Sex, drugs and the not-bummer summer
As crunk as ever: Rap legend Juicy J’s Stay Trippy Tour made a stop in Sacramento on June 5, with one of the most anticipated lineups of the summer, featuring newcomer A$AP Ferg.
After 20 years in the rap game, Juicy J’s latest resurgence with his “Bandz a Make Her Dance” hit proves that drugs, sex and rap music aren’t just a young man’s game.
It’s been 13 years since Three 6 Mafia’s breakout hit “Sippin’ on Some Syrup,” and eight years since “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for the film Hustle & Flow) and Juicy J is still as crunk as ever and making a whole new generation of fans.
The Stay Trippy Tour is exactly what it sounds like. A sexed-up, drugged-out, two-act reincarnation of Woodstock in 2013.
A$AP Ferg proved why he is one of the most talked about new faces in the hip-hop world, putting on a wildly electric stage show. Ferg and his hype man ran through his acclaimed Trap Lord mixtape, stage diving and whipping the crowd into a frenzy before making way for Juicy J.
By the time Juicy J came to the stage, the Ace of Spades crowd seemed frantic. The 38-year-old veteran did not disappoint. After running through new material from his third solo album, Stay Trippy, the “dirty south” pioneer asked the crowd if they remembered a group called Three 6 Mafia, and the building erupted as he performed the group’s hit songs, including the aforementioned “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” and “Slob on My Knob.”
He finished the night with his current hit “Bandz a Make Her Dance.” The strip-club anthem took over airwaves and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart earlier this year—a first for the Memphis rapper.
With more than two decades in the industry, Juicy J is still outperforming most of the 20-somethings; he’s a testament to the timeless art of the party rock, or “turning up,” as it is known among the “trippy” generation. And it doesn’t look like he’ll be ready to pass the torch anytime soon, either.
Hot time, summer in the city: I have found myself on several Second Saturdays scurrying around the same grid like a worn-out rat that has long since lost sight of the prize. Maybe it was being back home in Sacramento after several months away, or maybe it was my seven-hour yard-sale shift in the 100-degree-plus sun earlier that day, but something changed for me last Saturday night. The 20th Street block between J and K streets felt rejuvenated, despite the day’s nearly fun-debilitating temperature. As host to the first of several This Midtown block parties scheduled to occur throughout the summer (www.facebook.com/thismidtown), the LowBrau (1050 20th Street) porch was packed to the rails, and a fair number of folks took up space in front of the stage for Planet Booty’s grindworthy set.
Further down the way, Bows & Arrows (1815 19th Street) hosted an evening with a former American Idol contestant, soulful singer songwriter Josiah Leming. After Leming suggested the art gawkers viewing Heather Jeremy’s new work take their conversations to the patio, a modest crowd of devoted fans remained, soundlessly mouthing Leming’s every lyric. It would have been a fine respite if the cafe hadn’t sold out of its Fat Face mango sticky-rice popsicles. We decided to explore our options elsewhere.
Our meandering took us past the usual suspects before landing us at the foot of “The Kay” district. The neon of the Crest Theatre radiated like a beacon, illuminating a living mass that moved seamlessly between half-a-dozen clubs and venues I have yet to give a chance. Outside Assembly (1000 K Street), familiar faces stepped out for a smoke between sets, seeming at ease in the midst of a scene I found so foreign.
Capitol Avenue revealed all the cabs that are otherwise missing anywhere else in the city, as midnight ushered the blacked-out and the barely standing into the sanctuary of Gogi’s Korean BBQ (1431 L Street), adjacent to The Park Ultra Lounge (1116 15th Street). Us Midtowners sat there, strangely sober amid the growing public sloppiness, eating our tofu banh mi with busy minds.
“We should open a burger joint,” a friend stated definitely, looking around. “We should open—” Suddenly, it seemed possible that the city does have the numbers to support new venues, new cafes, new spots for late-night falafel. Now, thinking about Sacramento, I’m excited again.