Juvenile Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Juve the Great recalls the making of hits like "Ha," "Back That Azz Up," "Slow Motion," and more.

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Tomorrow marks the 14-year anniversary of Juvenile's 400 Degreez. The album sold over four million copies, spawned rap's greatest booty shaking anthem ("Back That Azz Up"), established Juvenile as a premier Southern rapper, and took Cash Money from a strong independent label to a national empire. A few months back, Juve swung by the Complex offices to discuss the making of not only the essential cuts from 400 Degreez, but all the songs that shaped his career.

Talking to the 37-year-old rapper today, it's clear that he's at peace with himself and proud of his accomplishments. Juve talked about how he started selling tapes on his own and making good money before teaming up with Cash Money just to work with Mannie Fresh. He recalled finding his voice with "Solja Rag," and how he persevered through a bad breakup with the label.

Juvenile also spoke candidly about his mistakes: sleeping on Nelly, passing up what would become Flo Rida's hit song "Low," and not wanting to release music when he dropped Tha G-Code. But through it all, he's a survivor. “And I ain’t finished yet," says Juvenile. "I’m just getting started in my book.” Read on for 25 amazing stories from one of rap's most underrated greats.

As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)

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The 50 Best New Orleans Rap Songs

DJ Jimi f/ Juvenile "Bounce (For the Juvenile)" (1993)

Album: It's Jimi / Playaz of da Game
Label: Soulin/Avenue
Producer: Leroy "Precise" Edwards

Juvenile: “That’s where everything started. It’s just one of those songs. It came out and it hit the radio. It didn’t do the whole country, but as far as the South and Midwest, I was doing shows because of that song. I was in Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. It paved the way for me.

“I was anxious [recording that]. I was hungry. I didn’t have respect for the art. I was just wild. I would get a few drinks, get in the studio, and record. That wasn’tmy first bounce record and I had been rapping since before I did bounce music. So I had been doing bounce music for three or four years before it came out but that was the first one that made noise.

“I would put out a tape and outsell anybody who was coming out of New Orleans. I had a cassette tape that I had to burn and make copies of myself. I would come out to the club at the end of the week and we would have bags full of tapes. Pretty much the whole club was trying to buy the same thing. The only place you could get it was from was me. It was hand-to-hand, but we was making more than the record store.

“I had 12 people working for me, mostly friends and family. I would sell them tapes at $10 a piece and they could charge whatever then. Basically, I cosigned them with a certain amount of tapes, maybe 50 to 100 cassettes. They would bring me a certain amount back and keep the rest. It was good business. It was kind of like the drug game, pretty much the same. When ‘Bounce (For The Juvenile)’ came out, I was doing alright. I was pretty nice.”

Juvenile "Solja Rag" (1997)

Album: Solja Rags
Label: Cash Money
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “That was the song that set it off. I thought [that was my most creative song]. That’s what gave me the idea to start making records like that. Just rhyming in patterns that’s different and odd. The first time you might not like it, but if you listen to it two or three times it’ll get ya. You listen to it in the context of what I’m saying, it’ll really catch ya. I tried to make songs that relate to everybody.

“‘Solja Rag’ showed me ‘You got something nobody can do. You can do something nobody had ever done, be totally different and still get your point across.’ ‘Solja Rag’ opened a whole new field for me. It gave me a little avenue of my own that I could make my own music on.

“We didn’t play the song for people in the club. When you first heard it, it was on the radio and we got a good response from day one. It triggered a whole lot of things for us. It made us able to do the Hot Boys album. It made us able to call ourselves the Cash Money millionaires and have that kind of money.

“We had a few million way before [the Universal deal]. Universal has been after us for a year and a half before we signed. We didn’t care to sign was because we were one of those companies who were well-structured. We was selling 200,000 without a label. And 200,000, that’s a couple million. We were selling tickets and we dropped a lot of albums. It was like, ‘We don’t need you.’

