor. Sporting the proverbial new clothes while addressing his hometown kingdom, it was another promising night for what many will call rap’s most unlikely new star.
Alongside Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz and Chicago neophyte Chief Keef, Juicy J is a current pop music king. On a night where Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ showcased pot-rap’s lyrical dexterity, Smoke DZA praised the potency of marijuana’s “Sour Diesel” strain, and Fat Trel got the crowd turnt up on “Swishers and Liquor,” the final statements made by the headliner felt like the collective voice of young America preaching from on high. The Tennessean’s slow grinding strip club anthem “Bands a Make Her Dance” is the right song at the right time, and following up that song with self-styled anthem “Juicy J Can’t” provided a hook that summed up the evening perfectly.
“You say no to drugs, Juicy J can’t.”