JUICE aka J.U.I.C.E. is widely know as one of, if not the best, freestyle battle emcees of all time. Born in the Southside of Chicago, growing up in L.A., before returning to Chicago when aged 20 JUICE has been performing live since 5-years-old and rapping since he was 10. JUICE is no stranger to the stage and has battled all over America for years, commanding respect on any mic he touches.
Drawing on influences within Hip Hop including LL Cool J, Rakim, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Timbaland, J Dilla as well as highlighting his influencers beyond the genre such as Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, Bob Marley and more, JUICE has been on record since 1995 and has gone on to release half a dozen plus full releases.
He famously defeated a young Eminem in the freestyle battle final at the 2nd Scribble Jam in 1997 in Cincinnati as well as defeating other notable artists in battles such as Rhymefest (who went on to be the 2003 Scribble Jam champ), Dose One plus countless others. JUICE also infamously lost a very close debatable contest with Supernatural at The Wake Up Show Freestyle Battle in 2000 (despite Supernatural violating the terms of the battle and choosing his own preferred beat to freestyle over in Round 3 of the battle to much controversy).
Beyond battle rap, JUICE has been collaborating with fellow Chicagoan Common since 1998 and has gone on to work with notable emcees including Twista, Jay-Z, Kurupt, Elzhi, Defari, amongst others. JUICE’s legendary Sway & King Tech radio appearances proved that his impeccable freestyle ability was in fact legit, as it was long wrongly claimed by many that his freestyles were too impeccable to actually be off the top of the head. After releasing a handful of classic albums throughout the 2000s including the underground favourite 100% J.U.I.C.E., JUICE has also performed live with a live six-piece band called “JUICE and the Machine” highlighting his diversity on the microphone and stage.
JUICE himself has recently stated that the newer form of battle rap is a natural evolution of hip hop and understands it is a whole different ball game now. He has considered making an entry into more modern forms of battle rap it in the past, is still considering it, and believes he would personally do very well, through his combination of written skills as well as his ability to rebuttal and freestyle, which he now claims is even better and more complex than it was in the past.
Eminem and Supernatural have both been in discussions with JUICE about potential rematch battles in the future, and works are still in progress on both of these but JUICE himself is keen for it to go down in any format – pre-written / freestyle / on beat / off beat or a hybrid combination of any. Having recently released his highly anticipated new album “Bar’d Up” in late 2015, the time appears ripe for a JUICE entry into the URL / SMACK &/ KOTD leagues.
A potential initial opponent that would suit match-up wise could be Chilla Jones or DNA. Pitting JUICE against emcees with impeccable stage presence and bundles of energy (such as your Tay Roc’s or Arsonal’s) would be difficult for JUICE for his debut URL main stage event, as would going against current #1 contenders such as Hollow Da Don / Loaded Lux / Murda Mook or NYC natives. The one major initial issue that JUICE himself knows all too well is how will he handle such a volatile URL crowd, and commanding that main stage in front of SMACK and the dozens of watchful eyes is itself no mean feat.
Chilla Jones has proven himself over many years to be one of the best in the business, having had classic battles with JC, B Magic, Conceited, DNA, Dizaster, Danny Myers, Math Hoffa, Cortez, Daylyt, Real Deal, 100 Bulletz, Tony D, Pass, QP, 2 vs. 2’s + more. One of the few hurdles for Chilla Jones to overcome is to battle a true battle veteran / recording emcee, so it would be interesting to see how Chilla would be able to handle such seasoned experience. Chilla has also proven himself to handle the freestyle ability of DNA well. Chilla’s pen game is impeccable and the complexity of his rhyme schemes would suit a battle with JUICE and could prove to be a battle for the ages as a complete barfest, that could go down in the record books as one of the best.
Pairing JUICE against a battle emcee whose strength is freestyle (such as a Charron / DNA type) may by its very nature push the battle towards a freestyle orientation and away from its initial intended format, so keeping the battle orientated to writtens would not only suit the battle itself, but also JUICE who has long been frustrated that his written material is not given the shine it deserves when compared to his legendary freestyle status.
JUICE vs. Chilla Jones – let’s see SMACK make another classic.