Patrick St. Michel: Mike WiLL Made It’s spacious, unsettling beat deserves way better than this. If “Bands A Make Her Dance” approached the strip club as a seedy, depressing place, this creepy production would have been wonderful. Instead, Juicy J revels in the place, his giddiness at the prospect of seeing women…naked! Lil Wayne phones in his verse, not even bothering to think of anything clever when making a Steven Spielberg joke. 2 Chainz is 2 Chainz. And all of this could have worked, had it unfolded over the sort of idiot-beat one expects to actually hear in a strip club. It doesn’t, and ultimately just sounds like a huge mismatch.
Michelle Myers: Diminishing returns on the Wayne & Chainz verses, but there are brief moments of brilliance, especially when the beat drops out and then crashes back in on “Juicy J can’t.” Credit should really go to Mike Will, who uses a much wider dynamic range than most radio-rap producers in the game right now. He creates drama and tension by switching from restrained, percussive beats to full-on melodic Sonny Digital-esque maximalism. Strip club rap should always be so theatrical.
Jonathan Bogart: Catchiness isn’t everything.
Anthony Easton: Such a thin line when lassitude as an aesthetic choice becomes boring because the choice is invalid — invalid in the sense that it doesn’t add anything to the discourse. There is a section in this song where that problem comes to a head.
Brad Shoup: Recorded in some girl’s apartment with a low-to-medium-end mic, and it shows on everything from the sonics to the sly humor. I’ll give him poking it like wet paint, but only if I can take this John Carpenter-in-ice shit back. “Brand New Guy” did something similar, but now it sounds like it actually had a budget, and the rappers involved matched the demented energy. Only 2 Chainz goes this route, and he’s rewarded with a fine verse that doesn’t say “Steven Spielnigga”.
Al Shipley: Between this and French Montana’s “Pop That,” lately rap radio has sounded like a horror movie in a strip club, which is appropriate since that’s the aesthetic Juicy J has been pioneering for two decades now. Sitting around listening to these guys bitterly toss bands at women (remember last year when “racks” was the generic money slang of the day?), though, is more like porn torture than torture porn. Mike Will Made It deserves bonus points for adding those little drops and stutters that interact with the verses, though.
Katherine St Asaph: Juicy J, featuring recycled beat and Wayne. (2 Chainz is fine, but only because there’s less to recycle.)
Alfred Soto: The zomboid anomie of Juicy’s timbre mirrors the pneumatic thrills of too many nights in strip clubs, which I suppose is the point. But four years after “Lollipop” Wayne’s voice sounds like he’s inhaled secondhand cigarette smoke in private booths for about that long. If 2 Chainz at least sounds game, credit his youth. Consider him warned.