The evening was going badly. Last night in the stone-walled basement of Micheline’s under the JMZ, there were about 20 or so people staring blankly at a UK-hardcore DJ/MC duo from Riff Raff Crew. While the DJ spun what’s best described as tin-man farts, the aforementioned “emcee”—for argument’s sake, let’s just call him Skinny Young Kid With the Mic—kept leaning over the decks and coaching his partner “Bust that groove!” and “We’re gonna rock the party!” as if the rest of us had stumbled into a private personal-trainer session at Crunch. Even worse, SYKWTM kept pretending like narration is a better substitute then trainwrecking, so instead of the Riff Raff DJ actually planning a straight mix, SYKWTM would simply preface transitions by saying something like, “We’re gonna try a new style here” while the beats just dropped. The only person to feign movement was a lanky geek in an aquarium-gift-shop-style humpback-whale T-shirt. Whatta nice nerd.
More like an empathetic nerd. Turned out that was as Juiceboxxx, a dork-hop dude from Milwaukee whose IM-era Blume-fluenced full-length is called R U There God?? It’s me Juiceboxxx. God was there for me last night: he replaced the Riff Raff Crew with this Triple-X Juice Container. And all I’ve gotta say is holy shit.
Juiceboxxx is Paul Barman with actual beats, Urkle with Day-Glo-steez, and he’s way better than either description makes him sound. He shows up in glasses, jeans split in the knees, and that god-awful whale shirt — costume it may be, but he doesn’t wear it with irony. But then he takes off his specs, frees himself from the mammal print, turns into spastic “Juice Boy,” like a party-rap Superman or some shit.
Most impressive of all, Juiceboxxx and NY-based collaborator Dre Skull got a motionless crowd of 40 or 50 weekday-weary kids to freak out. He just started pogoing into people, onto people, at people, jumping on top of them, forcing them to move. He spazzed like a third-grader after a bag of jelly beans. He shook, he sputtered, he fell on the ground, rubbed his head on the floor, swung from the ceiling rafters.
To paraphrase the Juice himself, he dispensed fresh rhymes like soap. He chided suckers to beware. He told motherfuckers to beware. Then he proceeded to tear off his shoes and his pants. Under his clothes? Old-school Skidz-type bottoms. The kind with the droopy butt and the elasticized waist.
Juiceboxxx and Dre Skull play this Saturday, January 13 at the Cake Shop.