New Orleans has a reputation as a breeding ground for raw, unbridled rap music and the city's artistic offspring make for intriguing and awe-inspiring players in the rap game. But of all of New Orleans' native sons none is more formidable than Juvenile.
From the early 90's as a member of 3Grand and the release of an underground solo project, to his signing with the infamous (then underground) label Cash Money Records as a member of The Hot Boys (along with group members B.G., Lil Wayne and Turk), Juvenile's role as a pioneering southern rapper cannot be underestimated. The fact that he has helped New Orleans claim major prominence in the annals of hip-hop history cannot be overlooked.
Born Terius Gray, the rapper known as Juvenile first came to national prominence with The Hot Boys 1997 debut Get It How U Live, followed by 1999's platinum certified, Guerilla Warfare and 2003's Let 'Em Burn. But it has been his solo performances - most notably, his third CD, 1998's 4x platinum 400 Degreez, which spawned the hits, 'Ha' and 'Back That Thang Up' -- that catapulted Juve to mega-star status. The CD also garnered him many awards and accolades including a Soul Train Award (2000), Billboard Award (1999), Source Award (1999) and an American Music Award nomination (1999). Juvenile's no-holds-barred rap lyrics and rough-around-the-edges persona made him an icon to young hip-hop heads enamored with rappers who 'keep it real.' And, says the 28-year-old rapper, he's done it all without really trying. "I don't think about it," he says. "When I do an album I don't worry about what the people are gonna think. I just do an album. I don't have a format to the way I do songs, I just do 'em."
That's the approach heís taken with his previous five CDs: Being Myself on Warlock Records (1995) to his Cash Money releases; gold certified, Solja Rags (1997), 4x platinum certified, 400 Degreez, platinum certified, G Code (1999), and the critically acclaimed gold certified, Project English (2001). And itís the same approach he took with his current release, Juve The Great. "This CD let's the people hear the different styles and tones and different ideas that run through Juve's head within a day's time."
If 'Ha' and 'Back That Thang Up' set new standards for dirty south hip-hop, then the songs on Juve The Great will raise the bar even higher for those trying to appeal to hip- hop fans who like their music unsweetened and not watered down. Case in point, in the CD's lead single, "In My Life," Juve dishes out an unabashed tribute to his ballin' lifestyle. "I'm just talking on there," he laughs. "It's just got that Juve vibe."
And that Juve vibe runs throughout Juve The Great, which, as expected, features production by Cash Money's resident hitmaker Mannie Fresh. From the old-school-flavored Bounce Back -- featuring millionaire Baby -- to the dirty anthem, Down South Posted with Wacko
--- from the official Juvenile website