“It was a numbers game, because Universal wasn’t the only people at the table for us. So we kind of had a little leverage for them, and we just kept going and going until we got them up to $30 million. Everything went good after that.

“I was a major part of the company. I was involved with a lot of the thought process on what our next move was going to be. Once it got to that point it was like, ‘Okay, we’re all going to sit down and vote on what to do next.’ But the overall decision is always in Slim’s hands. Slim is really the owner of the company and he makes the last decision, but he always kept in mind what our thoughts were before he made the decision.”

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.

“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.”

Juvenile f/ Jay-Z "Ha (Remix)" (1998)

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

Juvenile: “Jay-Z liked the record and just did [the remix]. I didn’t ask him. I don’t know how he got it. Maybe he just sampled the instrumentals or something. I don’t know how he ended up doing his part but he had sent it to us already.

“It came through Universal so I guess they made some kind of contact with them and emailed it to us. That killed everything for me because I was excited like a kid on Christmas. Here it is, somebody that you look up to in the rap game on your song. I was blown away with that.

“It pretty much worked for me, because after that I didn’t have problem doing nothing with anybody. I didn’t have problems with all those companies who didn’t know who I was. Everybody knew who I was and they was willing to do whatever it took to get me to do an interview on a big name magazine or on a radio station. The whole Jay-Z era was a great thing for my career.”

Juvenile "Back That Azz Up" (1998)

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

Juvenile: “That was the icing on the cake. It’s the song that I didn’t think would make it because it’s Bounce music. I have been doing Bounce music for years and it just went regional. It never went mainstream. I didn’t think people in New York and L.A.—people that weren’t from my area or are used to this kind of music—would like it. It just blew up. I was shocked. I always thought ‘Ha’ was going to be the song to really blow me over, but it was ‘Back That Azz Up’. It was crazy.

“I couldn’t leave New York. Every time I came they pretty much stuck me for another two or three days because I had to do other things. I’m just one of them people where I’m just happy I’m still here and can look back and say, ‘You know what? I did it all.’ I’m still doing it.

“Matter of fact, I recorded ‘Back that Azz Up’ and ‘Ha’ two days apart because those were the last songs I recorded before the 400 Degreez album. At the time, we weren’t doing too much drinking, but we were smoking in the studio. I got lit. You gotta remember, I’m from New Orleans and we were in Tennessee. The weed quality was 20 times better in Tennessee than New Orleans. So I had never smoked that way. I have never experienced smoking Dro or none of that until I got to Nashville.

“I didn't want ‘Back That Azz Up’ to be a single, I wanted to be the street that tough or hardcore street motherfucker. But that shit wasn't working, not in my pockets. [My brother and my close friend] were like, ‘You need to make songs for the women, that's you're selling point.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I hear you, but I could rap too so I want people to get that part of me to.’ I'm kind of glad they forced me into the whole ‘Back That Azz Up’ thing.”

Hot Boys "Tuesdays and Thursdays" (1999)

Album: Guerrilla Warfare
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “That’s still going on right now. It was something that always happened in New Orleans. Even though I had a little celebrity status, they still pulled me over like everybody else. I had a bad run-in one Tuesday with some ATF Agents and I told them, ‘Shouldn’t ya’ll be running up on criminals?’ They said, ‘No, it was a sweep day.’

“They run up on everybody. So I took that and tried to warn everybody. It’s like that across the country, that’s the funny part. It’s not just a New Orleans thing. In every city they do that. The part that kills me about it is that if you know everybody knows you’re doing it, change your days or something, you know?

“All of us was on Cash Money as solo artists. Turk was probably the last one brought in. Turk was actually brought to Cash Money to do bounce music. There was a girl on Cash Money named Magnolia Shorty who had been telling Baby all the time they needed to get Turk, because he was just one of those cats making a lot of bounce music.

