Juicy J's reinvention as a prolific mixtape rapper was a runaway success, not only reminding listeners how much the latest wave of dark, aggressive strip club rap owes to Three 6 but establishing his ability to make hits outside the group with "Bandz A Make Her Dance," one of hip-hop radio's biggest songs of 2012. But Stay Trippy took a year to arrive after that song broke big, with two big name executive producers signing on: Wiz Khalifa, the Pittsburgh rapper who made many dispiriting concessions to the mainstream in his transition from mixtape favorite to national star, and Dr. Luke, the pop impresario responsible for hits by Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson. That pedigree could've derailed Stay Trippy as a crossover attempt as ill-conceived as "Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body)," but somehow it didn't. This is a Juicy J album, through and through. Much of the album is produced by popular young Southern producers like Mike WiLL Made It, Lex Luger and Young Chop, all of whom were literally in diapers when Juicy J began making records in the early '90s. Occasionally the Juiceman still gets behind the boards, and "Money A Do It" features a hard snare drum slap and abrupt mid-song tempo change reminiscent of classic Hypnotize Minds cuts like "Triple Six Clubhouse." Dr. Luke only produces a couple tracks, neither of which leans too conspicuously toward Top 40 radio, and even the appearance of a bona fide pop star, Justin Timberlake, on "The Woods," doesn't stick out too much; Timberlake, after all, is from Tennessee, and has collaborated with Three 6 before. Juicy J seemed the most out of his element on the advance single "One of Those Nights," featuring shrill Canadian singer The Weeknd, but that song ended up being left off the album. Instead, a less bothersome Weeknd sample turns up on "Smokin' Rollin'." Guest verses by Wale, Big Sean and, yes, a rapping Chris Brown may not add much to the album, but they never substantially change the mood or steal the spotlight from Juicy J. It might sound like Juicy J is trying too hard to adapt to the times, but the truth is that he's simply getting comfortable in a mainstream rap climate that he's been a major influence on. Even when Three 6 Mafia were relatively underground phenomenon, there was still a sense that they had crude, shrewd commercial instincts, and would chase whatever idea seemed like a hit (resulting in canny, zeitgeist-grabbing singles like "2-Way Freak" and "Ridin' Spinners"). So Stay Trippy winds up as something of a triumph, one of the year's most thoroughly enjoyable major label albums, while Goodie Mob were trying to please so many different audiences, some of them imaginary, that they ended up making nobody happy.