Whether Cash Money/Universal Records artist Juvenile meant to do it or not, he most certainly changed the game of Hip-Hop music. By blazing onto the national music scene just over a year ago with a tune called "Ha", Juvenile ignited the flame that led Hip-Hop junkies straight to the Bayou and Cash Money Records. With his last full-length effort, the soon-to-be quadruple platinum 400 Degreez, still smoldering on the charts, Juvenile is fanning the flames of his success once again with the release of Tha G-Code.
A product of New Orleans' infamous Magnolia projects, Juvenile, born Terius Gray, has ascended way above sea level over the last 15 years. But it didn't start out that way. Always determined to stay focused on reaching his life's goals, Juvenile worked at the local gas plant to help support his family and allow himself the "luxury" of following his dream of being a successful rapper. "I'm about the only one from where I come from that's doing my thing," says a reflective Juvenile.
As a burgeoning local rapper, Juvenile became instrumental in blending Hip-Hop with what is known as "bounce" music. The success of "Bounce For The Juvenile," the first-ever bounce record with New Orleans local icon DJ Jimi, led to a short-lived deal with a small New York record label. Unfortunately, the experience left a bitter taste in Juve's mouth. He eventually opted to give up his cherished hobby, rather than do it injustice. Thinking back to those trying times, Juvenile laments, "They wanted me to [only] do bounce music and I was telling them, 'hey man, I'm a rapper; y'all got me twisted.'" But he couldn't stay away from what he loved so dearly. He kept his day job, as he began to frequent New Orleans' House Of Blues on Hip-Hop night to get back into his groove of his passion. "I got my feel back and I realized one thing," he says, "We didn't have a New Orleans rapper that straight up used our language, rapped for our people. Everybody wanted to be either east coast or west coast. That's where I came in."
On his way home from another exasperating day on the job, Juvenile caught the attention of Cash Money Records, then a local boutique label making big noise in the southern region. After convincing Co-CEOs Ronald "Slim" and Bryan "Baby" Williams of his abilities and determination, the Williams brothers signed Juvenile on.
Juve's first release for Cash Money Records was the underground smash Solja Rags in 1997. Solja Rags sold nearly 200,000 copies in the southern region alone and gainfully set up the super-group, Hot Boys. Composed of Juvenile and CMR labelmates Turk, Lil' Wayne, and B.G., Hot Boys debuted with Get It How You Live in 1997, mounting close to a half million sales. The success of Cash Money Records was brought to the attention of Universal Records, who promptly struck a P&D (pressing and distribution) deal with the indie label in 1998. Under this new deal, Cash Money/Universal released Juvenile's sophomore solo project, 400 Degreez. Cannoned onto the charts by heavily rotated radio hits like the infectious "Ha," "Ha (remix)" featuring Jay-Z, and "Back That Thang Up," the award-winning 400 Degreez has remained a staple on the charts for a year. Juvenile's groundbreaking album continues to be recognized as one of the top releases of 1999. The album received a Billboard Award for "R&B Album of the Year"; his hit song, "Ha," garnered a Source Award for "Single Of The Year" and Juvenile earned an American Music Award nomination for "Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist of the Year." Not intent to rest on his laurels, Juvenile is aiming for the stars again on his new collection.
Giving listeners a full display of his raw talent, street acumen and natural sagacity, Tha G-Code is a multiplex of Juvenile's inherent experiences, highlighted by the unerring creations of CMR in-house producer Mannie Fresh. Juvenile's unparalleled style and deliveries are showcased throughout Tha G-Code. The first single, "U Understand" is both lesson and warning, advising haters to choose their adversaries wisely. "A Million And One Things," serves as a poignant life lesson - you have to try to help yourself before someone else can come to your rescue and "Get It Right" is a head-nodding admonishment to anyone who thinks that Cash Money artists are overnight successes. The laid back 70's feel of "Never Had Sh*t" and the pointed monologues from Juve, Lil' Wayne and Big Tymers on "Lil' Boyz" are sure to be fan favorites. While "Tha Man" succinctly serves as the soundtrack to the everyday motion picture of survival in the ghetto. Finally, the title track "G-Code" appropriately sums up the album's ultimate theme that you have to live for yourself and stay true to your beliefs, no matter where you're from or who you're around.
"The 'G-Code' is a set of rules to live by," explains the rapper, "It's a way of dressing, talking, and general living... it's a code of conduct for surviving on the streets."
As the stakes in the Hip-Hop game steadily rising, Juvenile is ready for any and all of those challenges. His track record is on point. It's safe to bet on Juvenile 'cause he lives by the "G-Gode."
Skip is one of the newest young rappers out. Skip is off Juvenile's UTP Records.
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