Juvenile Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Juvenile "Ha" (1998)

Album: 400 Degreez
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “‘Ha’ was a spin off of ‘Solja Rag’ to be honest with you. If you listen to ‘Ha,’ something in there relates to you, that’s why in ‘Ha’ I’m speaking in second-person. When that song hit the radio, it was over. Everybody was calling.

“But it took a minute [to reach New York] because I remember coming up here and no one knew who I was. I was trying to tell people who I was and they was like, ‘I never heard of you.’ I came back four months later and couldn’t come out my hotel without getting mobbed. That was crazy to me. And it was all off of the same record.

 

I remember a lot about making ‘Ha.’ I intentionally was trying to make a song like ‘Soulja Rag’ so when I made ‘Ha,’ it was a little easier than ‘Soulja Rag.’ I had to think ‘Would this work?’ when I made ‘Soulja Rag.’ But ‘Ha,’ I pretty much freestyled.

 

“I remember a lot about making ‘Ha.’ I intentionally was trying to make a song like ‘Soulja Rag’ so when I made ‘Ha,’ it was a little easier than ‘Soulja Rag.’ I had to think ‘Would this work?’ when I made ‘Soulja Rag.’ But ‘Ha,’ I pretty much freestyled.

“We was in Nashville and got in the studio down there. One thing I really remember was that it was snowing like crazy. You know that don’t happen that often in Nashville. I don’t know if they still have them, but I had pictures of us standing outside the studio the same day I recorded ‘Ha’. That was the day my creative juices were flowing. Everything I said, I’m still hearing it now today.

“‘Ha’ was the most riskiest single because it was a song that you had to listen to more than one time to catch on to. Most of the time, when people hear it the first time they don't like it. Not because they don't like the beat or nothing, it's because they didn’t understand it, and they’re like, ‘Man I really didn’t get it.’

“After they listen to it a few times, they start saying, ‘Hold up, this shit relates to me. This is some shit I'm going through. This happened to me.’ And then they realize I'm playing third person on the song. To be off the beat and stay on the beat and be actually talking about something that relates to everybody. There’s a line in there for everybody. And if it's not, you can take that line and make your own line. I just think I pushed the envelope far with that record.”

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