“We had another cat in our group who was Baby and Slim’s nephew. We called him Bulletproof, but his real name was Derek and he was a trouble maker. They didn’t think he was gonna work in the group because of that, so that’s how Turk got in the group. The original Hot Boys was me, B.G., Derek, and Wayne. Turk was there for another reason but he looked good with the group. And as a group, he fit the bill. So he got put in the group. It worked out.”

Tear Da Club Up Thugs f/ Hot Boys, Big Tymers "Hypnotize / Cash Money" (1999)

Album: CrazyNDaLazDayz
Label: Hypnotize Minds/Loud
Producer: DJ Paul / Juicy J

Juvenile: “I think that was a Baby and DJ Paul situation. I was on tour with Three 6 Mafia for a couple of months. We realized they had just as much steam as us, so Baby and Paul started talking to them and we did a song with them.

“It was made in Memphis and we shot the video in North Memphis in the projects. I didn’t think it was gonna do that good. I’m gonna be honest with you, I didn’t like it when I was recording it. I wasn’t feeling it. I’m so used to getting certain kinds of beats from Mannie and I just felt like that wasn’t the one.

“But I’ve been wrong before. I slept on the Flo Rida record ‘Low.’ I had that record before Flo Rida but I didn’t like it because on the hook T-Pain says ‘Apple Bottom jeans.’ My argument was, ‘If you could just change that part, I’d keep the record.’ I didn’t want to promote anything I’m wasn’t involved in and I don’t really know no women who wear Applebottom jeans. So there was a problem.”

B.G. f/ Hot Boys & Big Tymers "Bling Bling" (1999)

Album: Chopper City in the Ghetto
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “I wasn’t even on ‘Bling Bling’ in the beginning. It was something that came from a song that was on my album on ‘Solja Rag’ and the Hot Boys first album. Wayne said that ‘Bling Bling’ line and it was like, ‘Hey man, that’s a hot line right there.’ He said something like ‘My diamonds will bling, blind ya.’ We knew. You get a response from people when you do a show and they was waiting on the ‘bling’ part. We knew it was gonna be something major. I think it was Baby’s idea to make a song called ‘Bling Bling.’

“We knew that the phrase, everybody was on it. We’d stop the music and let the crowd say that part. That was another thing about Cash Money, we knew our weaknesses and we knew our strong points. If we found something that we had a niche on and we know people like it, we’ll take it and run with it.

“Our strength was consistency. One record company would put out one or two artists, one album here and one there. We would put out four or five a year. As a small company, we handled way more than what a small company can do. We rocked even with the big dogs. So I think that made Cash Money really what it is right now. We still have that same work ethic.

“[Our weakness] in those days was that we wasn’t making friends. Look at all our songs. We had no features or nothing. We wasn’t making connections with other artists. We did with some of them, but not too many or not the ones that I felt we should—like Eminem. I had a relationship with Jay-Z, but not everybody in Cash Money did. We slept on Nelly too. Nelly was around on all my tours. We should’ve been connecting with everybody out there.

“You know what’s funny about that video? I was dreaming of living in that area back then and I live in that area now, where that house was. That guy owned his own helicopter, he owned his own bridge, and he even owned his own little private lake. When he comes home, he opens the bridge sideways, you can’t even come to his property. That was the only way out.

“I don’t even know him, but we rented his spot for that video. You can see in the video, there’s bigger house behind the house in the video, but he didn’t want us over there. He lived there and didn’t want nobody to know where he lived.”

Lil Wayne f/ Juvenile, B.G. "Tha Block Is Hot" (1999)

Album: Tha Block Is Hot
Label: Cash Money
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “I’m on that because of who I am. I didn’t feel like I needed to be on that record, but I was in the studio. They was like, ‘Nah, we need to have you on there because you’ve gained a little steam.’ I’m like, ‘If that’s the case, hell yeah. I’d do it. I have no problem with that.’ We tried to use everything we have to make a project work. Even if it wasn’t the best artist in the world, we tried to go out our way to make him be on the same level us.”

