Being a serious music fan doesn’t mean you have to take the music you listen to seriously. It can be just as rewarding to grapple with Boards of Canada at breakfast as it is to let Waka Flocka lull you to sleep. With that in mind, here’s Mixed Drinks and Mixed Tapes, a feature where I tell you which drinks should be in your hand while these mixtapes are in your speakers.
Hit the skip to keep reading.
Danny Brown: XXX
Before I go any further with Mixed Drinks and Mixed Tapes, I should make a confession: my two favorite hip-hop albums of all time are Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein and Waka Flocka’s Flockaveli. I’ve searched tirelessly to find an album that somehow might represent a conflation of these two nearly-opposite aesthetics. And I might have found it in Danny Brown’s XXX.
Where ASAP Rocky is best when at his most sedate, there is no rapper better at sounding like he’s about to completely fly off the handle than Danny Brown. His newest mixtape XXX (released through an affiliation with indie tastemakers at Fool’s Gold), D. Brown spends 53 minutes sounding like an absolute psychopath, and it’s a complete glorious mess. If you like your rap dirty, absurd, and even more Redman than Redman, look no further.
Brown is a rhyme technician of the highest order, and his ear for beats is unmatched—XXX takes the UK Grime aesthetic and Americanizes it, coming up with something that’s one part Lex Luger, one part Def Jux, one part nothing you’ve ever heard before. I couldn’t figure out which song to post along with this, so I chose two: the previously released “Outer Space”, and “Bruiser Brigade (ft. Dopehead)”, which might have the gulliest beat of the entire year.
Even though “Bruiser Brigade” is about how Danny Brown likes to drink cheap beer and wile out on some motherfuckers, you should be drinking a Bloody Mary while listening to this. Danny Brown is an admitted Adderall addict, and he makes a bunch of references to being super wasted all of the time, so it’s not exactly a stretch to say Danny’s had to shake a hangover or two. My personal favorite recipe is a modification of the classic Bloody Mary, pioneered and perfected by my college roommate: four parts Campbell’s Tomato Soup, one part Texas Pete, three parts Popov Vodka. Garnish by sprinkling bacon bits around the rim, add a packet of pepper you stole from Lenoir dining hall for taste.
Download: Danny Brown – XXX [Mediafire]
The most telling moment in ASAP Rocky’s career occurs in his video for “Purple Swag”: the beat switches up, and we’re treated to a shot of Rocky, shirtless, riding the handlebars of a bike while one of his homeboys parades him through Harlem, surveying his realm on some hood Uther Pendragon shit. Despite not having conquered the crusade that is his teen years, ASAP Rocky is one regal-ass dude. His mixtape, Deep Purple, is fairly amazing, even though ASAP at times struggles to distinguish himself from the other dudes in his crew who show up for guest spots.
Deep Purple succeeds almost fully on the strength of its production—at times, it can be hypnotizing, mellifluously drifting by as Rocky spits about smoking weed, being swagged out, and how he wants to be even more swagged out when he’s rich. Kid’s got amazing taste, having worked with internet “it boy” Clams Casino and lyrically checking Biggie and, well, the movie Kids. If, by this point, you hadn’t realized I was going to tell you to mix up some promethezine, gummy bears and Sprite for some deliciously delicious and illegally illegal purple drank, then this is the time that you should be realizing it.
Download: ASAP Rocky – Deep Purple [Dat Piff]
Now that Three 6 Mafia has kinda-sorta disbanded, it’s interesting what Juicy J., the group’s primary producer, has been up to. Mainly, he’s given up producing and assumed his rightful position of being the craziest Oscar winner of all time (no Sean Penn). And while Sean Penn decided to resort to half-baked political activism to prove his craziness, Juicy J decided that he needed to get himself a catchphrase (“WE TRIPPY MANE!”) and make a bunch of mixtapes about getting fucked the fuck up, as well as produce the occasional music video that features him talking really fast and playing video games with strippers.
There is, however, a method to his madness, as his recent substance-addled mixtapes have served as a proving ground for new talent who grew up on Three 6 and the gothic mechanicrunk they pioneered. He’s made two intermittently fantastic tapes with Lex Luger, and made songs that showcase young bucks like Cory Gunz, Casey Veggies, and Wiz Khalifa.
This time around, he’s been kind enough to team up with Lex Luger’s group V.A.P.B. for a tape featuring a gaggle of fresh Luger productions, as well as work by like-minded trap wizards like Sonny Digital, Lil Lody and Young Ced. If I still owned a car, this would be all I would listen to for about three weeks straight.
Just because Juicy J raps about drinking every single liquid in the universe doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be discerning when deciding what to drink while giving Young N—ga Movement a spin, however. I recommend a nice glass of Scotch on the rocks. It’s just like Young N—ga Movement: Simple, direct and with hi-hats on the sixteenth notes
Download: Juicy J & V.A.P.B – Young N–ga Movement [Dat Piff]
While we at Mixed Drinks and Mixed Tapes would never discourage experimentation on the part of any rapper, especially one with such an admittedly limited range as OJ Da Juiceman, there is no reason that Otis Williams, Jr. had to go and pull some bullshit like this. Just for the record, this is a mixtape of R&B songs, courtesy of OJ Da Juiceman, who is obviously the number one expert on interpersonal relationships in America.
This mixtape is almost insanely unlistenable, and is saved solely by the presence of “Supaman (sic) High”, a pretty great R. Kelly song featuring OJ Da Juiceman for some unfuckingknowable reason, even though its factual accuracy is dubious at best, as Superman was not a known drug user.
This mixtape’s existence brings to mind a lot of questions, though—like what is OJ Da Juiceman’s day-to-day life like? Does he own his own home, or does he rent? Has he ever had to apply for a loan, or can he actually afford an island as he claims to be able to on “I Got Juice?” What does OJ Da Juiceman put on his grocery list? Orange juice, I would guess. But what else? Avocados? Toaster Strudel? Soysage?
Oh yeah, this mixtape is terrible. Fuck you, OJ Da Juiceman. I listened to this all the way through. If you feel the need to do the same, be sure to be imbibing a screwdriver while doing so, but replace the vodka with turpentine.
Download: OJ Da Juiceman – R&B Juice [Dat Piff]
Stream a track from each mixtape below.
Danny Brown – “Outer Space”
ASAP Rocky – “Wassup”
V.A.B.P. – “Chopper Loose” F. Project Pat
OJ Da Juiceman – “Supaman High” F. R. Kelly