JUICY J @ CERVANTES' MASTERPIECE BALLROOM | 5/28/13 Juicy J is like the frying pan that you don't wash. You'd never show your guests you're cooking with him, but he is just so damned flavorful. With the crowd at Cervantes' already in his hand, and the energy fading somewhat, Juicy J pulled some classic 3-6 out of his bag of tricks, performing pieces of "Slob on my Knob," "Poppin' My Collar," "Sippin' on Some Syrup," and he had the whole crowd pledging to stay fly-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y 'til they die-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ied. The whole show had a cultish feel to it, and it reeked of mob mentality, for better or for worse.
Against the hissing hi-hats, lurching low-ends and hypnotic synth loops, Juicy J's measured, almost dronish monotone sounds like a sinister rite of passage. When he goes into call-and-repeat, it's like the whole venue is taking a blood oath. At one point, he called for the lights to be shut off and asked everyone with a lighter to spark it and hold it up. Truly, it felt like the show was primed for a ritual sacrifice.
If the show was a ritual sacrifice, the girls (and one of the guys) that got onstage were the lambs. When Juicy J called two women up and a man up onstage, he got the crowd to chant, "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" at the girls, which they pretty much had to do for fear of complete pandemonium. Then he told them all to dance which each other, which the guy tried in earnest to do, but the ladies were having none of it. As a result, he was called a pussy and booted off stage. J then addressed one of the women in a manner that she took offense to, and she promptly walked off stage. It was kind of empowering, actually.
J also reserved a segment in his show for local rappers to come on stage and showcase their skills. It may have been a problem with the sound, but both of them were way too quiet to command any sort of stage presence. The first guy sounded like he had an okay flow, but he was obviously nervous. The second guy, who was actually from Chicago, was better, but you still couldn't hear what he was saying. At least we didn't get shown up by an out-of-towner on our own home turf.
But by the end of the show, most of Juicy J's songs pretty much bled together. There's just not much sonic or tonal variety in his repertoire. His act is held together in the first place by his charisma and personality along with these side-shows he's wisely developed, but once he runs out of tricks and you get acclimated to his style and finish being starstruck, it's not much different from watching any other rapper.
A$AP Ferg came up before Juicy J and put on a show that displayed his raw power as an MC. Both he and his hypeman, who was small but equally dynamic, had energy that just exploded from the stage. They pulled out Super Soakers and beach balls, formed a mosh pit and started crowd surfing, giving the show the feel of a real party. They say that Ferg is the next one up from the A$AP crew. That may be true, but there's still a pretty big gap between him and Rocky.
Black Pegasus started the show with DJ Sh3vy and represented for Colorado well. He's been around the local scene for a long time, but he's obviously influenced by old-school Memphis rap, so he was a good opener for Juicy J. He's got some impressive connections, too, showcasing a track he did with Tech N9ne and shouting out his upcoming album, which features Dizzy Wright.
Personal Bias: I'm not easily offended, but the whole show -- save for Black Pegasus -- had a sleazy strip club vibe to it that I just couldn't get down with.
Random Note: This was a sold out show, and it was packed! And it smelled!
By the Way: Being a rapper, even a famous one, does not permit you to lift up a girl's skirt without her permission. I'm looking at you, Fergie.
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