20 of the Best Juvenile Songs
Long before Lil Wayne became the mega star he is today, there was another dope lyricist from New Orleans leading the way as the face of Cash Money Records. Rising to national prominence in 1998, Juvenile, born Terius Gray, was one of the biggest hip-hop artists coming out of Louisiana who was not affiliated with rival label, No Limit Records. While carrying an on-off-and-on relationship with CMR and Brian “Baby/Birdman” Williams, he still maintains his cultural relevance and legacy with classic hits like “Slow Motion” featuring the late, great N.O. legend, Soulja Slim, “Ha” and the OG twerking anthem, “Back That Ass Up.”
Juve’s career began in the early 1990s, while he was part of the “bounce music” scene in New Orleans and his independent debut, Being Myself, was released in 1995. After achieving local success, he later linked up with Birdman and his older brother Ronald “Slim” Williams and was signed to Cash Money in 1997, during its local indie days. From there, he joined fellow label mates Lil Wayne, B.G. and Turk, who all were signed with CMR earlier, and became the Hot Boys. His second album, Soulja Rags, was also released, receiving critical acclaim.
In 1998, his game-changing third album, 400 Degreez was released, leading with “Ha,” his visceral first single that spawned a remix with the Hot Boys and another with Jay Z and DMX. But it was in 1999, in which he grew to become a household name in pop music, much less hip-hop, with his biggest hit to date, “Back That Ass Up." 400 Degreez went on to become 4 times platinum and eventually broke the floodgates for Cash Money to become the powerhouse rap label it is today.
Due to the infamous and well documented dispute with Cash Money over missing funds, like the rest of the Cash Money Millionaires, he left and signed a deal with Atlantic Records and co- founded his own imprint, UTP Records. He broke out on his own with another hit from UTP, “Nolia Clap” his first Billboard No. 1 hit, 2006’s Reality Check. Years later, he would sign back to Cash Money in 2014.
Eleven albums in, Juve is still grinding as one of the most influential rappers to come from New Orleans. With a slew of classics under his belt, it’s only right that we take a look at 20 of his greatest songs.