Ruff Ryders f/ Drag-On, Juvenile "Down Bottom" (1999)

Album: Ryde or Die Vol. 1
Label: Ruff Ryders/Interscope
Producer: Swizz Beatz

Juvenile: “I actually heard the sample of that song somewhere and I remember that they got sued for that one. I don’t know if he made his own version, but I heard the sample. Somebody played it to me and I was like, ‘Damn, that’s what he got hit for’? I think the year of the song was 1970-something. [Ed. Note—Swizz Beatz denies ever getting sued by Casio.] I’m cool with Swizz Beatz. If he’s saying there ain’t no sample, then hey man. But that’s a sample.

“That was one of those records that if we were on tour we had to do that song. People just loved my part. That song is amazing. I wanted it on my album, but they weren’t having it. They had it done already. I just had to do my verse. They sent the music to me after the first tour, and we went on tour again after that.”

Jay-Z f/ Juvenile "Snoopy Track" (1999)

Album: Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
Producer: Timbaland

Juvenile: “By this time me and Jay-Z was cool. He would invite me into parties and stuff like that, and I’m come up there and kick it. He’s a cool dude. I really don’t know that one. I think Timbaland did the beat, Jay sent me the idea of what he wanted to do. He wanted the song to be about riding, so I sat back and listened to it. I used my own little ideas. I tried to put a little New Orleans flavor on it. The album did good. Song did good. Wing, wing, wing, and chicken dip.”

Juvenile "U Understand" (1999)

Album: Tha G-Code
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “I could’ve did way better. I actually think that ‘U Understand’ was one of the more creative songs on that album, but again it was a spinoff of ‘Ha’. I shouldn’t have ever did a song like that. You get exhausted man. We’re only human. Your body is gonna give up on you, it’s gonna break down. You gotta pace yourself and keep your health at its best.

“I went to all these places on tour, but I never got a chance to enjoy it. You show up, it’s almost time to get on stage, you do the show, you feel tired, you come out of there and they want to do the after party, and in the next morning you’re in the next town in the next radio station. After a while it gets tiresome.

“You’re on that road and you come home for two or three days, and you gotta go back out of town. You’re trying to see everybody in three days. That’s pretty much what happened to me. I was trying to see everybody, trying to shoot a video, and I was trying to wrap up my album. It was just too much at one time.

“I had obligations. I was on a one album a year regiment and I just wanted the album out. I wanted to get the album out, do the tour, and then take a break. That’s exactly what I did. [During my break] I did family. I spent as much time as I could. I was doing family.”

Juvenile f/ Mannie Fresh "I Got That Fire" (1999)

Album: Tha G-Code
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “When ‘I Got That Fire’ came out I wanted to kick it with my family. I wanted to take a break. I was like, ‘Man, I can’t run 24/7, two to three years in a row.’ I needed a break. I wasn’t feeling a video shoot. I look at it right now and say I wouldn’t do it. It was just one of those things I really didn’t want to do. I really didn’t want to shoot that video. I just was having a bad day. It was pretty much like that the whole album, except I did have a few good numbers. I had a lot going on in that era.”

Birdman f/ Lil Wayne, Turk, & Juvenile "Number One Stunna" (2000)

Album: I Got That Work
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile:“We actually wrote that song for him. The whole group we all participated in putting that song together for him. It was a situation where he wanted to be a star like us. We was making promises to him, ‘We’re gonna make sure we push it together. We’re gonna make sure you’re alright.’ 

"He liked to be on the stage a lot and he wanted the microphone like everybody else. We wasn’t mad at him about it. We was looking at it like a team and we were gonna do what team players do.

“Baby would write his own stuff, but we would critique him on it. There were instances on it were he didn’t rhyme and I told him, ‘You don’t need to rhyme. You’re the Number One Stunna. You just say it and they’re gonna respect it. They’re gonna know who you are.’ He figured that part out and he ran with it.

