Yung Ralph: The Juug Man
Label: The Raw Report
Author: Patrick Taylor
Atlanta rapper Yung Ralph is the feature of this Raw Report, the DVD magazine that shows you just how real and raw your favorite rapper is. It's so raw, in fact, that they can't be bothered with things like menus. The DVD starts off with Yung Ralph buying some weed. Here's a tip: when doing a drug deal, don't bring along a camera crew. In fact, never record yourself performing any illegal activity, but especially one that could get you a few years in jail. His supplier wisely hides in his car as Yung Ralph goes through a garbage bag of weed to make sure it's good. Then they actually tape him handing off the money. Exhibit A for the prosecution in the State of Atlanta Vs. Yung Ralph.
Next is a video for "Hustle Baby" as he cruises in his candy-painted ride. The video aims to set up Yung Ralph's combination of making music and dealing drugs. This is illustrated as two naked women cook crack in his kitchen, taking time to shake their money makers while Ralph scolds them for adding too much baking soda. Again, not the best thing to document on film, even if it is clearly staged.
The DVD is intercut with Yung Ralph explaining his philosophy, his history, and his approach to music, all the while counting stacks of hundreds. I'll be honest: between his grill, his drawl, the amount of weed he smokes, and the less than pristine sound quality, I didn't catch a whole lot of the science that Ralph was dropping. He expounds upon the meaning of the nickname "Juug Man," and at another point talks about how all of the money he is stacking is old, about It's not particularly riveting stuff, especially when combined with a shaky camera.
The best moments on the DVD come when Yung Ralph stops trying to pretend he is "real" by showing off his hustling, and allows the camera to document him BEING real. He goes to the Jonesboro Projects where he grew up, and all the little kids sing his hit, "Look Like Money." He also hangs out with his boys freestyling, he plays softball, and tears it up in a club while his crew sways behind him shouting out the lyrics. These are the moments where you are allowed to see the man behind the shades, jewelry, and swagger. There's also a scene where DJ Scream is working on a mixtape in his home studio that is straight out of "Hustle and Flow." It's an nice look at a DJ working on his grind, trying to make the mixtape that will lead to success.
Musically, Yung Ralph is decent Southern street rap, with Mannie Fresh-inspired beats, and a whole lot of swagger. He is clearly inspired by Lil Wayne's stream of conscious flow, and T.I.'s laid back menace. The DVD includes videos for "Dat Da Move" which features tons of naked women, and more crotch shots than you can shake a fistful of dollar bills at, and "Look Like Money," Yung Ralph's biggest hit. "Look Like Money" is banging if vapid song, and the video for it at the very end almost makes it worth watching the whole DVD.
Are people really impressed by videos of rappers cooking crack and waving stacks of hundreds? I just see a kid who is risking serious jail time dealing drugs, and then blowing all that guap on strippers. It seems to me that one of the first lessons the rich learn is risk management, and how not to be left holding the bag when whatever financial scheme they are working on collapses. My advice to Yung Ralph is to be more discreet in his illegal dealings, and invest those hundreds he's flaunting on something that gives better returns than a stripper's g-string. You look like money, you smell like money, now ACT like money. Those who like proof that their favorite rapper truly is street might actually be able to sit through "The Juug Man"; the rest of you would be better off investing in his debut album "Most Unexpected," set to drop soon.
Content: 5 of 10
Layout: 3 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: April 8, 2008