You spend a decade of your life trying to create good stuff then after just one horrible on-air appearance on some audio impaired local news station in Milwaukee, WI, (www.youtube.com/watch?v=37zRmQwS74I) all people remembered is “you’re the dude who blew on TV” and tag you as “the worst rapper ever”. That’s pretty much been the story of Juiceboxxx’s (https://www.facebook.com/thunderzoneusa) life: misheard, misused and misunderstood. Well, with the release of his Freaked Out American Loser album the tides may be changing for this young punk rapper.
Think of The Beastie Boys trying to be The Ramones while pretending to be Eminem and you’ve pretty much pegged the sound on this Juiceboxxx LP. Yes, it’s derivative, but that doesn’t mean its not good. Any artist worth listening to would admit to standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before them. The nine songs on Freaked Out American Loser add up to taking one step further on the journey of building and expanding the ever changing language of hip hop culture. Juiceboxxx may not yet be the best in the game, but his commitment to its ideals are undeniable.
Leading off with Freaking Out he keeps the bass low and the drums high. The syncopated fire he spits on the mic over this track come across as crisp and sharp. His lyrics feign and pivot like a skilled swordsman deftly skewing vowels and consonants with elated abandon while laying down lines like “Out of my mind but I’m a hell of a guy, I got the PMA, that’s just an FYI, I got a J-O-B and that’s to stay alive, 24/7 not 9 to 5”. Not too shabby considering it’s coming out of the mouth of a player from the Midwestern cheese capital of America.
This is followed by an aggressively angry joint called Brutalized. Here you get the sense that this guy’s been riding some really big tiger with a mouthful of razor sharp teeth in his lifetime and what his endless fight is like to keep from falling off that tiger’s back. You know, sort of scary although exhilarating at the same time. Go To The Club Alone is the alienation anthem we’ve all song along to every now and then with a hand placed stoically over the heart while standing at attention as our freak flag flies. With a cut like Destruction And Redemption the title much says it all, so why say anything more?
Juiceboxxx is known for often unsettling people with his confrontational approach to their cookie cutter mindset and Guts And Tension squarely hits that mark with sniper like precision. Imagine performing eye surgery with a broken beer bottle and you’ve hit that nail squarely on the head. Lifers And Losers lowers the energy of Freaked Out American Loser down a notch or two but it’s gone before you know it as it segues into the insanely intense Permanent Brain Damage. The double kick drums here go into overdrive on No Good Way To Grow Up and get a savage workout before coming to a close.
There’s nothing crazy about saving the title track for the end because it’s keeping the best for last. It’s the slickest of the sick set that makes up this musician’s current compilation. Freaked Out American Loser is much more polished than Juiceboxxx’s prior recordings. In fact it reaches a level of commercialism, a term that would probably make our Wisconsin MC puke, that may even open a few of the doors leading to mainstream success for him. Maybe, just maybe, this is where the hard fought battle takes a turn and when the American loser finally begins win.