“I don’t know where that [term Number One Stunna] came from. He had a lot of names: Baby, Bubbles, Beatrice, B. All kinds of names, so I don’t know where that came from. That’s probably one of them nights drinking.”

Cash Money Millionaires f/ E-40 "Baller Blockin'" (2000)

Album: Baller Blockin'
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “We did 1.4 million on the soundtrack. In that era, I thought there was nothing we could do wrong. We just couldn’t make a mistake. So shoutouts to E-40 for coming out to shoot the video with us. With E-40, it’s kind of different [than with the rest of the industry].

“E-40 is from Vallejo, California but he knew just as much about New Orleans as I did. If you went to Grambling you knew New Orleans, because pretty much all the people that went to Gram are from New Orleans. They’d come down and have the Bayou Classic every year. I never knew he went to Gram until he told me. We just started clicking from there.

“If somebody can relate to where you come from, it’s kind of easy to have a friendship. That dude, he’s just one of them smart cats. He’s real intelligent. He might kill you with the wordplay. It might take you a minute to figure out what he’s saying, you might need an encyclopedia. But he a pretty smart cat, he a businessman first.

“That movie was fun. We started off with a script with actual writers and stuff. But after day three, we was saying let’s do it the way we want to do it. Let’s just say it naturally our way and go from there. The movie is one of the most classic hood films of all-time. It goes right there with Shottas.

“Being in the projects for that many days, the hood don’t really like that because you’re gonna bring police around. We kind of messed up the hustlers. That’s the main reason we put the script down. We was like, ‘Hurry, finish the movie and get the hell up out of here to let those people go back to doing what they do.’

“But that movie was fun. I never shot a movie before. I didn’t understand half of the camera language. Now when I sit back and look at it I’m like, ‘Damn, we did pretty good.’ Compared to people who been doing movies for year, for some new cats we did pretty good. It was all thrown together.

“You gotta remember, the only videos we saw and stuff was on TV. We never saw a person shoot a video before. So the videos was like, ‘Just have fun.’ Another thing is the directors, guys like Dave Myers and Mark Klasfeld, they’re historians right now. So two of the biggest guys in the video game started from us.”

Cash Money Millionaires "Project Bitch" (2000)

Album: Baller Blockin'
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “I took that line from Turk’s verse on ‘I Need a Hot Girl’ as you may recall, I been knowing I need a hot girl. So I just wanted to get my little piece in and try to make something. Mannie was in the studio making a smooth track one night and I was just in there singing ‘Project Chick’ slowed down. And then singing his part of hot girl slowed down.

“Mannie said, ‘That's a song.’ and we ran with it. Sometimes shit happens like that, on the fly. We didn’t think it was going to be a hit. But that's how we was. Sometimes the craziest shit you think of would be the craziest records. I mean ‘Boom, Boom’ we never thought that shit would blow up like that but it did. We had so much fun in the studios in those days we wouldn't worry too much. We was just happy off the fact that we was makin some money and we had people's ears. We could just do anything and they was going to listen to us.

“We played but in the studio it was wasn’t no play, all work. We'd try to do five or six songs a day. That's why you would hear a load of records. It would sound like, ‘Damn, these dudes gotta be sleeping in the studio.’ We changed the music industry because people wouldn't release that many albums in a year.

“You gotta give our props to Master P. Master P started it, he opened the door but we kind of came in and we did what P was doing. I wouldn't say on a bigger scale, I just think the things we did had more longevity in it than what they did.

“I’m not trying to take anything away from what they did because they was making a whole lot of noise. I just think our quality, as far as the way we went about things, was a little better. If I was wrong then Cash Money wouldn't be existing. So I've got to be right about that one.”

Juvenile f/ Lil Wayne, Baby, & Turk "Set It Off" (2001)

Album: Project English
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “That was U.N.L.V’s song. I took the track and rapped over it because I loved the beat. That’s really the beat that got me to Cash Money. It was like ‘Damn, they’re making tracks like this now?’ I felt like—no disrespect to Yella Boy because he’s not living—but I felt like if I got on, it was gonna be a situation.

“You know what’s crazy? I was bigger than Cash Money when I signed there. Cash Money was trying to get their stuff going but they didn’t have too many guys working for them. They had just started their company with their first group, U.N.L.V. They had another guy before me named Kilo but he didn’t really do too good.

“But they had one power point—Mannie Fresh. I was looking for a good producer who could take me to the next level. Baby had been trying to get at me for years. Once I got the opportunity to record with Mannie, I thought everything was going to work for me and it did.

“U.N.L.V, they’re from my neighborhood. They’re from the same tree branch, the same limb. They signed to Cash Money and they started to make a little noise, but not on my scale. So when I signed to Cash Money, a lot of people in the city, especially people in the radio, said, ‘I think you’re going backwards.’

“I had a regional record that was playing on radio and I signed to a company that’s local. It didn’t it sit right with everybody, but I kept telling them, ‘Man, you don’t see what I see. I see a producer that’s great, that’s really better than the artist that’s singing on the song. If I could get over there and sing on those songs, the sky's the limit.’ I proved that I was right.”

Juvenile f/ Soulja Slim "Slow Motion" (2003)

Album: Juve the Great
Label: Cash Money/Universal
Producer: Dani Kartel

Juvenile: “That was straight Soulja Slim. I did a song with him on his album and he had ‘Slow Motion’ [on his own]. But Soulja Slim didn’t want to give Koch ‘Slow Motion.’ He said, ‘I wanna do another song with you, but I want you to do this song with me.’ So I recorded the song. But he never told me he wanted me to have the record.

“He went to my brother and said, ‘Tell your brother that if I do the song for Koch, they’re not gonna push this record how it needs to be pushed.’ He wanted that song to go through Universal’s system. Dude was smart. He knew that if the song went on my album he would blow up. If it was on his album, it probably won’t get heard by everybody. I took the song, listened to what he was saying, and said, ‘You know what, you’re right.’

“Cash Money didn’t like that song. They really had nothing to do with that record. It wasn’t produced by Mannie, it wasn’t produced by Slim and Baby. They didn’t want nothing to do with the people that made the track. They really didn’t know where the record came from. I just popped up and put that motherfucker on my album.

“I wasn’t talking single or nothing in the beginning because we had ‘Bounce Back.’ I said let’s put it in the album, but in the back of my mind I knew it was a hit because it was the number one song in the clubs in New Orleans and the number one song on the radio [in New Orleans]. But Cash Money wasn’t living in New Orleans so they missed a lot of that. They didn’t know.

“So I started talking to the lady in Universal, Katina [Bynum], and I told her ‘If you could just hear me out, you would back me with ‘Slow Motion.’’ She heard me out and she saw I was right.”

Juvenile (UTP) "Nolia Clap" (2004)

Album: The Beginning of the End
Label: Rap-a-Lot
Producer: Donald XL Robertson

Juvenile: “I'm on the remix of ‘Nolia Clap,’ that's really not my song to be honest. I'm the CEO over that. That's really more like Wacko's song. We had a little group album we put together and I thought it was a good look to have ‘Nolia Clap’ be the first single on it so that's why I ended up being on the song.

“Wacko had this hook he had been singing around the studio for a minute, the whole Nolia Clap thing, so it was just a matter of putting a beat to it. We got out there to the West Coast and hooked up with my man XL and got in the studio with him and started throwing ideas together and we came up with that.

“I had to do a few more things like get Mannie Fresh to do some cutting and stuff on it. I also took the same song to Memphis to a cat named Sliced T and got him to play some keys on it. So three of four producers have their hands on that one record.”

Juvenile "Rodeo" (2006)

Album: Reality Check
Label: UTP Records/Atlantic
Producer: Cool & Dre

Juvenile: “Truthfully, my man Cool & Dre came up with the record. And by me being cool with R. Kelly, I figured it would be a good look for me or something different because everything up to that point had pretty much been fast records. So I just wanted to have something from me to compliment the whole Juve slowing it down move. It worked real good to be honest. I didn't think it would do so well in the strip clubs but it did.

“I ran across Cool & Dre cats years ago. They had just got out of school and I heard some of their tracks and from that moment we locked in. I brought them to New Orleans with me and introduced to them to Cash Money. Back in the day, I tried to convince Baby to sign them. The crazy part is, I'm hearing that they signed to Cash Money now so it all work out.”

Juvenile "Get Ya Hustle On" (2006)

Album: Reality Check
Label: Atlantic
Producer: Donald XL Robertson

Juvenile: “I'm not going to say I’m a politician or one of those Public Enemy type guys, but I was kind of talking to my people with that record, trying to tell everybody to stop crying about what happened to us. Everybody got affected from hurricane Katrina and we can’t point the finger at people because of course it could have been handled in a better way as far as evacuating, but hurricanes are natural, that's God will, that's something we can't control. So my message was to say let's stop pointing the finger, we know what they did, we know who did the wrong things, let's start living now.

“In Katrina, I lost my home, my mom lost her home, and my family got displaced. The good thing about it is I had no debts in it. I didn't lose anybody in the hurricane, all my people lived through it. Right now, I still have family members that never came back to New Orleans because of the hurricane. That affected me the most, knowing that I'm not going to see some of the people that I grew up with. There’s so many things we had going on in the city that's no longer going on. That gets to you sometimes.

“[The Reality Check era was] real emotional. I don't think it was the greatest time for me to be in the studio recording songs because I had too much going on outside of the music industry in my head as far as family and this and that. Even though we had done the deal before the hurricane hit, the timing was bad. We should have held off on that one. I probably would have made different kinds of songs and done things differently.

“The numbers were pretty good, I went gold. It was a shock to me it went gold. I didn't think people was going to pick up that album because everybody was going through something at that time. Financially, a lot of my fans are in the Texas-Louisiana area, and financially they just wasn't able to go stores and buy music. I thought it was going to be way more worse.

“Some artists just don't face reality. I like staying grounded, being myself, and being honest with not only the people around me, but honest with myself. From being that way, I've learned and I have a better look at life. Fuck it. If you mess up, you mess up. I watch cats on on ESPN and all the time they make mistakes, but they get right back up and get right back into the game. You can get called for a technical foul, that doesn’t mean you should quit playing.”

Juvenile f/ Kango "Say it to Me Now" (2006)

Album: Reality Check
Label: Atlantic
Producer: Scott Storch

Juvenile: “Truthfully, I really can't remember that song’s process because of the time when we actually recorded that song. I can't remember actually where I was. But I definitely wasn't making the song to be directed at Cash Money. Let me be straight with you. If I wanted to say anything about Cash Money, I would say, ‘Baby was a bitch ass nigga’ or some shit like that, I would come straight out.

“I've never been one to bite my tongue, I will come straight out and say so to that person name and say it to him. It's not a situation like that for me. I'm not even living that like that right now. I always try to tell people I'm in a happy state in my life right now. My oldest daughter just graduated from college, my oldest boy is in his second year of college, my youngest daughter, she's 14, so I got a lot to live for.

“On my last album people thought I was dissing Soulja Boy, and I'm cool with Soulja Boy. He's way younger than me. So I try to explain to people that when I say soldier, I been saying that before he was born. I don't even know him to say anything about him. That ain't me, that ain't my character.

“I want fans to know if I'm going to say something about somebody, I'm going to be real outspoken about it. I'm not going to be biting my tongue. I'm not saying it behind their back or nothing, I'd rather say it in his face, fuck you.”

Juvenile "Gotta Get It" (2009)

Album: Cocky & Confident
Label: E1 Music
Producer: Leroy "Precise" Edwards

Juvenile: “I was just paying attention to where the industry was. I wanted to do something a little different but still get my point across so people could see where Juve was at. It was more like a get my flow on type of thing. That was another song that was a shocker because when I recorded I never thought it was going to be a single. I just thought it was going to be a song on the album but you get different reactions from different people and some of the right people like that song. I had to run with it.

“There's always that one person that's probably not in the music industry [that’s that right person]. I [value] his judgement. His judgement has helped me throughout my career from the beginning. My brother and the other cat is a close friend, he’s like a brother. I like their opinions because they don't agree with me. We get to arguing. I don't like people who just sit there and agree with everything I say. I don't like yes men.”

Juvenile "Drop That Thing (Azz)" (2010)

Album: Beast Mode
Label: UTP / E1 Music
Producer: C. Smith

Juvenile:“I wanted to make something for the women. I wanted to have a record that really made the women shake that ass as thought they were listening to ‘Back that Azz Up.’ It's something that mixed in good with ‘Back That Azz Up’ because the songs are both bounce records and they both are the same tempo. ‘Back That Azz Up’ may be a little faster but they both kind of compliment each other.

“I feel like I have to make records for those fans. I don't think I necessarily have to make a record like ‘Back That Azz Up.’ I think that one did what it did, I'ma let that one rest in peace and hopefully make some more great songs for that fanbase but not necessarily making songs exactly like ‘Back That Azz Up.’

“Sometimes, I feel like once that book is closed you leave it closed and move on to the next thing. That's how I like to do things. I'm one of those cats listens to my singles through my career and I can say, ‘Damn I really pushed the envelope, I really tried some shit right here, I took risks.’

“I don't think many artists out here that took as many risks as me. I take risks. Like ‘Back That Azz Up’ was totally different from anything out there. If you listen to my discography it’s like, ‘Damn, single wise he took a lot of risks.’”

Juvenile f/ Rick Ross "Power" (2012)

Album: Rejuvenation
Label: E1 Music
Producer: Mannie Fresh

Juvenile: “I got to give it up to my man J Prince and Mannie Fresh. Mannie Fresh put together the track. He played a bunch of beats for me and actually that kind of stuck in my head. I went and played it to J and he said, ‘You know, me and Ross is cool. I think it would be a good one to put him on.’ Like word? Let's do that. As soon as I got him on the record, he was already blowing up like, blowing up. Now he's just even bigger. I'm like damn the timing is crazy.

“I've done songs with [Mannie recently] but never on my project or never on a project of his, always on somebody else's. Cats come along and want to spend money and they get us like that. Actually me and him going into the studio doing something together, it's been a minute.

“Mannie is real entertaining. It's not only the music, it's the mood that he put on. The perfect compliment for Juve tracks wise is Mannie Fresh. No disrespect to all other producers who have done music for me in the past and probably will in the future. I just think nobody music compliments me better than Fresh.

“I'm going to be honest with you man, Mannie is loaded, that's what he's been doing. He did all of [the Cash Money albums]. But now he’s selling cars, building cars, making cars. That motherfucker is a car man. Mr. Vehicle. I think he already built a new arsenal [of beats]. You're talking about a cat who will go into the studio and make seven, eight tracks in 30-40 minutes. You know, them quickies. So I think it was just a matter of him getting his vibe back.

“Dude been through a lot, he lost his sister. I think that had a lot to do with him slowing down because him and his sister had one of the tightest and closest relationship as a brother and sister. It's something that brothers and sisters out there wish they had. It affected me so I'm quite sure it affected him. For him to lose his sister, it took a lot out of him.

“We've all had our trials. That's why I'm able to sit here and say that. Things happen man, we human like everybody else and sometimes tragedy may strike in your household like it strikes in ours. Sometimes its hard to believe that these things can happen to us as celebrities but we’re human just like everybody else and things happen.”

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